How Small Can You Make A Gyro?

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems) are rapidly becoming hot items in the electronics market. Consider the rather amazing controllers for WII games.  These provide a degree of haptic feedback, partly based on the MEMS inside.  Your iPhone or GameBoy have MEMS devices that allow realistic banking and turning on screen – again based on gyro feedback from MEMS devices. Consider putting this micro-gyro capability into a heading hold and wing leveler device in an electronic certified flight instructor envisioned by the CAFE Foundation, and you can see why this technology holds promise for safer flight and expanded light aircraft capabilities. Eagletree has a range of telemetry and monitoring products for model aircraft that combine this technology with sophisticated radio gear, including video …

LCA – Life Cycle Analysis

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The Link below provides a conceptual background for the study and chart, which give us insight into life cycle analysis, a valuable tool for determining the true costs of our energy sources. Note in the following that the actual costs and carbon emissions for a product may be greater than those for the actual operation of that product.  Obviously, wind turbines and solar cells are clean in their operation – but what does it cost to manufacture, transport, and dispose of the obsolete or unservicable units?  This is a good tool for making those assessments, but I’d love personally to have even more definition of the “human equivalents” listed in the chart found in the link below.  Perhaps an expert in …

Power Up Front

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

Luka Znidarsic and Matija Znidarsic, both experienced sailplane pilots and mechanical engineers in Slovenia, have developed a Front Electric Sustainer, a power system that provides a climb of 1.5 meters per second (198 feet per minute) for their prototype configuration on an 18-meter LAK 17.  They designed their own motor and controller for the application.  The motor is 5 kg (11 pounds), and puts out 15 kW (20.1 horsepower) at 85 Volts.  Total weight for the power package is 35 kg (77 pounds), with batteries in two packs behind the rear spar, balancing the weight of the motor and propeller in the nose. “Front” refers to the motor’s location, right in the nose of the sailplane.  A 0.9 meter (35.4 inches) …

Richard VanGrunsven on Electric Airplanes

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Despite having produced kits which have led to 6,410 RV aircraft in the air at last count – all carbon-consuming and emitting lightplanes – Richard VanGrunsven owns an electric airplane, an Antares 20E self-launching sailplane. He attended AirVenture 2009, and reports on his findings regarding the current crop of electric airplanes in his article “The Year of the Electric Airplane.” His opinions are worth noting, simply because of the worldwide acceptance of his designs.  He obviously loves his Antares, noting its single-lever motor operation as “almost sinfully simple” compared to the more complex extension/motor start/operation/shutdown/retraction sequences on other motorgliders.   He shows some disappointment in the low performance speeds of present electrically-powered craft, but notes that if the claims of some motor packages were …

Small, Light, and Powerful Paramotor

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

MHP-Profi of Austria has developed a lightweight, 20.1 kg (44.22 pounds) paramotor package that puts out 10 kW (13.4 hp), 50kg (110 pounds) of thrust, and allows 17-25 minutes of power.  Videos show the designer climbing the paramotor smartly, and zipping up and down hills on a bicycle in the beautiful Austrian countryside with the power pack strapped to his back.  Most interesting are the two outrunner motors on stalks that can be arranged either vertically or horizontally.  Each motor has its controller close by, a good design strategy, and swings a large wood propeller readily.  The lithium polymer battery pack, at 9.5 kg (20.9 pounds), offers 30 Amp hours’ capacity.  Batteries can be recharged in two hours, or with an …

Man of La Manche

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The French call the English Channel “la Manche” (the sleeve), nicely describing the shape of the waterway  while neatly avoiding calling it “English.” Gerard Thevenot, a long-time championship-level hang-glider pilot, celebrated the centennial of Louis Bleriot’s flight across la Manche by flying his hydrogen-powered La Mouette hang glider over roughly the same route Bleriot took between Calais and Dover on August 6, 2009.  Missing the centenary by a few days (Bleriot made the hop on July 25, 1909), Thevenot took an hour and seven minutes to duplicate the trip Bleriot managed in 37 minutes. Having displayed his craft at Aero Expo 2009 at Friedrichshafen, Germany in April, Thevenot also participated in the Coupe-Icare, an aeronautical-artistic fantasia near Grenoble, France before making his …

Solar Impulse to Begin Ground Testing

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The Solar Impulse team is ready to begin ground testing of the Airbus-size solar airplane at Dubendorf Airfield, near Zurich, Switzerland.  On October 19, the project’s engineering team handed the craft over to the flight test crew, headed by Swiss Astronaut Claude Nicollier.  First flights will be under the control of Markus Scherdel, a professional test pilot and aerodynamics engineer. Testing is scheduled, subject to weather, between November 2 and December 20, 2009. According to the project’s press release, testing will take place in three steps, beginning with a first exit from the hangar, with on-ground testing of all four (10 hp) electric motors and a thorough check of all aircraft systems. Step two will involve high-speed taxi runs, “testing …

Big Blue and Blue Sky Thinking

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Would a 500-mile electric vehicle battery interest you? IBM, not normally thought of as a purveyor of electric vehicles, is backing a large-scale push from their Almaden Laboratory in San Jose, California, using the lithium-air battery demonstrated by recent experiments at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Newcastle as a basis for their research.  IBM is teaming with UC Berkeley and all five National Laboratories as part of Big Blue’s Big Green Innovations program. Initially launched as a means of reducing the 98 percent of carbon emissions from non-information technology related activities and the two percent from IT activities, the Big Green Initiative took a turn in the last several months toward the development of a 500-mile battery …

Electrify Your Reading Pleasure

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Flying Magazine, in its November issue, has its usual stunning photo review of this year’s AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but adds a three-page review of the electric aircraft that showed up at the fly-in.  Robert Goyer, senior editor, is enthusiastic about the planes he saw, and gives the largest number of column inches to Yuneec’s E-430 two-seater.  Goyer has reservations about the aircraft’s performance and limited range, and turns to another Yuneec-powered craft, Tom Pehigny’s FlightStar e-Spyder, propelled by a 27 hp, single-battery pack system, with the assessment that this type of craft seems more suited to electric power in its current state of development.  Although Pehigny admits restrictions in terms of range so far, he “does point out some …

Hear the Hum? Kitplanes Does.

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Kitplanes has an article of great interest to CAFE followers in its November issue. Dr. David Ullman, Oregon State University professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Design, was inspired by his attendance at the Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in April to write a two-part article (the finale’ to be in the December issue) about the exciting future of electric flight. The first part, “Hear the Hum?” provides an overview of what’s currently happening in electric aircraft, and includes a one-page pictorial sidbar of volt-driven flying machines at Oshkosh this year by Dave Martin. In a nod to the CAFE Foundation, it includes a concise explanation of the Aviation Green Prize.  Ullman and Martin share the belief that we will be …