The Electric-Powered Aircraft, A Sequel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

David Ullman, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, author,  and owner of his own consulting firm, Robust Decisions, has published part two of his article, “The Electric Powered Aircraft,” that first appeared in Kitplanes’ October 2009 issue (see our October 18, 2009 entry, “Hear the Hum?  Kitplanes Does”) .  You won’t have to rush to the nearest bookstore for the sequel, since this is online in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Experimenter.  A great deal of the Experimenter is fired up with speculation and skepticism about electric aircraft and their feasibility in the current issue, including an editorial by Patrick Panzera, long-time engine guru and editor of the e-zine.  A great many of the readers’ comments have a “not ready for …

An LSA With the Electric Heart of an Airliner

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC 9 Comments

Stephan Boutenko, Alternair President and founder, seeks a Light Sport Aircraft alternative, an airplane looking like an LSA, but loaded with features that will allow it to keep pace with the rapidly changing options coming to electric flight. Inspired by Yuneec’s E-430 but disappointed by its slow cruising speed, Boutenko was determined to create something more in line with LSA performance criteria. He also wanted to take advantage of the knowledge he had gained from years of experience with heavier aviation to create an integrated system that would allow flexibility and expandability in the development of his airplane. Unabashedly conventional in appearance, the low-wing, tricycle geared monoplane is conceived to make a pilot transitioning from an internal combustion powered machine …

CAFE News: Doctors Seeley and Ford Stand and Deliver

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

At the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, April 23 and 24 at Rohnert Park, California, two CAFE leaders provided the audience with superb presentations on CAFE Foundation’s history and future goals. Dr. Larry Ford, Vice President of the organization, led with highlights from CAFE’s past, including the scientific efforts to measure aircraft drag and provide actual numbers for comparing aircraft performance, a goal inherent in the CAFE name. He highlighted the work of many past and present CAFE volunteers (after all, CAFE is all volunteer, and a 501c.3 charitable organization promoting aeronautical research at both the grass roots and the highest levels), including the CAFE Barograph, a significant instrument that allowed objective flight performance characterization of individual aircraft and honest …

Need Electricity? Go Fly a Kite

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

What do JoeBen Bevirt and Benjamin Franklin have in common?  They both grew up without electricity and built kites to find it.  While being without electricity was the default condition in Franklin’s day, JoeBen was raised in a hippy commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Neither man found the deprivations of his youth to be an impediment to creativity.  The phrase that keeps popping up in articles about JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby, inc. and Joby Energy, is “inveterate inventor.”  Inveterate has the sense of growing old in one’s habits, something unlikely to happen to a truly inventive soul such as JoeBen.  Deviser of a knobby-looking grip that can be fastened to almost anything, and which can hold cameras, lights, and …

Putting The Human in Human Factors

Dean Sigler GFC Leave a Comment

Part of the Green Flight Challenge is the provision of adequate human factors design in the cockpit of the projected airplane. One can only design in so much ergonomic and safety-minded concern for the pilot and passengers. The ultimate human factor is indeed human, a topic Dr. Key Dismukes handled quite ably at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium. As noted in his NASA resume, “Dr. Dismukes is Chief Scientist for Human Factors in the Human Factors Research & Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center (CV ). His current research addresses cognitive issues involved in the skilled performance of pilots, their ability to manage challenging situations, and their vulnerability to error. Among the topics investigated by his research group …

Take a Powder, Get Empowered

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

Höganäs AB, a major Swedish specialist in powdered and sintered metals, has created a bicycle motor as a low cost, light weight, high performance unit for the Asian market. According to Höganäs Group CEO Alrik Danielson, “We chose the bicycle motor as a first application when introducing our new motor concept. The bicycle motor is very challenging, in terms of performance as well as cost, but we are confident that we have a unique product. It is lighter than other electric motors and in the e-bike it has a good range, up to 75 kilometres, thanks to high efficiency.” He sees the modular design as being adaptable to other applications, such as “scooters, other light weight electric vehicles, pumps, fans …

Kitplanes Covers EAS IV

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Kitplanes, and its on-line sister, AVweb, covered the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium and generated a vido of the event, which includes a thoughtful interview with Dr. Brien Seeley, CAFE Foundation president. Expect to see more media coverage of CAFE Events as the Green Flight Challenge becomes a major aviation event in 2011.

Green Flight Challenge Competitors Come Together on Perlan Project

Dean Sigler GFC 1 Comment

The Cafe Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge, scheduled for 2011, has drawn some impressive competitors with its $1.5 million prize.  Two of these, Greg Cole of Windward Performance, who will field a two-seat motorglider, and Einar Enevoldson, leader of the PC-Aero team, which will launch its Elektra One (see “PC-Aero’s Elektra One,” April 11, 2010), are working together quite collegially on a challenge of their own. Before his death in 2007, adventurer Steve Fossett, with co-pilot Enevoldson, had set the sailplane world altitude record in Perlan I, a modified Glaser-Dirks DG-500.  In a continuation of that ambitious adventure, Einar, Greg, and Project Manager Morgan Sandercock are creating Perlan II, a pressurized sailplane that will explore the realm of the nacreous, or …

Synergy and Passion at EAS

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

John Palmerlee, Editor of The Flying Wire, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 124’s newsletter, wote this in the May 5, 2010 edition.   The CAFE Team hosted what was in my opinion a very successful event at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, April 23 and 24, 2010. Nearly thirty contributors from around the world spoke at the Electric Aircraft Symposium, and their message was clear: Change is coming… let’s get on board together. Electric airplanes and motorcycles, model airplanes, algae biofuel synthesis, wetlands initiatives, hybrid air carriers, battery breakthroughs, VTOL PAVs, tethered wind generators, flight systems analysis, nanostructures… and a mystery Green Flight Challenge aircraft promising to tap into new design paradigms. This was just a taste of the concepts …

The Battery Pack Builder with the Ceramic Wedding Ring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

The Killacycle Racing Team is led by two people, Bill Dube’, designer, builder, and driver of the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, and his wife, Eva Hakansson, crew chief and battery builder for the high-velocity two-wheeler.  Eva’s talk at the fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California caused several stirs in the audience, and hinted at where battery technology might go in the future. Wanting to free electric vehicles from their “boring and slow” image, Eva seeks to make them “sexy and fast.” Pictures of her and Bill’s wedding, in which the bride wore traditional Swedish wedding garb and entered on a motorcycle, the ceremony took place in a motorcycle trailer, and for which both bride and groom wore …