Referencing Uber’s Elevated Challenge

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We can tell things are heating up in the electric aircraft marketplace.  Established aircraft companies are investing (Boeing and Airbus for starters), growing numbers are planning for electrified and autonomous future flight (Uber Elevate Summit), and an absolute plethora of new designs are tumbling forth from an aeronautical cornucopia.  Their video of an Uber sky taxi ride illustrates the charm of the idea. A Common Reference Uber provided two common reference eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) reference models for partners to emulate.  Both seem to share a common passenger pod with an unusually long tail boom. Perhaps taking the 2011 Green Flight Challenge as his reference point, Mark Moore explained how Uber inspires others to give their best efforts …

MagniX, an Australian High-Power and Torque-Dense Motor

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A new motor from Australia, the MagniX Magni5, promises 300 kilowatts (402 horsepower) from a 53-kilogram (116.6-pound) package, or about five kW per kilogram.  This is competitive with other power-dense permanent magnet motors. The Magni5 claims an absolutely flat torque curve (more a line, really) from zero to 2,500 rpm, producing 1,000 Newton-meters (737.5 foot-pounds) throughout its revolution range.  This is a great deal like steam locomotive performance.  Its 444 millimeter (17.5 inches) diameter and 275 mm (10.8 inches) size is perfect to hide behind a propeller spinner.  The torque should guarantee a good rate of climb, and might be a worthy candidate for powering a Pikes Peak International Hill Climb contender. The company certainly seems to be on track …

Pipistrel’s Tine Tomazic Tours West Coast for eVTOL

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Visiting Los Angeles for UBER’s second Annual Elevate Summit on May 8, Tine Tomazic and Igor Perkon presented Pipistrel’s new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept.  As described in their press release, Pipistrel’s new design “utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft styled family approach of eVTOL able to carry between 2 to 6 passengers.” Mark Moore, UBER’s Director of Engineering, attempted to find out about the “sauce” that helps make Pipistrel’s eVTOL concept unique, but was deflected by Tine’s response that the “airplane” (important distinction) would be a “cruise plus lift” machine, emphasizing speed of transit, but relying on electric power to provide vertical lift.  He also noted that propulsion would …

Flynano Flies Electrically, Close to a Calm Lake

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Flynano is a Finnish aircraft design and manufacturing team, working since 2011 to achieve a first electrified flight of their appropriately named craft. First, the 70 kilogram empty weight is notable.  It includes battery weight, but only for 1.7 kilowatt-hour power source that allows a 15-minute dash across the surface of a fairly calm lake.  Its up to 100 kilogram (220 pound) pilot is snugly fitted within its 3.8 meter (12.47 feet) length, and carried aloft on a pair of joined wings a mere 4.8 meters (15.75 feet) in span. Most videos show the craft flying in or very near ground effect, and the company seems to think customers will be happier zooming around just above the water.  In response …

Magnax Motor Claim Impressive Power-to-Weight Ratios

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Echoing, in this editor’s mind, the collaboration between Oxford University and YASA motors, a recently announced motor from Belgium’s Ghent University and Magnax, makers of what they term an “axial flux machine.”  Similar to YASA’s products, the motors are yokeless, which the makers claim promotes lower weight and the shortest possible flux path. Beyond this feature, the motor/generators offer “A patented system for cooling the windings, for the lowest possible stator temperatures.”  According to Magnax, their Dual permanent magnet rotors give “the highest possible torque-to-weight ratio.”  Rectangular section copper wire fills more area than round wire and concentrated windings allow “the lowest possible copper losses (no coil overhangs).”  Grain-oriented electric steel lowers “core losses by as much as 85-percent.” The company’s white …

Lange Research Shows Six-Motor, Fuel-Cell Driven E2 at Aero Expo

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Biofuels, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, SAS, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lange Aviation explained the large glider-like machine on display at the 2018 Aero Expo this way: “During this year’s AERO in Friedrichshafen, a mock-up of the Antares E2 was displayed publicly for the first time by our sister company, Lange Research Aircraft GmbH. The Antares E2 is an aircraft with an extreme endurance and very high reliability, which has been designed primarily to address maritime monitoring tasks such as fishery control. In order to fulfill the design goals, a novel propulsive system using six fuel-cell systems and six over-wing propulsors has been developed.  A Large, Heavy Machine Beyond Glider Status Weighing in at a hefty 1,650 kilograms (3,630 pounds), the Lange E2 carries that weight on a 23 meter (75.45 …

Alpha Electro Achieves FAA Certification

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A Big Day in Fresno Following certification for Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro trainer in Australia, China, and Canada, the FAA presented this highly-valued acknowledgment that the aircraft meets current airworthiness standards.  After waiting for the agency to remove the restrictive word “reciprocating” from its Light Sport Aircraft regulations, electric aircraft designers have permission to field aircraft with truly modern powerplants. With FAA inspectors painstakingly perusing every part of the Electros, a formal presentation followed, enabling the Sustainable Aviation Project to move forward with plans to bring low-cost pilot training to the Fresno, California area. Officials from the four cities in which Alpha Electros will be hangared were on hand to lend encouragement during the public flight displays of the aircraft. For …

Two Siemens-Powered Electric Aircraft Debut

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A U. S. Debut in Chicago Mary Grady, writing in AVweb, reports that “Siemens brought its prototype electric aircraft to the U.S. this week for the first time, showcasing the airplane at the company’s Innovation Day in Chicago. ‘Electric propulsion is one of the transformative technologies that will help the industry meet the goals of reduced fuel, emissions and noise,’ said Teri Hamlin, vice president of electric propulsion for Siemens. ‘By accomplishing testing on our systems on select flying testbeds in the lower power classes, we are gaining valuable experience and knowledge that accelerates and validates our other developments in hybrid-electric propulsion systems in the high power classes.’“ Testing in Waco Further testing of the technology will take place in …

Project ATOS Wing Explores Ultralight Electric Soaring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Its translucent wing shimmering on the wall above Hall A7 at Friedrichshafen’s 2018 Aero Expo, A-I-R’s ATOS Wing commanded the attention of show goers.  A-I-R (Aeronautic Innovation Rühle & Co GmbH) produces a line of ultralight hang gliders and electrically-powered craft based on a common wing design modified for different weight and performance requirements.  Note the large wing at about 35 seconds into this perambulation around Hall A7, along with tantalizing glimpses of the other displays that we will cover in the near future. Although ethereal in appearance, ATOS wings can carry significant loads compared to their minimal weight.  The 50 kilogram (110 pound) VRS 280, for instance, can carry an all-up weight of 330 kilograms (726 pounds), an impressive …

Battery Options for Range and Longevity

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Two varying approaches to battery development may hold clues to future directions for energy storage.  At the same time, their announcements, promising as they seem, reinforce our cautious attitudes toward how battery performance numbers are presented. PNNL Attacks the Electrolyte Issue According to Green Optimistic, “Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a new formula for battery’s electrolyte solution to enhance its performance unprecedentedly in terms of its service life and storage capacity or an electric vehicle’s range.” The video gives an overview of what it takes to make a battery and hints at the reasons battery research takes so long to give up improved energy storage devices. Unprecedented the development may be, and the promise of …