Largest Electric Airplane Takes Flight

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Yesterday, a Cessna C208 Caravan lifted off from the AeroTEC Flight Test Center at the Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Moses Lake, Washington, being pulled aloft by a magniX 500 electric motor.  The  750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system is the largest to fly so far, and seemed to pull the ten-passenger craft easily, lifting off early and establishing a stable rate of climb. At last year‘s Paris Air Show, Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, guided visitors through the promising features of his firm’s two motors and its magniDrive inverter/motor controller.  All three products, as shown in the video, have found homes on retrofitted and new airframes. Thursday’s flight went well.  Ganzarski told reporters, “The flight went as I like …

Hydrogen from Dirty and Clean Sources

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Hydrogen, the first element created from the Big Bang, is the lightest in the periodic table, has the atomic number 1, and is “the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.” (Wikipedia).  Until starting this blog entry, though, your editor was unaware that this colorless gas came in brown, blue, and green variants – referring to the methods used to extract h2.  Hydrogen can be extracted from some fairly dirty sources, but the dirtiest may lead to an amazingly clean outcome, if we’re to believe what’s happening in Lancaster, California. The Guardian reports, “Broadly, there are currently three ways to make hydrogen. Brown hydrogen is produced when the element is stripped out of fossil fuels such as coal, while blue …

GoFly Prize Will Have a Sequel

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A well-produced video looking like a Christopher Nolan trailer for an upcoming Batman film — Silverwing’s preview of its coming attraction wraps us in a cocoon-like cockpit with a heads-up display to envy.  Silverwing’s S1 was one of 20 machines to show up at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California for the GoFly Prize flyoff. As Beth Stanton reported in the May issue of Sport Aviation, the gathering represented the best of 854 teams from 103 countries who made it through the first phase of the competition over two years ago.  The attrition rate may seem high unless one considers the difficulty level posed by the contest’s constraints. Beth’s article, “On the Edge of Possibility,” draws its title from a …

Pyka: Electric, Autonomous, and Capable

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“The Autonomous Airplane of the Future” Conceived in Oakland and Palo Alto, California but flying in New Zealand, Pyka’s fixed-wing electric aircraft represents a new approach in its design and application.  Its makers say, “We’re building the autonomous electric airplanes of the future,” and its complement of innovative on-board electronics certainly seems to bear that out. eVTOL News reports Pyka co-founder and CEO Michael Norcia interned with Joby Aviation and moved on to spend two years as a power systems engineer with Wisk.  Having experienced the difficulties with vertical lift, “…when Norcia and his co-founders — Chuma Ogunwole, Kyle Moore, and Nathan White — struck out on their own three years ago, they decided to take a more practical approach: …

Pipistrel’s Plans Evolve in Exciting Ways

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In its 30th year, Pipistrel is making many changes, from a crisp new logo to new emphases and technologies.  Its 801, intended for Uber’s Urban Air Mobility program, will segue into a cargo version and return later after the firm gains experience with deliveries.  Meanwhile, Pipistrel will concentrate on developing a 19-seat, 300-mile range regional airliner while growing its global outreach for personal aircraft.  Pipistrel is evolving and flourishing in exciting new ways. From Hang Gliders to Global Reach Ivo Boscarol, founder, owner and president of Pipistrel companies, CEO of Pipistrel d.o.o. Shares a look at his firm’s three-decade history and plans for the near future. Pipistrel reports in its newsletter, “The information that Pipistrel is running a program developing …

VoltAero Has Ambitious Plans

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

VoltAero is a small French company that might succeed in electric flight where bigger firms have failed.  Its hybrid-electric system marks an innovative path to quiet flight. Airbus ventured into electric aviation with a four-motor conversion of the Colomban cri-Cri in 2010 and a clean-sheet craft, the E-Fan, a sleek, essentially ducted fan two-seater in 2015.  Initially big plans for production of two and four seat variants bloomed – then withered.  Airbus dropped plans for the personal electric airplane market and instead concentrated on at least three versions of Urban Air Mobility devices and a hybrid-electric demonstrator based on a BAE 146 airliner.  This last project, the E-Fan X, was canceled recently.  Jean Botti was Chief Technology Officer for Airbus, …

Making and Recycling LIBs Cleaner, Safer

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What if we could make the process of making  LIBs (Lithium Ion Batteries) a lot safer, their use less hazardous, and their recycling a low-risk enterprise?  Virginia Tech researchers think they have positive answers to all three questions. By substituting water for organic solvents normally used in making LIB electrodes, researchers at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), “…found that the electrodes fabricated via water-based processing demonstrate comparable rate performance and cycle life to the ones from conventional solvent based processing.”  Beyond that, in a seeming bit of alchemy, using water-based processing with a water-soluble binder, “…enabled recovering the cathode compound from spent electrodes using water, which could be successfully regenerated to deliver comparable electrochemical performance to the …

Drones Meeting the Corona Virus Challenge

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

“Ramadan Mubarak, Dean! “As a kid who grew up in the ’80s, I thought by 2020 we’d have flying cars and a clean planet, and yet here we are grappling with a global pandemic and much uncertainty in these very strange times.” This greeting from Hani Almadhoun, Director of Philanthropy for  the the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA USA, reminds us of our common humanity and spirituality while lamenting the fact that we don’t yet have those long-promised flying cars or at least a well-looked-after planet. Like the virus, the unfulfilled dream of a “flying car” seems universal. Faced with an imperfect reality, fixed- and rotary-wing drones are showing their worth in fighting the …

Pipistrel: Generosity Amid Chaos

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

Taja Boscarol, co-founder and Public Relations Manager of Pipistrel hopes, “You are healthy in these challenging times,” and makes a great invitation to the world’s involuntarily shut-in pilots. Pipistrel has decided to provide an open access to all online training materials during the current period of world-wide enforced isolation as a testament and dedication to safety through continuous training and learning. Pipistrel Academy Computer-Based Training Courses are now available free-of-charge to anybody, for three months. “We hope this will motivate non-flying pilots as well as student pilots and flight instructors to stay connected to their passion and learn more every day. “Anybody, whether student pilot, pilot, flight instructor or aviation enthusiast, flying clubs, flight schools can apply and join the …

JabirWatt: PAI and DEP with David Ullman

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Electric aircraft, especially in their early state of development, will require aerodynamically capable forms or extremely light structures, or both. That may account for the early adoption of sailplanes as test beds. These are graceful and high performance units, but not all that practical for hauling loads or for daily commuting. Other first attempts adapted ultralight, but not necessarily aerodynamically efficient structures to make electric flight possible. David Ullman makes use of two dynamic technologies, PAI  and DEP, to achieve performance with the potential for great practicality. PAI and DEP David, a professor emeritus in mechanical engineering, is also an enthusiastic pilot and inventor. His texts on the design process and decision making are best sellers. Recently, he’s been exploring …