CES 2020: eVTOLs Vie for Attention

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Two electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) craft captured spectators’ attention at the 2020 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Mick Akers of the Review-Journal reported on Bell’s Nexus 4EX, an updated prototype or the concept machine they showed last year, and the New Hyundai SA-1, unveiled as part of its partnership with Uber. The Bell Nexus 4EX Akers reports, “After lighting up CES 2019 with its Nexus vertical takeoff and landing aircraft model, Bell returned this year with an updated prototype: the Nexus 4EX.” Unlike last year’s hybrid version, the 4EX will be fully electric.  Akers noted that, “the 4EX features four fan ducts, a reduction from the six shown with last year’s model.” Bell promotes …

Bye Aerospace Expands Its Horizons

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Bye Aerospace has been making inroads into both battery development and flight training with partners on an international scale.  Alliance with Oxis Energy As reported in July, Bye Aerospace and OXIS Energy announced a collaborative program to achieve a 50-to 100-percent increase in flight time from a single charge compared to existing batteries.  On its web site, OXIS reveals that it is, “…developing a <30 kWh battery system integrated with an Aviation Battery Management System for a two-seater electric passenger aircraft.”  The partnership, “…seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on future Bye Aerospace eAircraft,” with cells exceeding 500 Watt-hours per kilogram at 20 Amp-hour capacity.  This will lead to weight reduction …

Aquifer: Flow Batteries and Rim-driven Motors

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, SAS, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In a highly unusual approach, two NASA researchers have combined a flow battery system with a rim-driven propeller drive system.  Presenting at the Sustainable Aviation Symposium 2019 at UC Berkeley,Robert McSwain and Jason Lechniak detailed their AQUIFER Project, currently underway in the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. On Day  Two of the Symposium, Jason headed the presentation with a discussion of the implications of this and McSwain’s work on overall energy economy and NASA eVTOL discoveries.  Robert followed with a technical description of the Nano Electrofuel (NEF) Aqueous Flow Battery and Rim-driven Motor (RDM). “AQUIFER establishes technical feasibility of an early-stage technology, a high-energy density, aqueous-based, flow battery, resulting in a near-term increase of 1.7 …

HopFlyt Hops into the Next Decade

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

With 2020 lurching into life in some turbulence, HopFlyt promises a smooth, above-the-fray experience.  A look back at an innovative aircraft designer, the new variant applies electric power and new structural techniques unknown when Willard Custer had his inspiration.  HopFlyt is a modern interpretation of that vision, with distributed electric propulsion, 3D-printed components, and simplified control systems. Willard was a far-sighted soul in the 1940’s, when aircraft were either all wood, all sheet metal, or mixed structures of wood, chromoly tubing and fabric.  The composites that freed designers for swoopier things were a few decades away. Willard Custer’s Big Idea Reputedly a descendant of George Armstrong Custer, Willard Custer envisioned a propeller in a semi-circular channel that might produce lift …

Greeting the New Year with Hope

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Two Videos to Ponder We’re not there yet, in the land of flying cars and even motorcycles.  But we do have some pretty good images of where we are and where we might be headed.   CNBC produced some pretty thoughtful and well-researched pieces on a major problem plaguing all of us who live within bumper distance of one another – and some plausible solutions.  Both videos touch on urban air mobility. How Much Do Traffic Jams Cost the U. S. Economy? Gridlock, traffic jams and delay – they all frustrate us daily if we live in a big city.  They take away from family time, pollute the air, and drive us to distraction.  This video ends with an optimistic take …

Joby and Uber Elevate Form Partnership

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In a new partnership agreement, Uber Elevate recently added Joby Aviation to its stable of aircraft companies which are to supply craft for its Urban Air Mobility program.  Joby builds electric motors, 12 of which line the wing of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, with two larger motors for forward thrust when the small units are shut down. This inventory of electric motors on the NASA project gives Joby a certain entrée to interest from the Urban Air Mobility movement, and it’s received that interest from Uber.  Well financed in its own right, Joby has committed to meeting Uber’s desire to have operating sky taxis in the air by 2023, as reported by Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge. We have written …

SAS 2019: IBM Battery Research with Dr. Jangwoo Kim

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Dr. Jangwoo Kim has a resume’ that puts a great many qualifications together that spell “battery designer.”  He has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Yonsei University, one of three “Sky Universities” regarded as South Korea’s most prestigious.  At Cornell University, he received M. S. and Ph.D degrees in chemical engineering, and then worked for LG Chem on lithium-ion battery pack design.  After that, he returned to Cornell to work on his Ph.D, investigating “next-generation rechargeable battery technology, including Li-Air and Li-Sulfur, specialized in inorganic nanomaterial synthesis and polymer processing via an electrospraying method.”  He joined IBM Research, Almaden Research Center in 2016 and participated in the Battery 500 project, aiming to build a battery pack with a specific energy …

A Joyous Boxing Day Electrified

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Boxing Day is a holiday unique to the British Empire, a day-after Christmas gift-giving celebration in which the well-off gave gifts to their servants. Yahoo Entertainment explains, “While there is some dispute over what the name actually means, it’s commonly believed that Boxing Day refers to the habit of aristocratic employees gifting their servants or tradesman on Dec. 26 as a thank you for their work throughout the year. The employers would give them each a box to take home to their family with gifts, bonuses and leftover food. “Samuel Pepys, a naval administrator and Member of Parliament, is famous for writing in his diary in 1663: ‘Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something …

ACCELL: A (Mostly) British Coalition Going for 300 MPH

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Rolls-Royce is perhaps the epitome of Britishness, going back to 1904, when Henry Royce, founder of a successful mechanical/electrical business, met Charles Rolls, a successful car dealer in London.  Together, the founded the company which came to be known as Rolls-Royce.  By 1906, their Silver Ghost was known as “the best car in the world.”  That quality was inherent in their first aircraft engine, the Eagle, “providing some half of the total horsepower used in the air war by the allies.”  It provided the power in 1919 for the first direct flight across the Atlantic and the first flight from England to Australia – both in Vickers Vimy aircraft.  This led to racing success, with early V-12 engines by R-R …

Help Promote Electric Aviation

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Beth Stanton, an aerobatic pilot and superb writer (you can read her articles in Sport Aviation), shares the following action item.  Readers are invited to comment to the FAA by December 31.  Your comments could have a big effect promoting electric flight, especially in flight training.   “Progress on affordable electric training is happening!  “Joseph Oldham, director of the Sustainable Aviation Project (SAP) asked me to pass this information along – “The SAP petition to the FAA for exemption to operate 4 Pipistrel Alpha Electro Aircraft with the issuance of a Special Light Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate to conduct flight training is now posted for public comment: “https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/09/2019-26468/petition-for-exemption-summary-of-petition-received-cities-of-mendota-and-reedley-california   “Comments must be received by 12/30/19.   “The progress of the …