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 …

Restarting the Blog with Bad News – and Some Hope

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

Your editor is back in action (in slow motion) having experienced two holes in his stomach, patched neatly by modern medicine and skilled practitioners.  All is reasonably well and getting better.  Certainly better than two well-publicized battery fires. The Bad News Coming out of the recent fog, your editor received an email from Karl Kaser (Kasaero) with dreadful news.  One of two Lilium prototypes had burned, somewhat similar to the recent loss of the Eviation Alice in Prescott, Arizona.  Battery fires are of great concern for the future of the emerging industry. A podcast on the company claims the firm is the, “Best funded air taxi startup in the world,” with 100 million Euros in venture capital riding on its …

A Short Break for the Blog

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This is physically painful to write, but explains a need to reduce output for a few days or weeks.  A blood flow problem in my left hand keeps me awake at night and interferes with concentration during waking hours.  I need to slow down on blog output until a course of action can alleviate the pain. There are several items in queue and they will be released in due order.  Please be patient while I am being a patient and we’ll get the blog rolling again soon. This is a concern to me since I’ve been writing and editing the blog on a volunteer basis for the last 10-and-a-half years, with well over 1,300 entries.  We need to keep this …

APUS Introduces Two Zero Emission Craft

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We’ve written several times about structural batteries in this blog, from Dr. Emile Greenhalgh’s early research at Imperial College to more recent efforts along the same line.  Interestingly, the basic idea remains very much the same over a decade.  Energy storage would take place in a monocoque-type structure that could use carbon fiber, fiberglass, and even graphene as  a structural material, while acting as a battery.  Now some of this thinking is being applied to hydrogen storage in wings. “TubeStruct™” APUS, an aircraft design, structure and certification operation in Strausberg, Germany, offering a full range of services including flight training.  They recently announced two new craft, both featuring hydrogen fuel systems contained in a novel “…  patented structurally integrated hydrogen …

Wright Electric Reveals Big Plans

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

While most anticipated new electric aircraft don’t seem to exceed 50 seats, Wright Electric has begun a more ambitious program for its 186-seat electric airliner, Wright 1.  In a January 30 press meeting at the Refinery Hotel in lower Manhattan, Wright announced plans to move forward with their design and testing program for a substantial electric airliner. Wright CEO Jeffrey Engler promised: “Wright Electric is dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186-seat electric planes systems to market. Wright Electric’s mission is to make commercial aviation greener, and our megawatt engine program is the next step in making our mission a reality.” Wright’s plans include moving its headquarters to Albany, New York, “to take advantage of the extraordinary local engineering talent.”  Wright will …

Eviation’s Alice Involved in Fire

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

Time magazine lauded Eviation’s Alice last year, ranking it as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019.  Alex Fitzpatrick compared its green goodness to the GHG-loaded nature of commercial aviation.  “Flying is dirty work—the aviation industry emits nearly a quarter of total transportation-­related greenhouse-­gas emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. One way to clean it up could be ­Eviation’s all-electric Alice, an Israeli-made nine-seater meant to convince the gas-­guzzling aviation world that electric power is ready for takeoff. “The real innovation is in the lightweight materials rather than the batteries and motors and controllers and all that,” says Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. If successful, the design could pave the way for larger electric commercial aircraft. Alice, which …

UAM Realization May be Closer than We Think

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

We are on the verge of big happenings in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) world.  Large amounts of money are flowing into the coffers of those companies which dared to pioneer in the area.  Large firms are partnering with these aerial startups.  And the Federal Aeronautics Administration is paying attention while actively pursuing certification for the new machines headed our way. Jay Merkle, FAA Certification and Airspace Integration At the Transportation Review Board’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, Jay Merkle, head of the FAA’s UAS integration office, told attendees that six (Urban Air Mobility) UAM  vehicles are “well along,” according to a report in Aviation Today.   He held that the growing market is ““more than just hype … this is …

Hydrogen Instead of Batteries?

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

As battery makers worldwide strive to develop safe, high-energy-density cells, Breezer Aircraft, a German small-aircraft manufacturer, unveils plans to power one of its ultralights with a hydrogen fuel cell. Breezer’s  B400-6, receiving 600kilogram certification by the DAeC (German Aero Club), is light enough to enable a small fuel-cell-motor combination to power it.  Usually powered by the ubiquitous Rotax range of engine, an electric version will initially to be driven by batteries, and then powered by a hydrogen-fuel cell. eCap and Re-Fire   eCap, a German company specializing in systems integration and installation for a diverse range of classic and modern vehicles, will work with Breezer on the first installations.  eCap’s demonstrated ability to convert everything from an antique farm tractor and classic …

Pigeon Feathers!

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

We lag behind nature in many areas, and constantly need to remind ourselves of our relative ignorance of her many secrets.  Feathers are a case in point, and Stanford University researchers found that, unable to duplicate the nature of these lightest of airborne structures, they needed to use the real thing in their latest drone. The IEEE Spectrum reports, “The few attempts at making artificial feathers that we’ve seen in the past have been sufficient for a few specific purposes but haven’t really come close to emulating the capabilities that real feathers bestow on the wings of birds. So a century later, we’re still doing the rigid wings with discrete flappy bits, while birds (one has to assume) continue to judge us for …

Supercaps for Supercars – and Sky Taxis?

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

Your editor has asked for years if batteries in electrically-powered aircraft could be augmented by supercapacitors, devices able to unleash significant amounts of power quickly.  The usual answer is that the added weight of supercaps that could add power on demand would be about that of added batteries to equal the performance. We wrote about the use of super capacitors in KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) used in Formula racers and even at LeMans.  At around the same time, Mazda tucked supercaps under the front wheel well on some models to capture waste energy from braking.  That energy could then power electric systems in the car and even recharge the main battery.  In an explanation and comparison of lithium batteries …