Air Race E Leaps Forward with Eight Teams

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

The public got a glimpse of Air Race E at this year’s Dubai Air Show.  Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race E and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, head of XO Airbus Demonstrators, pulled the wraps on Team Condor’s converted Cassutt racer – one of eight teams entering the fray.   Race E is an update of the classic small aircraft races held following World War II, and many of the airplanes in the upcoming events will be re-motored and redesigned versions of these craft.  Formula 1 racing has not changed much since its 1947 inception. Most air small air racers relied on the Continental C-85 engine, mildly uprated and turning faster than it did in Aeronca Champions or Piper Cubs.  Formula E …

Project 804 Turns Turboprop into Hybrid

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Uniting Technologies United Technologies, an aerospace leader, expands its role as United Technologies Advanced Projects (UTAP), uniting Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, United Technologies Research Center “and certain as-yet-unannounced external institutions.”  The organization’s Project 804. A hybrid-electric “X-plane” intended to reduce aircraft noise, improve fuel consumption, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and cut airline operating and maintenance costs. As exciting as the prospect sounds, the new aircraft probably won’t draw a lot of attention on the ramp.  It will look pretty much like a DeHavilland Dash 8-400, a short-to-mid range passenger hauler at just about every commercial airport in the world.  It is, indeed, a Dash 8, converted to a new and innovative hybrid-turbine power system. Entering service in 1984 as …

Hydrogen-powered Drone Makes Ocean Flight

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

A one-hour, 43-minute flight between a hospital on the Caribbean island of St. Croix and a testing facility on the neighboring island of St. Thomas probably set a record for hydrogen-powered multi-rotor, over-water drone flight.  The flight delivered live bacteria samples from a hospital on the Caribbean island of St. Croix to a testing facility on the neighboring island of St. Thomas.  The demonstration was carried out by Guinn Partners and associated organizations. Most such medical deliveries are usually over land and within urban areas. Fixed-wing drones flying with Zipline in Rwanda deliver clinical samples and blood 80 kilometers (49.6 miles) each way out and return. The Doosan Mobility Innovations (DMI) DS-30 drone is a large machine able to carry …

SAS 2019: Larry Cooke and NovaSolix

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Laurence H. (Larry) Cooke, Chief Technology Officer for NovaSolix, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, discussed a way to make what are essentially radio waves into efficient, inexpensive solar power.  His biography includes this indicator of a productive life. “Larry “Cooke has written one book, multiple papers and have over 100 granted US patents. Cooke is currently CTO and Chairman of NovaSolix, a revolutionary Carbon Nanotube Rectenna array based solar cell start-up.” NovaSolix separates its approach to capturing solar energy from the “traditional” solar cell, solar panel method. “The Old Way” Thoughtco.com says, “Any device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics is a solar cell.”  Such devices have a longer history than …

Volocopter and John Deere Partner on VoloDrone

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We usually think of farming as a back-to-the-earth, humble enterprise, eschewing urban sophistication for rural simplicity.  Volocopter, the height of such urbanity, and John Deere, its green and yellow tractors shearing suburban lawns and its giant combines harvesting wheat fields worldwide, are blurring those lines with the VoloDrone, an agricultural implement like no other. The largest John Deere combines weigh over 30,000 pounds (13,608 kilograms), while the most a Volocopter can carry is around 440 pounds (200 kilograms).   This disparity can seem heavily on the side of brutish strength, but agility and finesse also play a part in farming. Unveiled at the aptly named Future Technology Zone in Hall 13 at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany, a demonstrator model of the …

Go With the CoFlow Jet

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Ge-Cheng Zha, Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Miami (Florida) explores new realms of augmenting lift on wing surfaces.  He recently presented one aspect of this study, which he calls the CoFlow Jet. Most conventional airfoils generate increasing amounts of lift with an increasing angle of attack, but that increase stops at around 12 to 15 degrees AOA.  The wing “stalls”, sometimes suddenly.  The ability to avoid this stall would increase flight safety immeasurably. Zha’s presentation at SAS 2019 at UC Berkeley, “A High Efficiency Low Noise VTOL/ESTOL Concept Using CoFlow Jet,” showed off some startling high angle of attack capabilities that went well beyond the normal limits for conventional airfoils. Phil Hendrie, a …

Dante AeroNautical Distributes Power

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

In a dramatic rendering, Dante AeroNautical shows its DAX-19, a regional airliner that will distribute power along its wings, much like NASA’s X-57 Maxwell.  Dante describes the craft as representing, “The regional electric air travel of the future.” (In Dante’s web site, the triangle in place of the conventional “a” is the alchemical symbol for fire, or a clever marketing type’s attempt to draw our attention.) Helmut Penner, writing in Cockpit magazine, gives us the following: “Typically, small airlines make their aircraft purchases from major manufacturers, including the still-young Spanish low-cost airline Voltea, which operates 14 A319s and 17 Boeing 717s. But now [the company] is aiming for an ambitious project with the Dante AeroNautical, which is also based in …

Toni Roth’s C42 Hybrid Range Extender

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

The Comco Ikarus C42 is a popular ultralight aircraft in Europe, now being tested with a unique hybrid power system. Anton (Toni) Roth was an early adapter, putting small electric motors on a variety of ultralight aircraft over the past several years.  These have been the lightest of machines powered by Eck/Geiger motors, controllers and batteries. His latest is a hybrid conversion of the popular C42, two-seat ultralight which normally flies on a Rotax engine, as do most European ultralight craft.  In this case, Roth has mounted a Swiss single-cylinder four-stroke engine behind the pilot’s seats driving a Geiger generator which in turn powers a Geiger HP-55D motor on the nose, delivering up to 73 kilowatts (97 horsepower) and providing …

SAS 2019: Dr. Sangita Gupta and ASX

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

Two years ago, the Airspace X (ASX) MOBi  promised to achieve passenger costs equal to an Uber Black ride.  More importantly, the company promised that it might take back our lives, eliminating the frustration and wasted time lost in traffic gridlock. We caught up with ASX at this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium, held at UC Berkeley. Dr. Anita Sengupta, co-founder and Chief Product Officer for the firm explained the current outlook for ASX.  Where the MOBi-One (Mobility-One) looked like an offshoot of Airbus’s Pop-Up modular vehicle, it is now close to one of Uber’s concept craft used to guide designers. Dr. Sengupta’s background as aerospace engineer, rocket scientists and veteran of the space program has led her from deep space …

Cambridge’s Artificial Leaf Makes Syngas

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Cambridge University researchers have developed a new “artificial leaf” that uses sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to directly generate “syngas,” without releasing additional CO2 into the atmosphere.  As the Cambridge team reported, ‘Syngas is currently made from a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is used to produce a range of commodities, such as fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics and fertilizers.” Other “leaves” have been devised, perhaps the most famous being that of Daniel Nocera, formerly at MIT and now at Harvard University.  He was among the first and at the time, most successful, or the leaf producers.  Note the next step he proposes at the end of the short video. Professor Erwin Reisner from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry has been …