Oregon Helps Build and Will Test Fly Vahana

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Oregon is a big player in drones and electric aviation, your editor just learned.  Attending the first ever Drone Summit in Bend, Oregon recently, we found that Oregon has three of the seven unpiloted aerial vehicle test ranges in the United State.  It has Boeing-backed Insitu, maker of the Scan Eagle long-range, long-endurance drone now being adapted to civilian uses.  Portland has FlightHouse LLC, manufacturing the canard for Airbus A3’s Vahana project, and the flight vehicle will be tested at the Pendleton Test Range. SOAR Oregon sponsored the event, which included speakers, ample networking time, and multiple revelations of the size and scope of drone activity in the state.  Their mission statement is short and sweet.  “SOAR Oregon is a …

Capturing Carbon and Making Airplanes from It

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Climate scientists have tracked the growing percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, and noted a correlation between that rise and global warming.  Scientists from Michael Mann to Benjamin Santer have measured the changes in CO2 levels against climate change, with 97 out of 100 climate scientists accepting that human activities and rises in CO2 (and other greenhouse gases such as methane) are affecting our overall climate. Not to start an argument about this matter, this entry looks at a novel method of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and using it to make possible carbon materials that would be used in aerospace and other components.  The question of carbon removal usually includes some method of storing it.  Futurism.com has …

Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries Seem Inherently Safe

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Ionic Materials, A Woburn, Massachusetts-based company, claims to have crafted a battery with an alkaline solid-state electrolyte that successfully resists punctures, cuts and other injuries.  It doesn’t burst into flames like many lithium-based batteries.  In demonstrations, the battery survives 9mm and 25-caliber bullets. A more personal attack takes place with a screwdriver and paper cutter. When a “conventional” lithium battery suffers such assaults, the liquid electrolyte leaks and sometimes causes a short circuit, channeling all the energy into the flammable liquid.  Remember recent hoverboard and airline incidents and a spate of smart phone meltdowns to make you more than a little nervous about the cell phone in your pocket or tablet nearby.  Such thermal runaways on a small airplane are …

Instant Hydrogen?

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Researchers at the U. S. Army’s Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, announced what they call a “groundbreaking discovery – an aluminum nanomaterial they designed produces high amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water, or with any liquid containing water.” Reportedly “during routine materials experimentation,” the team observed a bubbling reaction when they added water to a nano-galvanic aluminum-based powder.  The rapid and spontaneous hydrolysis of water did not require a catalyst came as a surprise to the researchers. Scott Grendahl, a materials engineer and team leader, explained, “The hydrogen that is given off can be used as a fuel in a fuel cell.”  Unlike most water splitting, this is a one-step process, adding water …

MGM Compro Enjoys Good News in Europe and at Oshkosh

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

MGM Compro is a Czech company that seems to have a motor on half of every light electric airplane flying today.  Their motors have powered Airbus’s electric Cri-Cri (four 15-kilowatt units), the firm’s e-Fan, Ruppert Composite’s Archaeopteryx, e-Volo’s Volocopter, and any number of motorgliders and light sport aircraft buzzing quietly over Europe, and soon, America. Certification in Europe Certification is usually the route to wide acceptance of a new motor, proof that the unit has passed some rigorous tests and is suited for use in aircraft.  As Martin Dvorsky, Managing Director for the firm reports: We are really proud to announce that [the] MGM COMPRO complex propulsion unit just obtained [a] CERTIFICATE OF AIRWORTHINESS issued by [the] Slovak Federation of …

eSpirit of St. Louis Runs at Oshkosh

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

One of the biggest thrills this year at Oshkosh was getting to see Eagle Flight Research Center’s DA-36 run its YASA electric motor.  Eagle Flight, an outgrowth of Erik Lindbergh’s Powering Imagination program he’s been pursuing for the last several years, aims to create quiet electric aircraft that will carry sight-seers over National Parks and Monuments.  Such flights would not disturb people or wildlife below, and would give a Gabriel’s eye view of the most pristine places in our country. International Approval His ideas have met with international support.  As noted on the YouTube video of their meeting, “… Flavia Schlegel (Assistant Director-General (ADG) for the Natural Sciences) at UNESCO in Paris… gave an enthusiastic endorsement of our eSpirit of …

2017 Green Speed Cup – Airplanes More Frugal Than Priuses

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Green Speed Cup, held every year except for 2016 since 2011, is measure of an airplane’s efficiency, using a formula from the competition’s web site.  “The scoring will be very simple. The aircraft that flew with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance and speed will win the competition. The scoring of each competitor will be related to the winner. The winner gets 1000 points for one day.” According to Robert Adam, one of the organizers of the Cup, “We had a fantastic Green Speed Cup (and rightfully but reasonably prods your editor for not covering the results sooner.)  Luka Znidarsic from LZ Design won with his “front electric sustainer” Ventus glider. He had to close the gap between battery …

Dallas Finds Seoul Brothers in Battery Development

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A “novel” manganese and sodium-ion-based material might be a contender for the more universal lithium-ion batteries that power our mobile devices and make us mobile in electric vehicles.  Developed by the University of Texas at Dallas in collaboration with Seoul National University, the new material is said to offer “a potentially lower-cost, more ecofriendly option to fuel next-generation devices and electric cars.” Dr. Kyeongjae Cho, professor of materials science and engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, thinks battery cost is a “substantial issue.”  It may become more of one with electric vehicle production growing from the existing global electric car stock of two million vehicles in 2016 to a projected nine-to-20 million (as reported by the …

What We’re Looking Forward to at AirVenture 2017

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re looking forward to seeing progress in electric aircraft, and this year may be an opportunity to see real breakthroughs. Two from Pipistrel Besides its regular lineup of high-quality aircraft, Pipistel will have two Alpha Electro trainers on display in their display area.  This is the first time these aircraft will be seen in America, and they’ll be at the right of AirVenture’s main entrance gate in sites 86 and 87. In the Ultralight Area Mark Beierle will display and fly Bravo, Richard Steeves’ e-Gull.  This red, white and blue gem features a power system made from Zero Motorcycle components and boasts an impressive rate of climb and exceptional short field capabilities. Another ultralight, the EMG-6 developed over the last …