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 …

Solar Flight Calendar: Just in Time for the Holidays

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A Glorious Calendar Eric and Irina Raymond, besides being skilled solar-powered airplane builders, designers, and pilots are also professional photographers.  Their 2020 Solar Flight calendar highlights all those skills and provides historical background for their work.  Besides that – it’s gorgeous. With a baker’s dozen stunning color photos, and historical black-and-white archival images on the back of each month’s offering, the calendar is a nice blend of modern artistry and the chronicle of an eventful past.  Did you know, for instance, that Eric flew the first solar-powered aircraft across America in 1990 – 23 years before Solar Impulse’s journey? One episode on Eric’s blog is worthy of attention.  “At my slow flying speed, I often flew in formation with flocks …

Volocopter’s Short Flight Over the Bay

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Volocopter air taxi flies over Singapore’s Marina Bay Volocopter flew the latest version of its two-seat sky taxi, the 2X, on a two-minute, 1.5-kilometer excursion around and over Singapore’s Marina Bay on October 22.  This short flight, surrounded by massive, futuristic skyscrapers, highlighted the controllability of the small machine and its ability to use minimal infrastructure, taking off from and landing on a simple grass plot. Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, applauded the flight’s verification of his vision.  “The flight today in Singapore was the most advanced Volocopter flight yet and the piloted flight was as stable as ever. At the same time, we are showcasing a prototype of our full-scale VoloPort Infrastructure, allowing for a realistic demonstration of air …

Lilium Goes Institutional and Aspirational

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

Lilium has done its marketing homework. They seem to be using a lot of marketing skills to move a potentially revolutionary product most of us have no chance of ever owning. Selling Lilium’s Benefits What makes us want things?  What floats our boats?  What makes us stop in our tracks and look in a store window?  What drags people out of their beds at midnight to stand in line for the Blu Ray of the latest Harry Potter film? Writing technical documentation first for an electronics firm and then for a major engineering design/build company, your editor helped create many proposals, inserting relevant technical data into promotional material and proposals.  Working with one particularly successful marketing manager, your editor learned …

The 2019 Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA) Trophy

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

Honoring John Langford If one stays with a line of work long enough, one will accomplish mighty things.  That’s certainly true for John Langford, Chief Executive Officer for Aurora Flight Sciences.  His decades-long career, start his decades-long career, starting at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and culminating his company partnering with Boeing, has explored almost every aeronautical discipline.  For this perseverance, he was awarded the 2019 Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA) Trophy. Aurora Flight Sciences’ Chief Technology Officer, Tom Clancy, was on hand at the 2019 Sustainable Aviation Symposium at UC Berkeley to accept the award for Langford.  Clancy has worked with Langford since their MIT days, building and flying several human-powered aircraft, including the 1974 Daedalus.  That aircraft flew the …

Solid State Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In battery making, recipes for electrolytes play an important part of the whole.  In a new formula whipped up by Zhengzhou University, Tsinghua University and Stanford University, Lithium (Li), Lanthanum (La), Zirconium (Zr), Tantalum (Ta), and Oxygen (O) form a ceramic tube as the battery’s electrolyte.  This tube is centered in new solid state Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium batteries. Researchers filled that tube with a liquid lithium electrode, and immersed the tube in a bath of carbon black and liquid selenium or sulfur in a stainless steel container. The team’s paper, “High Energy-Density Solid Electrolyte-Based Liquid Li-S and Li-Se Batteries,” published in the October 15 edition of Joule, explains the new batteries should be capable of delivering energy densities …