Airspace X MOBI Wants toTake Back Our Lives

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Airspace X decries the thought that “Traffic is taking over our lives.”  It lists three concerns: the 42 hours urban commuters sit in traffic per year; the 1.9 billion gallons of fuel wasted due to road congestion; and the $1,400 wasted per driver per year due to traffic.  Its solution, an electrically-powered four-seat commuter vehicle called MOBI.  The e-VTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) machine, introduced at the Uber Elevate Summit on April 27, lays claim to being able to fly its passenger at rates equal to an Uber Black ride. According to NBC News, Uber Black “town car” style trips are usually longer than “standard” rides, in a shortlist of approved vehicles – the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac …

Volocopter, Dubai Sign Autonomous Air Taxi Agreement

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Dubai, already having penned a similar agreement with China’s eHang, will start test runs of autonomous air taxis in 2017 with the Volocopter. Volocopter’s Eventful Year Volocopter has had an eventful year, introducing its latest model, the 2X, at this year’s Friedrichshafen Aero E-Flight Expo and opening its new corporate headquarters.  Now, it looks forward to demonstrating its craft in regular service.  e-Volo writes, “Our vision becomes reality: Dubai’s government “Roads and Transport Authority” (RTA) has signed an agreement with us regarding the regular test mode of Autonomous Air Taxis (AAT) in the emirate. The test will start in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the project has been scheduled to run for five years.” The Volocopter 2X, according to …

MAHEPA, Modularizing the Approach to Clean Flight

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Pipistrel, itself flying pure electric and hybrid aircraft, has announced its participation in MAHEPA, a Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture.  MAHEPA aims to,” reduce the gap between research and the production of low-emission propulsion technologies that would enable the achievement of environmental objectives in the field of aviation by 2050.”  Mahepa’s first meeting, held May 15 and 16 at Pipistrel’s headquarters at Ajdovscina (Slovenia), helped define the direction for a major academic/industry project. Led by the aircraft manufacturer, in cooperation with Compact Dynamics, DLR (Germany’s equivalent of NASA), the University of Ulm, H2Fly, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft and University of Maribor, project goals are impressive. – “To boost research in the field of low emission propulsion technology to …

Qinetix Motor at E-Flight Expo

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

QinetiX GmbH in Germany manufactures a motor and controller combined in one case to lower weight and simplify installation.  Their QPD-40, shown at the Aero Friedrichshafen E-Flight Expo and on their web page, seems to exemplify those goals.  Its 12 kilogram (26.4 pound) weight and 40 kilowatt (53.6 hp.) output gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 3.2 kilowatts per kilogram (2 horsepower per pound). Running on 60 Volts at a maximum 680 Amperes, the motor produces 212 Newton-meters (156.4 foot-pounds) of torque, swinging a propeller at only 1,800 rpm, allowing for quiet operation.  The liquid-cooled stator and power electronics will require some form of heat exchanger, but probably with fairly low cooling drag overall. Only 90 millimeters (3.54 inches) thick …

PAL-V Goes on Sale in America

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Pal-V is a “flying car” that looks more like a flying motorcycle.  Its three wheels would make it so in many countries.  It flies as a gyrocopter, maintaining a sporty approach to its transition from ground to air.  One reader has suggested dropping the term, “flying car,” even though it has captured reporters’ (and America’s) imaginations for the last hundred years. Dutch Treat? The Dutch creation, under development for close to a decade, looks like a plausible contender for an all-purpose transportation device.  Its compact dimensions mimic a car on the ground, and its clever unfolding to become a gyrocopter allows quick and apparently easy transition from one mode to another.  The company calls the total experience, “FlyDriving.” In “car” …

Will Dubai Beat Everyone to Jetson World?

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

What do you give the country that has everything?  Perhaps the world’s first aerial taxi service. An Excess of Riches Dubai is a fabulously rich country, with an air conditioned beach, the world’s largest shopping mall and an indoor ski center complete with a good base and a layer of powder.  Disappointingly, it’s only the third largest indoor skiing area in the world.  The largest is in the Netherlands, with the second largest in Germany.  At least those countries don’t have to overcome the desert’s heat to drop the temperature below freezing. Visitors to Dubai can be excused for wanting to commute between these tourist attractions in an equally extravagant way.  Buzzing down on them in an eHang 184 passenger-carrying drone …

NASA’s Mark Moore Joins Uber

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You must really be somebody when Fortune Magazine notices you’re taking a new job.  Mark Moore is indeed somebody, and remarkably self-confident in leaving a 30-year NASA career to sign on to a startup – even if it is run by Uber.  He will be Director of Aviation for the on-demand ride company, tackling the problems inherent in taking such services into the third dimension. His decade-long work in electric propulsion for aircraft has led him to conceive of some interesting possibilities for Personal Air Vehicles, a term he engaged early.  His Puffin vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, for instance, seemed to use elements of Lockheed’s XFV-1 Pogo and Aerovironment’s Sky Tote – both tail sitters.  Ben Rich’s book, Skunk …

SA Symposium 2017 – An April Festival of Electric Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

April 21 and 22, 2017, set your GPS for N 37° 31′ 20.84” W 122° 15′ 38.31” – the Hotel Pullman San Francisco Bay.  The refined and beautiful setting and four-star accommodations make a grand accompaniment to the story we will share. The story of the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium includes the latest in aerodynamics, electric power and energy storage.  It’s a grand and sweeping review, told by talented intellects in the context of using the latest technology to help save the planet.  A few exemplars of the program highlight this year’s story, “ A Keynote Address from a Master Designer Tine Tomazic, Director of Research and Development for Pipistrel, created the G4 to win the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, …

Your Flying Car is on Its Way – How Soon?

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Uber is projecting real-world approaches to personal transport in urban environments.  Their work with Airbus affiliate A3 could help unlock gridlock for all of us.  Gridlock wastes millions of hours of otherwise productive time, a key measure of “the good life.”  With eVolo having demonstrated that 16 rotors can carry the weight of two people, and eHang showing a drone-like device that can carry one passenger on a 20-minute hop, urban mobility may soon become less depressing and more uplifting.  Other vehicles wait in the wings, so to speak, with the main impediment being regulatory gridlock. Uber Elevates the Discussion Uber Elevate, a project on which Uber and Airbus are collaborating, published a 98-page white paper last November, Fast-Forwarding to …

SolarStratos Unveils a High-flying Motorglider

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Raphael Domjan is an adventurer in every sense of the word.  He’s sailed around the world on solar power, and attempted to paddle his way across the Northwest Passage in a solar-powered kayak. And now, he’s revealed an airplane that could carry him to the stratosphere on solar power. SolarStratos is a 24.9-meter (81.7 feet) span motorglider shown to the public for the first time yesterday in Payerne, Switzerland.  With stage smoke and rock-concert lighting glittering from the solar cells on its wings and tail, the Calin Gologan-designed craft materialized before the crowd of 400 (according to Calin) gathered in the specially-built hangar. At a loaded weight of only 450 kilograms (990 pounds), SolarStratos should climb well on its dual motor, …