Bye eFlyer Sales Near 300

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Diane Simard, Director and Senior Vice President at Bye Aerospace, keeps your editor updated on happenings at the maker of what were SunFlyers, and which are now eFlyers.  The rebranding makes sense.   In their press release for the eFlight Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany on April 11, the company included this explanation.  “George E. Bye, Founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, said eFlyer more accurately represents the aircraft’s high-tech all-electric propulsion system. ‘We originally thought solar cells would be standard on the airplane’s wings,’ Bye said. ‘However, with eFlyer’s primary markets being flight training and air taxi services, it makes more sense to make the price of the airplane as reasonable as possible.’” Bye Aerospace’s primary market is growing, with orders for 60 …

Go Fly’s Phase II Winners

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One complaint frequently heard is that aviation doesn’t necessarily encourage participation by women, despite historical examples from Harriet Quimby to Jeanna Yeager.   GoFly is a competition thought up by Gwen Lighter, a lawyer with degrees from Brown (summa cum laude) and Harvard (cum laude) Universities. It has a $2 million prize package backed by Boeing and others.  Ms. Lighter describes her brainchild as follows: “The $2 million GoFly competition encourages mad scientists and daredevils to come as close as possible to Star Wars’s light cycles, James Bond’s jetpack, Marty McFly’s hoverboard, or any other flying dream.” Five Phase 2 winners exemplify the open rule-book approach around which the contest is organized.  Lighter explained it two years ago in an NPR …

AutoflightX Returns Tian Yu to Forefront

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A Long Developmental Background Tian Yu headed Yuneec, a pioneering firm in electric flight.  In 2009 his company had several motors and one- and two-seat aircraft flying.  They even received certification from the FAA for the two-seat E430 and shipped it to Oshkosh, where it made its public flying debut at that year’s AirVenture.   At the 2013 AirVenture, Greenwing, an affiliate of Yuneec, fielded two e-Spyders, which pulled a first with several two-electric-airplane formation flights.  Despite being a major supplier of hobby drones and an early developer of powered parachutes, Yuneec seems to have gone into a dormant state, with a new company, AutoFlightX, coming to the forefront. First shown as the BAT600 concept vehicle in  2017 (There seems to …

First Commercial Drone Medical Delivery

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Medicine, STAT! Matternet is a U. S.-based company promoting its mission to, “Make access to goods as frictionless and universal as access to information.  Our products enable organizations around the world to build and operate drone logistics networks for transporting goods on demand, through the air, at a fraction of the time, cost and energy of any other transportation method used today. “ On March 27, it announced a collaboration with United Parcel Service (UPS) that delivered the first commercial medical payload at the WakeMed medical facility in North Carolina. Other non-commercial operations by Zipline, operating in Rwanda and Gambia; and  Swoop Aero, Ltd. and Wingcopter delivering vaccines in the South Pacific, are bringing “last mile” delivery of medical goods …

Kryptonite – As in MARVEL Comics?

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Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project, passed this on from Michael Coates, head of Pipistrel USA.  Despite its celebrated author and totally credible source, the following press release is open to scrutiny and will no doubt receive some rabid criticism. “Pipistrel ALPHA Electro completes 24 hour flight on a single charge! “The Pipistrel ALPHA Electro aircraft has successfully smashed the world endurance record for electric aircraft by completing its first 24-hour flight on a single charge! “Pipistrel engineers have recently tested different fuel cells and generator units to supplement the ALPHA Electro’s current 1-hour range. “Hugh improvements in electrical generation have unfolded with the recent (2016) re-discovery of Kryptonite in Northern Siberia and under the stepped Pyramid in Egypt. …

Mary Grady, A Great Aviation Journalist

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I met Mary Grady at the 2011 Sun ‘n Fun Flyin in Lakeland, Florida.  After that, she and I swapped tips and leads for articles.  Her work at AVweb and for Belvoir Publications was professional and polished – always.  I’m using AVweb’s tribute to her, especially since it shows her many facets.  She will be missed. Dean Sigler Mary Grady, one of AVweb’s longest-serving, most dedicated and respected contributing editors, died at her home in Warwick, Rhode Island, on March 12 after a long illness. Mary was one of the founding members of the internet experiment that became AVweb and continued as a key staff writer until her health challenges prompted a leave of absence earlier this year. She worked for AVweb for 20 years and …

Goodyear Aero Wheel Sparks Controversy

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Goodyear Creates a Flying Tire Displayed this week at the Geneva Auto Show, Goodyear’s new AERO wheel is not just rolling stock, but a possible aeronautical device that could propel a “flying car” skyward.  Not only could it roll along the freeway, it could navigate the vehicle and choose whether to be in highway or aerial mode.  These smart tires could have some problems, though, that could negate their aerial potential, according to some critics. Goodyear’s press release extols the possible virtues of the forward-thinking product: “GENEVA, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Goodyear AERO concept is a two-in-one tire designed for the autonomous, flying cars of the future. This concept would work both as a tire for driving on the road …

Polyplus and SK Team on Glass-Encapsulated Batteries

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Polyplus, a Berkeley, California-based battery developer, has teamed with SK, Korea’s” first and largest energy and chemical company,“ to produce and test prototype cells to demonstrate increased volumetric and gravimetric energy density and cycle life relative to existing Li-ion cells.”  Just reported,  “The PolyPlus lithium-water battery has achieved the highest recorded energy density of 1,300 Watt-hours/kilogram, or an almost 10x improvement* over current lithium-ion batteries. Polyplus projects the energy density for commercial lithium-air batteries to be 1000 watt-hours per kilogram.”   As with many recent partnerships, the alliance between Polyplus and SK provides “muscle” for the smaller partner.  Polyplus, with 18 bay area employees, will benefit from the far more sizable SK’s financial and managerial expertise.  Between the two firms Polyplus’ 135 …

Big Events and Numbers for Bye Aerospace

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Bye Aerospace has four big current projects, with the Sunflyer 2 at the top of the development and sales curve.  Teaming with Siemens, Bye Aerospace is now flying Sunflyer 2 with one of their 57 pound SP70D motors producing a 90 kilowatt peak rating (120 HP), and continuous power up to 70kW (94 HP). Bye anticipates that Sunflyer 2 will be, “the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplane to serve the flight training and general aviation markets.”  George Bye, the company’s founder and CEO has been working with Agency for several years on devising rules for electric aircraft certification. The need for 790,000 new pilots in the next few decades will drive the need for training aircraft.  An aging fleet with …

Pipistrel, Honeywell Sign MOU

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The fun part of writing this blog is receiving news of hopeful aspirations and plans for a thriving future. Taja Boscarol, one of the founders of Pipistrel, shared such news this week. “It is my greatest pleasure and honor to announce that Pipistrel and Honeywell signed an MOU(Memo of Understanding) regarding collaboration on aircraft technologies for urban air mobility.” The Slovenian/American joint venture headlined its press release, “PIPISTREL AND HONEYWELL COLLABORATE ON AIRCRAFT TECHNOLOGIES FOR URBAN AIR MOBILITY,” with the multi-faceted secondary headline, “Pipistrel and Honeywell combine aerospace expertise to address the technical, regulatory and business challenges of the emerging on-demand mobility market.”  eVTOL News lists over 140 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft on its web site.  Early in …