Two Siemens-Powered Electric Aircraft Debut

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

A U. S. Debut in Chicago Mary Grady, writing in AVweb, reports that “Siemens brought its prototype electric aircraft to the U.S. this week for the first time, showcasing the airplane at the company’s Innovation Day in Chicago. ‘Electric propulsion is one of the transformative technologies that will help the industry meet the goals of reduced fuel, emissions and noise,’ said Teri Hamlin, vice president of electric propulsion for Siemens. ‘By accomplishing testing on our systems on select flying testbeds in the lower power classes, we are gaining valuable experience and knowledge that accelerates and validates our other developments in hybrid-electric propulsion systems in the high power classes.’“ Testing in Waco Further testing of the technology will take place in …

Sunflyer Takes to the Air

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Following assorted powerplant and taxi texts, the prototype Sun Flyer 2 prototype took to the air over Centennial Airport (KAPA) south of Denver, Colorado.  Further tests will expand speed, altitude, and endurance capabilities, according to Bye Aerospace. George Bye, Founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, enthused, “We are excited about the future and the potential the Sun Flyer family of aircraft has to revolutionize general aviation, providing improved affordability and accessibility.  Lower operating costs are key to solving the student pilot drop-out rate, which is curtailing the successful attainment of badly needed airline pilots. The Sun Flyer 2’s $3 hourly operating costs are 10 times lower than traditional piston-engine flight trainers, with no carbon emissions and significantly reduced noise.” Such …

Pipistrel Alpha Electros Come to California

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News from Joseph Oldham, founder of the Sustainable Aviation Project, and Michael Coates, United States master distributor for Pipistrel Aircraft, heralds the largest delivery of electric training aircraft to date.  Four Pipistrel Alpha Electro Trainers showed up at Fresno, California’s Chandler Airport, all part of the Sustainable Aviation Project.  Described as “a public-private collaboration to reduce the cost of flight training through the use of all-electric general aviation airplanes,” the Project might become a role model for future electric flight training. On March 19, two 18-wheel trucks delivered two 40-foot shipping containers.  Each container carried two Alpha Electros, two chargers, and a pair of replacement battery packs for each airplane.  It took a mere two hours for a volunteer crew …

Slept in?  2018 SAS Early Bird Registration Extended!

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For those wishing you’d acted sooner, early bird registration for the 2018 Sustainable Aviation Symposium has been extended until April 6.  You can still sign up for an opportunity to hear and see the best in cutting-edge presentations by experts in aerodynamics, electric power systems, and future flight controls at the urban and national levels. We’ve added speakers since you last looked.  Ed Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing Aircraft Company, is ready to share his leadership experience on the Global Hawk project, and how Sabrewing is building a regional unmanned cargo aircraft that can lift 2 metric tons. Sabrewing is also the only American team chosen to participate in the Pacific Drone Challenge™ to fly from Japan to the Silicon Valley in …

Electric Triplanes, Personal Sky Taxis, and Urban Mobility beyond Belief

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Third Annual Sustainable Aviation Symposium again promises to be the premier gateway to innovation, mind-expanding discussions, and a glimpse into the future that this gathering will help make possible. Reserve your spot today to be on the leading edge of that future. VTOLs, ESTOLs and the Future of Sky Transit, May 11 and 12 in the beautiful Grand Ballroom of the Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay in Redwood City, will go beyond the technical to the truly world-changing. We’re going to explore some big issues: “How can we make electric aviation broadly accessible and of meaningful scale, in terms of climate change, renewable energy, urban communities, and global markets?” “How can aviation make human life better? Join us to …

Zee?  Kitty Hawk? Cora?

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Different Names, Different Configurations Zee, One of two aircraft companies funded by Google founder and CEO Larry Page, has been a highly mysterious business.  Its web pages mostly gave discrete job descriptions for those willing to sign up for a mostly undefined mission.  Occasional glimpses of patent drawings, spy shots of a multi-rotor craft in Google’s Mountain View, California parking lot came into view, and later, in-flight shots of other, different looking craft came from Hollister, California. Kitty Hawk, the other company funded by Larry Page, seems to have subsumed Zee and produced a 12-rotor, single-propeller aerial taxi about the size of a Cessna 150, but capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and seamless transitions to forward flight.  A white …

Schleicher’s Sustainable Flight for Two

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Alexander Schleicher Segelflugzeugbau (sailplane maker) has been crafting high-performance soaring craft since its inception in 1927.  Their latest creation, a two-seat, 20-meter (65.6 feet) span motorsegler, the ASG32 El, includes a 25 kilowatt synchronous motor driving a Schleicher-designed 1.55 meter (5 feet) retractable propeller.   The motor is a “home help” device, a sustainer motor to keep the ASG 32 El aloft once it is launched by a winch or by being pulled by a towplane.  The motor does not allow for self-launching.  Its low power, coupled with the airplane’s clean design, does enable a 1.3 meter-per-second (255 feet per minute) rate of climb.  The aircraft’s battery is sufficient for 20 minutes of all-out power or 100 kilometers (62 miles) …

Ehang Flies One and Two Passengers in Surprising Flight Demonstrations

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An Executive Perk Unlike Any Other Chinese firm Ehang staged a demonstration of great confidence in its 184 (one passenger, eight motors/rotors, and four arms) autonomous flight vehicle.  The CEO and all executive members of the firm, and Guangzhou government officials got rides, with many giving thumbs-up signs during their trips. Hu Huazhi, Founder and CEO of Ehang, fills us in on numbers.  Over 150 technicians and engineers worked more than 1,000 days and ran over 1,000 test flights to bring the Ehang 184 to its current level of trustworthiness.  Flights held at the Ehang test flight site in Llanyungang City show the founder using stick and rudder to control the machine.  Xiong Yifang, cofounder and CMO for Ehang, flew …

Vahana Flies!  Another Competitor in the Sky Taxi Airspace

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Zach Lovering, Project Executive for Airbus subsidiary A3 reports, “Today marks a historic day for Airbus, A³, and the Vahana team. We can now announce our successful first flight. At 8:52AM on January 31, 2018 in Pendleton, Oregon, our full-scale aircraft, dubbed Alpha One, reached a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day. In attendance was the full Vahana team, representatives from the FAA, and A³ leadership, all coming together to witness this historic accomplishment.” Hovering Autonomously With canards built in Portland, Oregon at Flighthouse Engineering LLC, the tandem-winged, eight-rotor, 745 kilogram (1,642 pound) machine has …

Ballard and Insitu Team on Fuel Cell-Driven Drone

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Another pair of heavy-duty partners, Ballard Power Systems of Canada, normally powering city buses; and Boeing, through its subsidiary Insitu, team to create and fly viable fuel cell systems for drones.  Insitu’s ScanEagle is already a world-beater for range and endurance, but it uses an internal-combustion engine (ICE), that although frugal, is not entirely green. Green Car Congress reports, “ScanEagle is 1.55 meters (5.1 feet) in length, has a wingspan of 3.11 meters (10.2 feet) and [a] maximum takeoff weight of 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs). The UAV can fly at a maximum speed of 41.2 meters per second (80 knots), reach a ceiling of 5,944 meters (19,500 feet),”  and has flown over one million mission hours, making it a leader in …