Pipistrel Velis: Part of an Electric Heritage

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The Pipistrel Velis is the culmination of 13 years of electric aircraft development and the first to gain certification by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on June 10. Pipistrel has been in the electric airplane business since 2007 when it announced the Taurus Electro motorglider, which entered service in 2011.  That aircraft went through several iterations, and is still part of the Pipistrel lineup of electric planes, which includes the Alpha Electro Trainer, the Panthera Hybrid, and the new Velis. Alpha Electro Trainer in SoCal An electric version of the Alpha Trainer, the Electro has been in production since 2015.  With an empty weight of 615 pounds (279 kg) and a maximum take-off weight of 1,212 pounds (550 …

Hydrogen Malibu’s on Two Continents

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Tuesday, June 23, ZeroAvia flew a hydrogen-powered Piper Malibu from Cranfield Airport in England., eight time zones from ZeroAvia’s home base in Hollister, California. Flown by Andrew Dixon, that and a subsequent flight gained extra publicity for “a James Bond stunt pilot*” helming the first electric aircraft capable of carrying passengers from a United Kingdom airport.  Dixon reported that the battery-powered Piper Malibu needed 10 per cent less distance for take-off and climbed faster than normal. The Airplane Was the Real Star Reflecting the high-flying status of the test pilot, the airplane, part of a government-funded “HyFlyer” project, flew two missions on two days of 15 and 25 minutes each.  Its two automotive-based batteries easily carried the six-passenger aircraft on …

John Langford’s New Direction

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John Langford has been a leading exponent of new directions in aeronautical technology.  From his work as project manager with MIT’s human-powered Daedalus project to his executive leadership with Aurora Technologies, he has crafted electric, autonomous, and downright astonishing vehicles.   The following video is long, but insightful and exciting.   We see Langford in several early scenes. Having seen Daedalus conquer the Sea of Crete like the mythical first airman, Langford spread his reach into ever more technologically complex problems.  His resume is deceptively short, since he’s held only two jobs since leaving college.  His LinkedIn bio is brief, but telling. “John Langford is the founder and CEO of Electra.aero, a startup developing hybrid electric aircraft for regional mobility. He founded …

Bye Announces Progress, Purchases, Personnel

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Ms. Diane Simard, Executive Vice President and board member at Bye Aerospace, has brought several major pieces of news regarding the company’s progress, client purchases and  new personnel to your editor’s attention.  There are even plaudits for the firm and its founder. Progress Bye Aerospace explains an important facet of new aircraft development, especially for one with a totally new technology.  “A critical design review (“CDR”) is a multi-disciplined technical review to ensure that each eFlyer 2 primary system can proceed into fabrication, demonstration and test. The CDR review also meets the FAA 14 CFR 23 Amendment 64 certification standards and performance requirements within the eFlyer 2 cost, schedule and safety criteria.” George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, expressed …

Pipistrel’s Plans Evolve in Exciting Ways

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In its 30th year, Pipistrel is making many changes, from a crisp new logo to new emphases and technologies.  Its 801, intended for Uber’s Urban Air Mobility program, will segue into a cargo version and return later after the firm gains experience with deliveries.  Meanwhile, Pipistrel will concentrate on developing a 19-seat, 300-mile range regional airliner while growing its global outreach for personal aircraft.  Pipistrel is evolving and flourishing in exciting new ways. From Hang Gliders to Global Reach Ivo Boscarol, founder, owner and president of Pipistrel companies, CEO of Pipistrel d.o.o. Shares a look at his firm’s three-decade history and plans for the near future. Pipistrel reports in its newsletter, “The information that Pipistrel is running a program developing …

VoltAero Has Ambitious Plans

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VoltAero is a small French company that might succeed in electric flight where bigger firms have failed.  Its hybrid-electric system marks an innovative path to quiet flight. Airbus ventured into electric aviation with a four-motor conversion of the Colomban cri-Cri in 2010 and a clean-sheet craft, the E-Fan, a sleek, essentially ducted fan two-seater in 2015.  Initially big plans for production of two and four seat variants bloomed – then withered.  Airbus dropped plans for the personal electric airplane market and instead concentrated on at least three versions of Urban Air Mobility devices and a hybrid-electric demonstrator based on a BAE 146 airliner.  This last project, the E-Fan X, was canceled recently.  Jean Botti was Chief Technology Officer for Airbus, …

eHang Flies for Real at Kitty Hawk

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eHang has been busy over the past year, with demonstration flights worldwide, and last week in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina – the birthplace of aviation. Not a Long Commute In March, 2019, EHang founder, Mr. Hu Huazhi commuted via EHang AAV (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) in Guangzhou, China.  As you can clearly see, it’s not a long commute, but a demonstration  of the faith the founder and others have in the machine.  As reported here two years ago, the company flew its entire executive group and and Guangshou city officials in their two-seat machines.  eHang reports on their extensive testing and demonstration flights: “To date, EHang has safely conducted over two thousand trial flights in the United States, China, Austria, the …

Bye Aerospace Expands Its Horizons

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Bye Aerospace has been making inroads into both battery development and flight training with partners on an international scale.  Alliance with Oxis Energy As reported in July, Bye Aerospace and OXIS Energy announced a collaborative program to achieve a 50-to 100-percent increase in flight time from a single charge compared to existing batteries.  On its web site, OXIS reveals that it is, “…developing a <30 kWh battery system integrated with an Aviation Battery Management System for a two-seater electric passenger aircraft.”  The partnership, “…seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on future Bye Aerospace eAircraft,” with cells exceeding 500 Watt-hours per kilogram at 20 Amp-hour capacity.  This will lead to weight reduction …

Greeting the New Year with Hope

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Two Videos to Ponder We’re not there yet, in the land of flying cars and even motorcycles.  But we do have some pretty good images of where we are and where we might be headed.   CNBC produced some pretty thoughtful and well-researched pieces on a major problem plaguing all of us who live within bumper distance of one another – and some plausible solutions.  Both videos touch on urban air mobility. How Much Do Traffic Jams Cost the U. S. Economy? Gridlock, traffic jams and delay – they all frustrate us daily if we live in a big city.  They take away from family time, pollute the air, and drive us to distraction.  This video ends with an optimistic take …

Joby and Uber Elevate Form Partnership

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In a new partnership agreement, Uber Elevate recently added Joby Aviation to its stable of aircraft companies which are to supply craft for its Urban Air Mobility program.  Joby builds electric motors, 12 of which line the wing of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, with two larger motors for forward thrust when the small units are shut down. This inventory of electric motors on the NASA project gives Joby a certain entrée to interest from the Urban Air Mobility movement, and it’s received that interest from Uber.  Well financed in its own right, Joby has committed to meeting Uber’s desire to have operating sky taxis in the air by 2023, as reported by Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge. We have written …