Will Dubai Beat Everyone to Jetson World?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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, …

Gleaning the Forests for Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three congresspeople flew on wood-waste fumes this week, aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 on its way from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) to Washington, DC.  It was the first commercial flight to “to be powered by a blend of renewable jet fuel made from forest residuals.” Waste Products Replace Fossil Fuels Alaska, Boeing, and SEATAC have partnered on including biofuels in the mix since early 2015, as reported here.  Later that year, United made flights out of Los Angeles International (LAX) using a blend of fossil-based jet fuel and biofuels made from farm and municipal waste.  Keeping waste out of landfills and producing a lower carbon-footprint fuel has several benefits.  In the case of forest waste, those branches, limbs and …

Pipistrel, Sino GA Sign Memorandum of Agreement

Dean Sigler Announcements, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

China has over one billion, four hundred million people.  Slovenia has a little over two million.  This population disparity has not kept Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovscina and Chinese company Sino GA Group Co. from signing a Memorandum of Understanding for a long-term joint-venture in the field of light and general aviation in the regions of China, East Asian countries and the Asian Pacific region. Pipistrel, led by General Manager Ivo Boscarol, has built many airplanes in its 27-year history (including over 800 of its Sinus/Virus series), and earned plaudits for its clean manufacturing and ethical management.  It has led in development of electric motorgliders, an electric training aircraft, and a high-performance hybrid cruiser.  It won the Green Flight Challenge in 2011 …

Brian Carpenter’s EMG-6 Webinar

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Brian Carpenter, designer of the EMG-6 motorglider which he’s shown over the last several years at AirVenture, will stage a webinar to discuss “the design and development concepts of this new electric motorglider.”  His talk will have special “Emphasis on the integration of the electric propulsion concepts that he believes will change the face of the light aircraft and ultralight industry.” Your editor has visited Brian’s Corning, California workshop several times, and always found new and innovative approaches to producing a low-cost, self-launching motorglider, with several ways to simplify construction and to power the craft.  It will be interesting to see progress on the newest motor (apparently still under development) Brian has presented on his web site. He has been …

Airbus and Local Motors Team up For Cargo Drone Competition

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Richard Glassock, a long-time contributor to the blog and now a Research Fellow in Hybrid Propulsion Systems for Aircraft at the Institute for Aerospace Technology, the University of Nottingham, England, shared this news about an Airbus-sponsored contest for cargo drone designs. Local Motors, well known for its 3D-printed automobiles, and Airbus Group, well known for its range of commercial and military aircraft, just completed a design contest that drew 425 entries.  Rewards were significant for the top three places in the competition, with a main award First Place prize of $50,000, a trip to the Farnborough Airshow in England, and a “1-of-a-kind Cargo Drone Flight Jacket with personalized patch.”  Second place earned the winner $20,000 and third place $10,000, with …

Siemens 260 kW Motor First Flight, and a Siemens at the 2016 SAS

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Siemens Motors announced the first public flight of their SP260D motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft – although the motor had made its maiden, but not so public, flight on June 24.  Putting out 260 kilowatts (348.5 horsepower) in near silence according to Siemens, the motor will certainly be capable of putting the Extra through its paces. The motor weighs only 50 kilograms (110 pounds), and with its Siemens inverter adds little weight to the nose of the Extra.  Pipistrel-designed battery packs grouped behind it push the power-pack weight toward the center of gravity, which should enhance handling qualities. As Electronics Weekly reports, “Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminum ‘end shield’, for example, …