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, …

Gleaning the Forests for Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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, …

Needed: a Four-Seat Light Airplane for Electrifying Research Project

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

We’d all love to have a hybrid electric airplane – inexpensive to fly with great range and guilt-free airport hamburgers. Jeffrey Engler, who heads an innovative project devoted to green aviation, explains: “Our plan is to convert a Piper Cherokee, Cessna 172, or similar light four-seater to electric hybrid power.  The airplane should be airworthy with a serviceable engine and avionics.  We don’t want a hangar queen or an airport relic – just a flyable, reasonable example at a reasonable price.” Aeronautics students at Purdue University, as part of their graduate work, are backing this program.  Jeffrey reports, “The rock stars at Purdue presented their first interim report yesterday, including a background on electric aviation and their initial evaluation of the Cherokee retrofit.  It’s …

Tomas Brødreskift to Appear at SA Symposium

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

With the upcoming Sustainable Aviation Symposium (May 6-7, 2016) already packed with stellar presenters, we are excited to have Tomas Brødreskift join the faculty.  An industrial designer whose skills in product and process design, project management, ergonomics, and visual and CAD design have led and enabled him to bring his amphibious Equator P2 Xcursion to life will share his expertise and experiences with attendees at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay. Tomas’ demonstrated skills in designing everything from Hardrocx mountain bikes to an array of consumer goods have helped prepare him to guide the Xcursion from concept to final product.  Since he has overseen every step of the design/build process, the airplane is a reflection of its unique specification and its …

The Sustainable Aviation Symposium – A Wealth of Knowledge

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Coming May 6th and 7th, the first-ever Sustainable Aviation Symposium will take place at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel. This year’s presenters include an international array of accomplished talent in aerodynamics, power, and energy storage, with a few surprises on tap.  Keynote speakers include: NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell PADA Trophy winner and Pipistrel Designer Dr. Tine Tomazic Dr. Joseph Kallo of the DLR (Germany’s NASA) Lehigh University’s Dr. Justin Jaworski Pelican Aero Group’s Philip Barnes Additional presentations include Nobel Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Eric Raymond, the highest time solar pilot in the world (his latest 6-seat solar aircraft pictured above); Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University with the latest in battery …

Caging Silicon Anodes with Graphene

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University has expanded the idea of “battery” to include conductive ink on paper, fruit-like clusters of energy-storing capsules, and now, nano-sized graphene cages in which the energy can romp like a hamster in a plastic ball.  He will be on hand at this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium on May 6, at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay hotel. His pioneering work with silicon as an electrode material goes back at least ten years, and has focused on overcoming silicon’s two major problems in battery use.  Silicon expands and begins breaking down during repeated charge-discharge cycles.  It reacts with battery electrolyte to form a coating that progressively destroys performance.  The combination of crumbling and coating finally makes the …