Schleicher’s Sustainable Flight for Two

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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) …

Battery Startup Cuberg Receives Funding from Boeing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Cuberg, a battery startup “Founded based on graduate research work in the materials science department at Stanford,” includes individuals who worked with Yi Cui at the school.  They promote their safe electrolyte as a key element in their new battery.  “Our highly stable proprietary electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and lithium metal anodes in a safe and reliable format.” Their video shows the relative safety of that premise.  It starts, though, with a quick review of their manufacturing techniques, which are similar to standard methods used in most batteries. The team, headed by Richard Wang, “Entrepreneur and Battery Scientist,” includes co-founder Mauro Pasta, an Associate Professor at Oxford University.  His Linked In profile includes this note: “Cuberg is …

When You Wake Up Hungry – Fly to the Bakery!

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Electric-Flight.eu reports on three Germans who made a bathtub fly – and used it to fetch pastries.  As the website reports, “The Real Life Guys” are two Darmstadt students and one DB train attendant who shook up the media last week . They connected a bathtub with an aluminum scaffolding and six 9.6 [kilowatt] motors (€1 065 or about $1,191[each]) from the model building sector to 42-Volt batteries and blew it up.”  “Blew it up” means lifting it skyward on the power of what look like six Hacker model airplane motors, capable of putting out 15 kilowatts (20.1 hp) each for 15 seconds.  The 9.6 kW (12.9 hp) output cited in the Electric-Flight article seems realistic for sustained output, and …

China Updates, Increases Range for RX1E-A

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

China Global Television Network, or CGTN, reports on an updated version of an electric airplane that first took flight in 2015.  The original RX1E could fly for 45 minutes on its battery pack, limiting its utility.  The RX1E-A’s six lithium battery packs can keep the new machine in the air for up to two hours and achieve a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour (99.4 mph).  This type of performance makes it more suitable for training and cross-country flights. Similar to a long-winged version of Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro Trainer, soon to be produced in China, the RX1E-A grosses out at 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), suitable for most Light Sport Aircraft regulations.  It will be interesting to see if production …

Too Late for Boxing Day*, Ehang Delivers the Goods

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Broadcast live on December 24, this demonstration of the eHang 184 is, interestingly, an English-language presentation, with a lot of English names floating about. Someone named Mike shows off the Ehang 184 in this Christmas-related special.  His friend Miranda snugs herself into the compact passenger compartment, tries on the safety harnesses, and deplanes before committing aviation.  The video is a sales pitch for the drone manufacturer – actually more of a long wind-up before a pitch into the air.  Mike takes us through a tutorial on the craft, which seats one passenger and has eight propellers that are mounted on four arms (one-eight-four, or 184). The rather ungainly entrance and exit of the petite young woman suggests possible improvements eHang’s designers …

Airbus, Williams Team to Expand Zephyr Program

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

What’s the HAPS, Guys? Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering, two heavy hitters with the world’s largest commercial airliner and the world’s fastest formula electric cars, are collaborating on making a light, slow airplane stay up indefinitely.  Their memorandum of understanding (MOU) seeks to integrate Williams’ demonstrated abilities with “ultra-lightweight materials, battery technologies and electrical cell chemistries… in… Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program.” Airbus Defense and Space has worked with Sion Power Corporation since 2015 to use Sion’s proprietary lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) batteries for use in Airbus’ Zephyr aircraft.  The current Zephyr S is the latest iteration of a series of solar-powered, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that will fly at 65,000 feet for months at a time. High Over Dubai …

Three-in-One Device Stores Energy, Makes Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

UCLA researchers Richard Kaner and Maher El-Kady, “Have designed a device that can use solar energy to inexpensively and efficiently create and store energy, which could be used to power electronic devices, and to create hydrogen fuel for eco-friendly cars.”  Kaner and El-Kady have devised many low-budget approaches to capturing and exploiting energy, such as their method of “burning” supercapacitors on a personal computer DVD.  Their newest accomplishment, according to Kaner, “Could dramatically lower the cost of hydrogen cars.” It would be useful in urban or rural areas, or even on remote battlefields, giving users the ability to make both electricity and fuel from the same device. In cities, it could store surplus energy from electrical grids, and in more …

Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Siemens Team Up on Hybrid Airliner

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

As many of your editor’s friends know, he is often lured to trolling the tabloids, looking for juicy bits about the royal family or Hollywood royalty.  Recently, while perusing the Daily Mail* for news of the upcoming Harry/Meaghan nuptials, he came across the big-headline news that three European power players – Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and Siemens, are collaborating on creating a testbed for a hybrid power system. The trio will take a Bae 146 four-engine regional jet, convert it to a hybrid demonstrator by 2020, and have a production plane in place by 2030.  The high-wing airplane has four turbofans in place now, but the partners will replace one with a Siemens two-megawatt electric motor powered by a Rolls-Royce two-megawatt generator …

Two Battery Fires in Self-Launching Sailplanes

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Klaus Burhard publishes a wonderful news and blog site promoting ultralight sailplanes.  His German site has been the source for many blog entries by yours truly, and the latest items from Klaus are of concern to anyone involved with electric aircraft. He has reported in the last week on a disturbing incident with a UK-based HPH glass-wing 304eS/Shark FES “self-starter,” or self-launching sailplane.  The airplane is a standard-class 15 meter (49.2 feet) wingspan plane.  As seen in the video below, The FES (Front Electric Sustainer) motor on the nose swings a propeller which folds into the front contours of the sailplane when not powering the plane.  When a pilot engages power, the rotation of the motor pushes the propeller blades …

Fisker’s Plans for Cars and Patents for Solid-State Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Is there a Fisker battery in the future of electric vehicles?  The latest proclamations from Henrik Fisker indicate he is ready to launch a lovely four-seat car for CES 2018, and that it will have LG Chem batteries capable of powering the vehicle for 400 miles.  Charging the batteries for nine minutes will add 125 miles range.  That’s definitely competitive, but Fisker promises more for a future EMotion supercar. Fisker claims that machine will have newly-patented solid-state batteries that charge in a minute, have 2.5 times the energy density of currently available lithium batteries, and will be far cheaper to manufacture than today’s cells.  That’s in 2023, five years out. Five Years Out “Five years out” has been the refrain …