Airbus E-Fans 2.0 and 4.0 Dropped in Favor of E-Fan X

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Much like waiting for the single-person ram-jet helicopter to show up in your garage, you’ll be left hanging for a two- or four-seat Airbus e-Fan to grace your hangar.  Although not sharing the news in its “Innovation” or press release sections on its web site, Airbus has announced that it’s dropping plans to produce an E-Fan family of personal aircraft.  It will move instead into developing a larger, more powerful aircraft, the E-Fan X, that could fly within three years. Airbus started with a four-motor rendition of the Cri-Cri, four MGM Compro units twirling contra-rotating propellers and producing 60 horsepower.  Their “Innovation” program followed that with the tw0-seat E-Fan, and announced plans to build these in series at their cleverly named …

 George Bye – Electric Aerospace in Small, Medium and Large

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

George Bye has been crafting and testing electric aircraft for the last decade and now has four craft of varying size demonstrating the reach of his vision.  Bill Moore interviewed George for EVWorld.com recently.  We’ll review the airplanes with which George is involved, starting small and working up to a spectacular cross-country cruiser. Silent Falcon Although the UAV company associated with the Silent Falcon is not part of Bye Aerospace, it had its origins there.  Now located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Silent Falcon operations are overseen by John Brown, former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Bye Energy. Silent Falcon’s glider-like 14-foot wing, high efficiency airfoil, electric power and high-efficiency solar cells allow up to five-hour surveillance flights.  Its ability to …

TAG – You’re Down!

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Nailing the landing is a big test for gymnasts, birds, and in the near future – for electric commuter aircraft.  Landing in an impossibly short distance seemed like a mission only for helicopters until recently.  Fixed-wing machines seem at a disadvantage here, rotary-wing craft having the edge in being able to set down almost anywhere, and on the proverbial dime.  Brien Seeley’s TAG may make it possible for fixed-wing craft to emulate birds. Fixed-wing craft have the advantage in point-to-point speed – a big selling point for commuter craft.  High cruising speeds and short ground runs seem mutually exclusive, although new designs and inspired amateurs are showing the way to combining the best of both worlds. First, it’s apparent from …

Pop.Up – Airbus Pops Up with Another VTOL Commuter

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

What will Pop.Up next?  We’re floating away, being carried skyward by PAL-V’s, JetPack’s 12-rotor machine, e-volo’s 16-rotor design, and even Hoversurf’s four-rotor flying donor-cycle. At least a half-dozen other varieties of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) commuter machines are coming at us with bewildering speed.  If nothing else, the competing visions of future aerial transport show some kind of deeply felt need to escape the surly bonds of earth, or at least its eternal gridlock. Airbus has already played one hand, showing its cards with Silicon Valley-based A3 (A Cubed) and a vehicle looking like a combination of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell and Joby Aviation’s S2.  It pulled another card from its sleeve this week at the Geneva Auto Show, unveiling …

Hoversurf – The Russians are coming with Flying Bikes

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hoversurf, a Russian flying motorcycle, has been getting a lot of press lately.  “Looks like a hell of a ride,” trumpets TheNextWeb.  Mashable headlines, “The first manned hoverbike could finally fulfill your ‘Star Wars’ dreams,” but points out, “Those dangerous-looking propellers spinning right next to the pilot’s legs.” New Atlas (formerly Gizmag) says it is, “Equally amazing and horrifying.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztr5eyASasQ Hoversurf’s Scorpion evokes Star Wars with its clean white gloss.  But like the movie’s speeder bikes flung about by heroes and villains alike, seems equally dangerous with its wooden propellers at two different heights – ankle-biter and knee-slapper.  Protective shields theoretically will prevent slicing and dicing, and future plans call for an enclosed cabin with the occupant more secure from …

Jetpacks to VTOL Multi-Rotors

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You see a lot of articles petulantly demanding, “Dude, where’s my jetpack?” or “Where’s my flying car?”  It’s a bit like wanting a Formula 1 racer in which to commute, and fraught with similar problems.  An F1 race car, for instance, demands incredible driving skills – that’s why most F1 drivers are incredibly well compensated.  A jetpack is a very short-range machine.  Strapping one on, avoiding scorch marks on your heels and zipping even a mile or two might actually take more time than walking, or hopping on a bike. From James Bond to Civilian Use James Bond’s use of a Bell Rocket Belt to escape goons in Thunderball made it look quick, easy, and a great way to find …

Will Dubai Beat Everyone to Jetson World?

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

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 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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, …

Mike Friend’s Hybrid Electric Solution

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

Electric airplanes currently can give 15 or 20 minutes of intense aerobatics, or about an hour of more sedate cruising.  What if you had a lovely little airplane that invited flinging it about the sky, but you still wanted to visit distant places?  In 2005, Mike Friend owned a Silence Twister, a Spitfire-like single-seater registered as N787M, a nod to Mike’s employer, Boeing.  He thought about making it a hybrid craft. Waiting for Batteries An early effort around 2010 by a German company to electrify the Twister did not produce a surge of orders, and Mike presented a 2011 symposium feature on making a hybrid out of the Twister to reduce its fuel burn while retaining its frisky character.  That …