Britain Puts an Electric Nose on a New Zealand Carbon Fiber Falco

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

Richard Glassock, an Australian now working in Hungary, has been a presenter at an Electric Aircraft Symposium and received worldwide interest for his eight-passenger, open cockpit sailplane design a few years ago. He writes today to share news about a twin electric motor conversion for a Falco, the great, high-speed craft by Italian Stelio Frati. Originally designed for four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engines of up to 300 horsepower, the wood airframe was incredibly complex and required thousands of hours to construct. Signor Aldini reported taking 80 hours just to make the main spar’s jig – with four people needed to complete clamping before the glue set. With the increasing difficulty of finding aircraft-grade sitka spruce or aircraft-grade wood craftsmen, those who can replace …

EAS IX: Short Circuiting Batteries on Purpose

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

Recent news from the world of insurance claims adjustors brings us back to ways inspired battery designers might reduce or eliminate certain types of claims, and make electric flight safer. Even when international agreements don’t make progress along those lines. Insurance Claims and international Agreements With recent news of Federal Aviation Administration interest in lithium-ion batteries arising from fires caused by thermal runaways, shipments of large numbers of batteries may be banned.  Claims Journal, an insurance industry news line, quotes Angela Stubblefied, an FAA hazardous materials safety official, as saying, “’We believe the risk is immediate and urgent.’ She cited research showing the batteries can cause explosions and fires capable of destroying a plane. “FAA tests show that even a …

Biggest, Fastest 3D Printed Airplane So Far

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials 1 Comment

Unveiled at the Dubai Air Show this week, the collaborative effort between Stratasys and Aurora Flight Sciences is the largest and fastest 3D-printed aircraft so far.  With a 9-foot wingspan and weighing 30 pounds, the unmanned aerial vehicle is also the first jet aircraft to be made through additive manufacturing. 80 percent by weight was made through the advanced process, the rest consisting of the engine, electronics and tires.  Because the airplane was designed in a collaborative computer aided design process, the parts could be printed in Stratasys’ facilities even though they were designed primarily in Aurora’s Virginia headquarters. Besides saving weight, the process saves time, the complete aircraft going from initial idea to first flight in under nine months. …

Traversing Australia on Sunshine

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Solar Power 0 Comments

Australia supplies 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) of smooth road and abundant sunshine every year for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge that bisects the country north to south.  Growing in numbers annually, this year’s five-day race drew 47 teams from 25 countries, with two teams from the Netherlands,  one from the University of Michigan in the United States and one from Tokai University in Japan trading the lead almost daily and battling it out for the first four places in the Challenger Class with daily consistency. University of Delft students had their second win in two years, while rivals from the University of Twente (the Netherlands) achieved a very strong second place overall.  The University of Michigan’s team was a consistent third-place …

Turbocharged Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Engineer, a British publication, reports on a turbocharger for fuel cells.  Because a fuel cell is a cross between a combustion engine and an electric motor, the concept of pushing extra air through the fuel cell to increase power is similar to that of turbocharging a regular two- or four-stroke engine.  The publication says this could double the output of a hydrogen fuel cell. Like other combustion engines, a fuel cell can be limited by the airflow entering, that supply limiting their ability to release positively-charged hydrogen ions. Bryn Richards, CEO of Aeristech, explains, “Our proprietary high speed motor and control technology allows us to deliver air at a much higher pressure [than existing systems].  No other motor control …

EAS IX: Neil Johnson of Navitas on Battery Safety

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

Neil Johnson of the Navitas Systems Advanced Solutions Group gave the gathering at the ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium an overview on battery reserve limits and gauging, and the methods necessary to address the different failure modes for lithium batteries, all of which could be problematic for electric aircraft. Navitas includes some legacy technology adapted from 123 Systems, typically 18650 format batteries, an 18-millimeter by 65-millimeter cylinder with active materials separated by a dialectric separator material in a “Tootsie Roll” configuration.  Some of the chemistries involved were developed for Formula 1 racers, and according to a talk given by Bill Dube’ and Eva Håkansson, are considerably more powerful than “conventional” lithium cells. According to Neil, the five billion cells out there now …

First Seeo, Now Sakti3

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

Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo Inc. is followed within seven weeks by news that an innovator in another area has acquired a battery developer. Electric-vehiclenews.com announced that “Dyson, the U.K. company famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners, has acquired Michigan-based solid-state battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million and announced plans to build an important $1 billion battery factory to mass produce the next generation battery technology.” The report noted this was the second recent purchase of a promising start-up company by a larger, richer firm.  Bosch acquired Seeo Inc. to benefit from its solid-state technology, which like most solid-state batteries would, among other benefits, reduce or eliminate fire hazards – something brought to the fore by recent FAA rulings on shipping of lithium …

EAS IX: David Calley’s Innovative Design and Use of Electric Motors

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

David Calley is  member of the CAFE Foundation Advisory Board, with a great deal of technical expertise to offer.  His small wind turbine sold over 150,000 units.  His patented design for the TrailerTail® increases fuel economy on semi-trucks and trailers by 5.4 percent at 65 miles per hour, according to SAE tests.  Last year at EAS VIII, he showed the potential for small motors with incredible torque that could power Sky Taxis. At this year’s EAS IX he described, in depth, the type of motor design he has been developing to power things like his three-wheel electric/pedal-powered commuter vehicle and landing-gear wheels on Sky Taxis and even rocket fuel pumps. He asked the not-too-rhetorical questions, “How high can electric motor …

EAS IX: Tyler MacCready on Swarm Science

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of your editor’s favorite books is An Exaltation of Larks, James Lipton’s compilation of venereal terms (not what you think) for plurals of animals.  Squires who aspired to become knights had to learn over 100 such terms, according to Sir Walter Scott.  Terms of venery (references to animal flesh) include a school of fish, a litter of puppies, and a nest of vipers (going back to at least the King James version of St. Paul’s words). One lesser known term, a murmuration of starlings, relates to Tyler MacCready’s talk on how control of the Future Crowded Skies at EAS IX might mimic the flocks of birds we see swarming and precipitously changing directions in swooping formations. Obviously, the numbers …

Snow White – an Electric Flying Wing or a Lifting Body?

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Klaus Burkhard publishes a wonderful web site and blog on ultralight sailplanes, with special attention to the Banjo sailplane, one of which he owns and flies.  His interest in other craft is broad, though, and he recently shared news of a flying wing sailplane that can be electrically powered.  Its designer and builder, Dr. Andre’s Chavarria-Krauser explains: “Schneewittchen (Snow White) is designed to fulfill the requirements of LTF-L, a class of very light airplanes with up to 120 [kilograms] (264 pounds – 10 more than U. S. Part 103 limits) empty weight. The requirements are quiet stringent, including not only the extremely low empty weight, but also a very low stall speed below 55 km/h (corresponds to 30 [knots] or 34 MPH).”   The …