The Second SmartFlyer Challenge 2018

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

Grenchen Airport in Switzerland held the second SmartFlyer Challenge on September 1st and 2nd, with a good showing for the European – and especially the Czech electric aircraft industry.  Although smaller in numbers of airplanes than last year’s premier event, the Challenge featured a series of top-drawer presentations by industry leaders, and the viewing of a new Czechoslovokian electric motorglider. A Distinguished Visitor Interest in the event is high in the Canton of Solothurn, the administrative region in which Grenchen resides.  The head of the Department of Economics for the Canton, Brigit Wyss, reported on the event in her personal blog.  She proclaimed, “Grenchen establishes itself as the European center of electric aviation. The Smartflyer Challenge, which was a novelty a …

Elektra Solar Launches HALE with Autonomous Control

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Birgit Weißenbach of Elektra Solar GmbH and PC-Aero announced “The world’s strongest multifunctional solar-electric HALE aerial vehicle – the Elektra Two Solar: [with] “Take-off, flight and tough-down” successfully completed with [its] own autopilot system We usually think of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) aircraft as being huge, sun-eclipsing things like AeroVironment’s flying wings or Boeing’s Phantom Eye.  These require large support systems and ground crews, much like the team that chased Solar Impulse around the world. Elektra Solar GmbH, a joint venture combining PC-Aero GmbH and Elektra UAS GmbH, uses aircraft designed by Calin Gologen, head of PC-Aero, and computer technology from Dr. Ing. Habil. Konstantin Kondak.  Since October, 2009 he headed a key research area, Flying Robots at …

Liquid Batteries for Aircraft?

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

NASA is investigating “the integration of nanoelectrofuel (NEF) flow batteries with rim-driven electric motors to produce a safe, clean and quiet propulsion system for aircraft,” according to Aviation Week. That is the promise of an early-stage rechargeable liquid battery technology under investigation by NASA. The agency is researching the integration of NEF flow batteries with rim-driven electric motors to produce a safe, clean and quiet propulsion system for aircraft.  The rim-driven motors are used on boats as thrusters, and may have applications on small unmanned aircraft, although researchers have seen disappointing results so far. Tying these motors to more promising research into” non-explosive energy storage technology” is part of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Aqueous Quick-Charging Battery Integration for Flight …

VerdeGo’s Integrated Distributed Power System

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

Erik Lindbergh, grandson of the famed trans-Atlantic flight pioneer, has been paying his dues in aviation for decades, working to involve young people in career-building roles, and advocating for “green” aviation.  His latest roles have found him mentoring a group of Embry Riddle students in developing an electric HK-36 (shown last year at AirVenture), and in developing one of the over 100 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) potential sky taxis coming into public view.  That sky taxi may not make it to market, but Lindbergh and partners’ Integrated Distributed Power system is headed that way. At the 2017 AirVenture, he shared the news that he was working on something exciting.  That turned out to be the VerdeGo project, an …

Coots and e-Gulls at Oshkosh

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

Lead image shows Mark Beierle in the Soaring Gull of his design with which he accompanied Richard Steeves to Oshkosh. As many readers know, Richard Steeves, a physician and teacher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is also a builder and long-time advocate for an amphibious aircraft called the Coot.  He publishes the Coot Builders Newsletter and stages a recurring AirVenture event, a yearly get-together of fellow Coot builders.  Recently, he got into electric aviation and has built and flies Bravo, an e-Gull designed by Mark Beierle.  Richard’s newsletter now features articles about amphibians and electric flight. Mark showed up at Richard’s hangar at the Sauk Prairie Airport, a lovely stretch of green bordered by hangars and bisected by …

Rolls-Royce Rolls a Few New Approaches

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Rolls-Royce, famous for building engines such as the WWII Merlin that powered Spitfires, Mustangs, Mosquitos and Lancaster bombers, is engaged on three (or four) fronts currently, bringing hybrid electric transport to the skies. Hybrid Electric VTOL for Commuting Rolls is jumping into this crowded market segment with its concept for an electric VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) machine, powered by four electric motors on the wings and two on the tail.   With over 100 machines of varying configurations that might be the Uber rides of the future – according to Electric VTOL News, Rolls, normally a conservative company, is planning something a bit radical – even in this field. Rolls’ headline for this craft indicates a new direction for the …

Peter Sripol Groundloops – But Check Out Those Motors!

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

Peter Sripol is a high-energy model-airplane tester who put a twin-motor electric biplane together out of Home Depot/Lowes parts and flew it successfully.  That was a back of the envelope design that flew nonetheless. Peter did something a little more professional for his second go-round, crafting some professional-looking drawings.  Don’t look for any drawings for the earlier machine, he cautions, explaining there are none  He also wanted a pair of larger, slower turning propellers to move a large volume of air more slowly than the Rotomax 150s installed on the biplane.  He notes he’s looking for a lower kV (turns per Volt input). Peter works with Flite Test, a model airplane outfit seemingly willing to try anything.  That includes the …

Just for Openers – BlackFly

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A Seven-Year Stealth Project Opener doesn’t sound like the name of an airplane company, and BlackFly doesn’t sound like a very charming name for an airplane.  Maybe that’s how the developers of an eight-motor personal flying machine got away with it for so long. Beth Stanton, who writes wonderful articles about futuristic projects for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Sport Aviation magazine, alerted your editor about a project that sneaked under the radar for the past seven years. The airplane looks a bit like a single-seat Vahana, Airbus’s two-seat air taxi currently under test in eastern Oregon.  Where Vahana is just beginning flight tests, BlackFly has over 12,000 aerial miles carrying a payload in 1,400 flights.  BlackFly has gone through 40,000 …

Equator P2 Makes First Runway Hops

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Culmination of Eight Years’ Effort Tomas Brødreskift, his father and a dedicated team of volunteers have been working on a nearly no-budget, eight-year project to build a cutting-edge technology hybrid amphibian aircraft.  This past week, Equator P2’s wheels left the runway, twice on each of two days.  The team plans a full flight around the airport traffic pattern in the next few days. Although brief, the runway runs demonstrated the hand control’s proper operation, similar to the hands-only controls used on human-powered aircraft.  In that instance, the pilot’s legs are busy pedaling, obviating the need for manual operation only. In the Equator’s case, Tomas wanted simplified controls to make his aircraft a more desirable machine for future buyers.  He is, …

NASA Freely Shares X57 Lessons

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

NASA and several partner firms have been working on the X-57 Maxwell electric propulsion demonstrator for the past several years.  It hasn’t been as easy as it looked at first.  Encouragingly, NASA is sharing some of the hard lessons it has learned in the process, much like Elon Musk sharing many of his patents with the world. One of the hardest lessons involved the multiple battery packs, originally planned to be off-the-shelf units.  A December 2016 test resulted in a thermal runaway, a situation in which one cell that overheats can self-destruct and cause adjacent cells to follow suit.  This, as we’ve seen in Dreamliner incidents, can be dangerous and potentially deadly.  Such fires are exceedingly well reported, with any Tesla …