Project ATOS Wing Explores Ultralight Electric Soaring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Its translucent wing shimmering on the wall above Hall A7 at Friedrichshafen’s 2018 Aero Expo, A-I-R’s ATOS Wing commanded the attention of show goers.  A-I-R (Aeronautic Innovation Rühle & Co GmbH) produces a line of ultralight hang gliders and electrically-powered craft based on a common wing design modified for different weight and performance requirements.  Note the large wing at about 35 seconds into this perambulation around Hall A7, along with tantalizing glimpses of the other displays that we will cover in the near future. Although ethereal in appearance, ATOS wings can carry significant loads compared to their minimal weight.  The 50 kilogram (110 pound) VRS 280, for instance, can carry an all-up weight of 330 kilograms (726 pounds), an impressive …

Comco Ikarus Flies on Electric Power

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Relatively unknown to American pilots, Germany’s largest ultralight aircraft manufacturer, Comco Ikarus in Mengen, was able to announce the first flight of its successful two- seater C42 / CS as an electric version just before the start of AERO, the annual aircraft exposition in Friedrichshafen. Comco’s C42 CS forms the basis for the electric version.  The avgas-powered version flies with either an 80-horsepower or 100-horsepower Rotax engine, the electric version with a 32-kilowatt (50 horsepower) electric motor from Geiger Engineering.  Geiger’s power package includes their dedicated controller, control lever, and monitoring instrument.  Four battery packs, 15 kilograms (33 pounds) each, power the prototype, but production versions will have six packs, enabling flight times of up to 90 minutes. The first electric …

Sunflyer Takes to the Air

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Following assorted powerplant and taxi texts, the prototype Sun Flyer 2 prototype took to the air over Centennial Airport (KAPA) south of Denver, Colorado.  Further tests will expand speed, altitude, and endurance capabilities, according to Bye Aerospace. George Bye, Founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, enthused, “We are excited about the future and the potential the Sun Flyer family of aircraft has to revolutionize general aviation, providing improved affordability and accessibility.  Lower operating costs are key to solving the student pilot drop-out rate, which is curtailing the successful attainment of badly needed airline pilots. The Sun Flyer 2’s $3 hourly operating costs are 10 times lower than traditional piston-engine flight trainers, with no carbon emissions and significantly reduced noise.” Such …

The Coming Golden Age of Electric Air Races?

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

An Electric Great Air Race 100 years ago, a great air race – “The Great Air Race” – in fact, was held with competitors flying from Great Britain to the Northern Territories of Australia.  Crews had 30 days to make the trip, and considering the reliability of engines at that time and the primitive nature of aerial navigation, very little time to relax. Of the six teams that entered, only two made it, three crashing (two fatally) and a fourth team being imprisoned in Yugoslavia as suspected Bolsheviks.  Only two teams finished, and only one received the 10,000 Pound Sterling prize (about 544,577 pounds today – over $775,000), enough to cause the six crews to accept the high risk  involved. …

Pipistrel Alpha Electros Come to California

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

News from Joseph Oldham, founder of the Sustainable Aviation Project, and Michael Coates, United States master distributor for Pipistrel Aircraft, heralds the largest delivery of electric training aircraft to date.  Four Pipistrel Alpha Electro Trainers showed up at Fresno, California’s Chandler Airport, all part of the Sustainable Aviation Project.  Described as “a public-private collaboration to reduce the cost of flight training through the use of all-electric general aviation airplanes,” the Project might become a role model for future electric flight training. On March 19, two 18-wheel trucks delivered two 40-foot shipping containers.  Each container carried two Alpha Electros, two chargers, and a pair of replacement battery packs for each airplane.  It took a mere two hours for a volunteer crew …

Swiss Movements – aEro 1 and aEro 2

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

Electric Flying Inspires Bigger Plans Dufour Aerospace, based in Visp, Switzerland, and within sight of the Matterhorn, has been flying aEro 1, a Silence Twister-based electric aerobatic craft, for the last two years.  Read the pilot report on the surprising performance and the quiet flight experience in the aEro 1 to get some idea of how future flight will be a welcome relief from the noisy today’s noisy passage.  “Electric motors are so incredibly efficient. They have a huge torque and you will take off much faster than with regular engines. Our aEro 1 takes off after 70 meters of runway – at 2/3 of the available power. “The first real takeoff and flight afterwards was really mindblowing. I set …

From Anime to Low-Powered Electric Flight

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

A team in Japan has flown a low-power electric canard motorglider, and is now building a more conventional, lightweight electric aircraft.  Members of Aircraft Olympos Ltd. on the large island of Hokaido have been instrumental in building and flying everything from a jet inspired by one of Hayoa Miyazaki’s anime productions (Nausicaa (Dove) Of The Valley Of The Wind – 1984) to some fascinating electric aircraft. Brian Carpenter met Tota Ueno, a worker on the project, and visitor at one of Brian’s maintenance classes in Corning, California.  Brian was selected by the National General Aviation Awards Committee as the recipient of the 2017 National Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year Award.  His classes in ultralight aircraft maintenance and two-stroke …

Forget the Airborne Pizza!  Chip Yates Sends 700 Pounds!

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

Recent news shows aerial drone delivery of small packages from an Amazon Warehouse or pizza from the nearest Dominos, but such packages are lightweight trifles compared to the 700 pounds Chip Yates promises to drop from the sky. Such loads are necessary in conflict and disaster areas, where material heavy enough to hold off an enemy or feed hordes of refugees is essential.  Fifty-kilogram sacks of rice or electric generators are necessary for survival, and a heavy-duty delivery system will almost always come in handy. Chip, head of Yates Electrospace, has gone over 200 mph on an electric motorcycle, taken the UQM motor from that machine, and powered his Long-ESA aircraft to also top 200 mph.  As Aviation Week and …

Starling Jet Comes in Three Sizes

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

 The Starling Jet now joins electric or hybrid flying commuter craft from sources all over the world. A Middle-East backed, London-based project, the Starling Jet is swoopy and high-winged, and comes in three sizes with different missions. The Commuter Craft Trifecta Time, a most precious commodity, is the major selling point for most of these sky taxis.  Saving an executive’s schedule enhances productivity, whether it’s whisking a CEO over the traffic jams in Dallas or Dubai.  For many similar machines, the impetus is to democratize the flight experience, offering many an Uber-like experience at Uber-like prices.  Samad Aerospace, creator the Starlings, is looking toward a more exclusive market. All such craft promise the convenience of point-to-point transportation, foregoing intermediate shuttle …

Schleicher’s Sustainable Flight for Two

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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) …