Electrified Minions of Mignet

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

In the 1930’s, Henri Mignet energized the flying world with his Pou-de-Ciel (literally, Louse of the Sky), which bore the more common and somewhat cuter appelation, “Flying Flea.” Adherents to Mignet’s “formula” of tandem wings and simplified flying controls continue to produce variants on the formula. One of the most interesting is the Pouchel, an ultralight model popular in France with over 120 plans sets sold to members of APEV (Association pour la Promotion des Echelles Volantes – Association for the Promotion of Flying Ladders), which used a commonly available aluminum ladder as its basic fuselage structure. Because of the plane’s popularity and a fear of liability suits that might ensue, the ladder manufacturer asked the organization to forego using …

Ultra in the Key of E

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Protoplane, the French manufacturer of the Ultra ultralight two-seater, has big plans for increasing the efficiency of an already efficient aircraft. Their petrol-powered, 450 kilogram (990 pound) all-up weight monoplane can cruise, according to the company, at 220 kilometers per hour (137 miles per hour) on only 12 liters (a little more than 3 U. S. gallons) per hour, achieving 43 miles per gallon.  At slower speeds, the plane can stay aloft for nine hours on its 90 liters of fuel. Protoplane hopes to market the first electric two-seater in 2010, basing the design on improvements in “weight, aerodynamic efficiency, batteries, motors and propellers.” Their web site sets forth Protoplane’s objective. “Making an electric aircraft is very difficult, because one pound …

An Understandable Passion

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

IPSA, the Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Advancees, headquartered in Paris and Toulouse, France, has a “Green” program associated with its aeronautical engineering program. Its students have designed Buselec 2, a 14.6 meter (47 feet) span, two-seater, electric-powered airplane, which will be constructed with assistance from Daniel Dalby, the originator of the Pouchelec, an electric-powered outgrowth of the Mignet tandem-wing ultralight, and Bela Nogrady, director of the Protoplane company. (More about both of these gentlemen and their creations in near-future posts.) Motor choices have not been made at this point, but Michael Dalby, head of the Mecadalby company, explains that, “One of our partners is working on a [brushless motor] especially planned for aviation.” This motor will produce at least 20 …

The Poop on the Puffin

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Under normal circumstances, this editor would never resort to scatological titles, but Mark Moore, the NASA aerospace engineer behind this fantastic flying creation calls his electric craft, “Puffin” because, according to Moore, the bird after which it is named, “Hides its poop, and we’re environmentally friendly because we essentially have no emissions.” Like the Puffin, this craft looks a bit chubby and incapable of flight on the ground, but folds its legs on liftoff, and becomes a streamlined bullet. Moore, who spoke at last year’s Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, and will return for this year’s CAFE Foundation gathering at NASA Ames Research Center in April, unveiled this concept at this year’s American Helicopter Society meeting in San Francisco. Moore …

A Dream Nearing Realization

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Certain objects stir deep feelings upon first viewing.  DESiE is one such object. Its name alphabetizes its description, as translated and explained by one of its creators, Wolfgang Liehmann.   D = doppelsitziges = double-seated E = Enten = duck/canard = tail first S = Segelflugzeug = sailplane i = mit integriertem = with integrated E = Elektroantrieb = electrically-powered engine This two-seater, electrically-powered, canard sailplane has been a labor of love, taking 13 years to reach its current stage, and projected to take another three before its first real flight.  In the meantime, diligent toil and breaks for X-Plane simulated flying are leading toward an aircraft that Wolfgang says, “Shows very satisfying behavior with respect to stall and glide properties.” …

Hear the Hum? Kitplanes Does.

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Kitplanes has an article of great interest to CAFE followers in its November issue. Dr. David Ullman, Oregon State University professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Design, was inspired by his attendance at the Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in April to write a two-part article (the finale’ to be in the December issue) about the exciting future of electric flight. The first part, “Hear the Hum?” provides an overview of what’s currently happening in electric aircraft, and includes a one-page pictorial sidbar of volt-driven flying machines at Oshkosh this year by Dave Martin. In a nod to the CAFE Foundation, it includes a concise explanation of the Aviation Green Prize.  Ullman and Martin share the belief that we will be …