Yuneec Adds to Airplane, Motor Lineup

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Shanghai-based Yuneec, already promoting a line of electric paramotors, an electric trike, the two-seat E430, unveiled at last year’s AirVenture, and a series of motor/controller/battery combinations, has added to their offerings at AirVenture 2010.  New craft include two aircraft, the Apis 2 and Viva from Martin Wezel Flugzeugtechnik, a German designer and purveyor of sailplanes and light sport aircraft.   The Apis 2 is a derivation of the Silent electric sailplane, and in this application will be powered by a Yuneec motor system.  The Viva, a two-seat motorglider, was designed originally for an HKS-700E two-cylinder engine of about 60 horsepower, and will be converted, like the Apis, to Yuneec power. Spanning 15 meters (49.2 feet), the Apis 2 has a best lift-to-drag …

Bye Energy, Cessna Move Toward the Electric 172

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

In a press release datelined Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 26, Cessna Aircraft Company announced, “That it is collaborating with Bye Energy, Inc., an integrator of clean, alternative energy technologies for business and general aviation aircraft, to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a Cessna 172 proof of concept (POC) aircraft.”  Bye Energy is a Colorado-based aerospace company, and its CEO, George Bye, presented the Green Flight Project, his vision of the electric 172 at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California on April 24.  The fact that Cessna would agree to such collaboration is a significant step, and a verification of the market research Bye and his group have done.  Possibly fueled by the fuel question – where …

Two Great (Mostly) Gasless Road Trips

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

A group of Italian engineers is embarking on a 13,000 kilometer (8,000 mile) road trip from Italy to Shanghai, China, retracing Marco Polo’s route.  The vehicles are central to this adventure, though – two pairs of bright orange Piaggio Porter vans, (mostly) driverless and running on stored electricity and sunlight.  With sensors and cameras nestled under their solar panel roof racks and control by a Vislab system, the two pairs of vehicles will be as autonomous as possible, even though a human will be in the driver’s seat to take over in an emergency and another technician will be on board to help with repairs.   Another pair of guide vehicles will lead the way for each pair of autonomous vehicles, and several other support …

AirVenture 2010 World Symposium At Eagle Hangar

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

An indication of the enthusiasm people are showing for the potential of electric flight, tickets are going fast for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2010 World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, part of AirVenture 2010.   The WSEA will be held on Friday July 30 on the Eagle Hangar main stage. The morning session, titled, “The Dream of Flight,” runs from 9 a.m. to Noon.  The lunch session, “The Voice of Experience: Electric Aircraft Builders,” runs from Noon to1:30 p.m., and the afternoon session, “Putting Vision to Practice,” runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. According to the EAA, “Among the confirmed participants for the symposium are FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt; Electric Aircraft Corporation founder Randall Fishman; Yuneec founder Tian Yu; Sonex Aircraft founder John Monnett; …

Solar Cells Can Never Be Too Thin

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

AirVenture’s unofficial prize for the most popular aircraft at each year’s fly in – the brown grass award, named for the trampled turf around the much-thronged craft, had a CAFE Foundation equivalent at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium.  That would be the crumpled carpet prize for the circles around Dr. Joseph (Joe) Armstrong, Chief Technical Officer for Ascent Solar, a Thornton, Colorado-based firm.  Wearing a bandolier-like ribbon of extremely thin, flexible solar cells at the end of his talk, he was surrounded by break-takers eager to get a closer look at his impressive array of photovoltaics.  Commercial production modules of the copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) cells have been verified at an industry-high10.5-percent efficiency by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  The …

QinetiQ Lands After 14 Days Aloft

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QinetiQ, a British aerospace manufacturer, launched its unmanned, solar-powered twin-motored aircaft from the Yuma, Arizona Proving Grounds on July 9, 2010 and landed it today, July 24. According to QinetiQ’s press release, ” Zephyr successfully landed after 14 days (336 hours) and 21 minutes flying over Arizona and is now awaiting official confirmation of its world record status.” “An official from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the world air sports federation, has been monitoring progress at the Yuma Proving Ground and when Zephyr is back on the ground he looks set to be able to confirm a number of new world records. This includes quadrupling its own unofficial world record for longest duration unmanned flight (82 hours, 37 minutes set in 2008) …

QinetiQ Zephyr Breaks Official Record for Solar-Powered Endurance

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

According to BBC News and GlobalFlight.com, QinetiQ’s Zephyr, a 22.5 meter (72 feet) unmanned, solar-powered aircraft has been in the air for more than a week over the Yuma, Arizona Proving Grounds, and program managers intend to keep it there for a total time of at least fourteen days.  Having flown since 6:40 a.m. July 9, its endurance is now four times that of any other unmanned aerial vehicle.   A US Global Hawk holds the current official world endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of 30 hours, 24 minutes.  Zephyr’s record is being certified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world air sports federation. Jon Saltmarsh, Zephyr’s project manager, says the craft, “Is basically the first ‘eternal aircraft,’”  a name once given to …

Hail HALE: Boeing’s “Flying Bowling Pin”

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On July 12, at its St. Louis, Missouri plant, Boeing rolled out its Phantom Eye high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft.  Various members of the press and several bloggers took an opportunity to pelt the new plane with sobriquets such as, “flying bowling pin,” or “fat kid,”  failing to understand the aerodynamic advantages of the laminar flow fuselage.  A quick study of CAFE Foundation references would correct these reporters’ initial impressions. Notwithstanding the apparently controversial aesthetics of the 150-foot span craft, the exciting news for green aviation enthusiasts is its power system – a pair of 15o-horsepower, 2.3 liter Ford Duratec engines, turbocharged and fueled by a “breakthrough” liquid hydrogen system.  The long wings, drooping in the press photos, will …

Solar Impulse Overnighter: 26 Hours Nine Minutes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Andre’ Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the Solar Impulse project, landed this morning at 9:00 a.m. (local tme) in Payerne, Switzerland, having completed the first-ever night flight on battery energy stored during the previous day through the craft’s solar cells.  Taking off at 6:51 a.m. July 7, Borschberg flew the 64-meter span, four-motor airplane in large patterns around the area, gaining altitude to a height of 8,564 meters (27,404 feet) above sea level and charging the batteries – all while running the motors at climb power. As night fell, he glided to preserve the stored power, ran the motors as needed to maintain altitude, and landed with a small reserve.  This successful demonstration of being able to run the motors on …

Solar Impulse Collecting Rays for Night Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Its telemetry problems resolved, Solar Impulse HB-SIA took off at 6:51 a.m., Payerne, Switzerland time, July 7, for a day of collecting sunlight in its huge array of solar cells.  If Andre’ Borschberg, CEO and cofounder of the project, decides that enough electricity has coursed through the giant craft’s wings to charge the batteries sufficiently, he will attempt to keep flying through the night. The Solar Impulse Project notes the following in today’s press release.  “The whole day long, up to about 19:30 (7:30 p.m., Payerne time), the prototype will be slowly ascending to an altitude of 8,500 metres, while at the same time charging its batteries in preparation for the night flight. When the sun’s rays stop being strong …