The Electric-Powered Aircraft, A Sequel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

David Ullman, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, author,  and owner of his own consulting firm, Robust Decisions, has published part two of his article, “The Electric Powered Aircraft,” that first appeared in Kitplanes’ October 2009 issue (see our October 18, 2009 entry, “Hear the Hum?  Kitplanes Does”) .  You won’t have to rush to the nearest bookstore for the sequel, since this is online in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Experimenter.  A great deal of the Experimenter is fired up with speculation and skepticism about electric aircraft and their feasibility in the current issue, including an editorial by Patrick Panzera, long-time engine guru and editor of the e-zine.  A great many of the readers’ comments have a “not ready for …

An LSA With the Electric Heart of an Airliner

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC 9 Comments

Stephan Boutenko, Alternair President and founder, seeks a Light Sport Aircraft alternative, an airplane looking like an LSA, but loaded with features that will allow it to keep pace with the rapidly changing options coming to electric flight. Inspired by Yuneec’s E-430 but disappointed by its slow cruising speed, Boutenko was determined to create something more in line with LSA performance criteria. He also wanted to take advantage of the knowledge he had gained from years of experience with heavier aviation to create an integrated system that would allow flexibility and expandability in the development of his airplane. Unabashedly conventional in appearance, the low-wing, tricycle geared monoplane is conceived to make a pilot transitioning from an internal combustion powered machine …

Need Electricity? Go Fly a Kite

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

What do JoeBen Bevirt and Benjamin Franklin have in common?  They both grew up without electricity and built kites to find it.  While being without electricity was the default condition in Franklin’s day, JoeBen was raised in a hippy commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Neither man found the deprivations of his youth to be an impediment to creativity.  The phrase that keeps popping up in articles about JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby, inc. and Joby Energy, is “inveterate inventor.”  Inveterate has the sense of growing old in one’s habits, something unlikely to happen to a truly inventive soul such as JoeBen.  Deviser of a knobby-looking grip that can be fastened to almost anything, and which can hold cameras, lights, and …

Take a Powder, Get Empowered

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

Höganäs AB, a major Swedish specialist in powdered and sintered metals, has created a bicycle motor as a low cost, light weight, high performance unit for the Asian market. According to Höganäs Group CEO Alrik Danielson, “We chose the bicycle motor as a first application when introducing our new motor concept. The bicycle motor is very challenging, in terms of performance as well as cost, but we are confident that we have a unique product. It is lighter than other electric motors and in the e-bike it has a good range, up to 75 kilometres, thanks to high efficiency.” He sees the modular design as being adaptable to other applications, such as “scooters, other light weight electric vehicles, pumps, fans …

Kitplanes Covers EAS IV

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Kitplanes, and its on-line sister, AVweb, covered the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium and generated a vido of the event, which includes a thoughtful interview with Dr. Brien Seeley, CAFE Foundation president. Expect to see more media coverage of CAFE Events as the Green Flight Challenge becomes a major aviation event in 2011.

Synergy and Passion at EAS

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

John Palmerlee, Editor of The Flying Wire, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 124’s newsletter, wote this in the May 5, 2010 edition.   The CAFE Team hosted what was in my opinion a very successful event at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, April 23 and 24, 2010. Nearly thirty contributors from around the world spoke at the Electric Aircraft Symposium, and their message was clear: Change is coming… let’s get on board together. Electric airplanes and motorcycles, model airplanes, algae biofuel synthesis, wetlands initiatives, hybrid air carriers, battery breakthroughs, VTOL PAVs, tethered wind generators, flight systems analysis, nanostructures… and a mystery Green Flight Challenge aircraft promising to tap into new design paradigms. This was just a taste of the concepts …

The Battery Pack Builder with the Ceramic Wedding Ring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

The Killacycle Racing Team is led by two people, Bill Dube’, designer, builder, and driver of the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, and his wife, Eva Hakansson, crew chief and battery builder for the high-velocity two-wheeler.  Eva’s talk at the fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California caused several stirs in the audience, and hinted at where battery technology might go in the future. Wanting to free electric vehicles from their “boring and slow” image, Eva seeks to make them “sexy and fast.” Pictures of her and Bill’s wedding, in which the bride wore traditional Swedish wedding garb and entered on a motorcycle, the ceremony took place in a motorcycle trailer, and for which both bride and groom wore …

Summer Flights for Electraflyer X

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

According to, Randall Fisher of Electraflyer had his two-seat Electraflyer X on view all week at Sun ‘n Fun in the Greenspace display area, devoted to environmental consciousness and green products.  Fishman flew the single-seat Electraflyer C – a modified Moni ultralight – daily, and a team member flew the company’s electric trike regularly.  Most exciting, Fishman is projecting motor testing and test flights of the X this summer, with series production of a kit version to follow, and release of a light sport aircraft, factory-built version as soon as permission can be granted by the FAA.  From earlier discussions with Fishman, this airplane should be competitive in performance and cost with the Yuneec E-430. As icing on the cake, …

FES at Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Front Electric Sustainer motor system, developed by Slovenian father and son entrepreneur team Matija and Luka Znidarsic, was on display at the E-Flight Expo, part of the larger Friedrichshafen Aero 2010 show.  Both are graduates in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ljubljana.   This system, described in an earlier entry (“Power Up Front,” November 1, 2009), is meant to provide power for a sailplane that is launched by other means, such as an aerotow or winch.  Its light weight does not detract from the normal performance of the sailplane, but does enhance safety, with the pilot able to start the motor and power away into a modest climb if necessary to save a flight. In response to this editor’s naive questions, Luka responded, “No, there …

PC-Aero’s Elektra One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 14 Comments

Dipl. Ing. Calin Gologan, an exhibitor and presenter at this year’s E-Flight Expo at Friedrichshafen, will be at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, discussing the design and technology he hopes will imbue the winning entry in next year’s Green Flight Challenge.   He notes that the GFC, “the world’s largest prize…awarded in general aviation,” was a major incentive in his pressing forward with an environmentally conscientious design. His Elektra One is part his PC-Aero’s ambitious campaign to fly three different electric aircraft in the next few years, the single-seat “One,” two-seat “Two,”, and most ambitiously, a four-seat “Four.” With at least the shell of Elektra One at the Expo, Gologan is making good progress toward completion of his GFC machine, the prototype for …