Madagascar Medicine Meets the Green Flight Challenge

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

In the Small World category, the team leader of the 2011 Green Flight Challenge winning team is designing the next generation of a drone that can carry blood and stool samples from remote and otherwise inaccessible parts of Madagascar to a central laboratory where the samples can be analyzed.  Jack Langelaan, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is working with Vayu Aircraft to develop a vertical takeoff and landing machine specially crafted to meet the needs of the ValBio Centre. The video shows an early version of the drone, while pictures on Vayu’s web site depict a sleeker, more refined approach.  The functionality for both machines would seem to be identical, but the styling for the projected future …

NASA Tests Pipistrel Systems To Aid Electric X-plane Program

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

Taja Boscarol of Pipistrel in Slovenia relays the information that NASA has tested Pipistrel’s electric propulsion system as part of its electric flight research for the X-57 program.  It would seem reasonable to start by checking out Pipistrel’s well-tested motor package, one of the few that comes with fully-matched controller, batteries, and ancillary gear. NASA performed its tests on its 13.5-foot Airvolt stand at the Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  Heavily instrumented, the Airvolt stand collects data through “high-fidelity sensors,” and transmits the collected information to a data acquisition unit that processes, records, and filters the measurements.  NASA and Pipistrel should be able to make good use of this data. Normally installed on the Taurus …

Traversing Australia on Sunshine

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Solar Power 0 Comments

Australia supplies 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) of smooth road and abundant sunshine every year for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge that bisects the country north to south.  Growing in numbers annually, this year’s five-day race drew 47 teams from 25 countries, with two teams from the Netherlands,  one from the University of Michigan in the United States and one from Tokai University in Japan trading the lead almost daily and battling it out for the first four places in the Challenger Class with daily consistency. University of Delft students had their second win in two years, while rivals from the University of Twente (the Netherlands) achieved a very strong second place overall.  The University of Michigan’s team was a consistent third-place …

G4 to HY4 – Swapping Batteries for Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The University of Stuttgart and Pipistrel started down similar paths around 2007, with the Stuttgarters attempting a hydrogen-powered two-seat aircraft, the Hydrogenius; and Pipistrel developing a self-launching craft with either two-stroke power or an equivalent electric motor. The two groups came to rely on one another, with hydrogenius using the forward fuselage and wings of the Taurus G2 with hydrogen tanks in the fuselage and a Sineton motor on the tail.   On February 27, 2008, Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, the father of the solar powered aircraft Icare 2 and the unofficial World Record holder for distance flown in a solar powered aircraft, along with dipl. ing. Steffen Geinitz and dipl. ing. Len Schumann met with Pipistrel leaders, including CEO Ivo Boscarol and …

EAS IX: David Calley’s Innovative Design and Use of Electric Motors

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

David Calley is  member of the CAFE Foundation Advisory Board, with a great deal of technical expertise to offer.  His small wind turbine sold over 150,000 units.  His patented design for the TrailerTail® increases fuel economy on semi-trucks and trailers by 5.4 percent at 65 miles per hour, according to SAE tests.  Last year at EAS VIII, he showed the potential for small motors with incredible torque that could power Sky Taxis. At this year’s EAS IX he described, in depth, the type of motor design he has been developing to power things like his three-wheel electric/pedal-powered commuter vehicle and landing-gear wheels on Sky Taxis and even rocket fuel pumps. He asked the not-too-rhetorical questions, “How high can electric motor …

A Lighter, Zippier Tire for Electric Airplanes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Tires are not usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of airplane design.  On most aircraft, the landing gear is an awkward necessity, something to help one get airborne and settle on after committing aviation.  Our future electric aircraft might have power-driven wheels to shorten takeoff and landing distances, making them less inconvenient and more beneficial. Conventional rubber tires and wheels are heavy, though, and reducing their avoirdupois would enable better performance from a lighter airplane, or allow more batteries for longer range or better performance.  Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, wants to visit the best of all possible tire worlds by exploring the potential of polyurethane tires, reducing the need for …

EAS IX: Dr. Seeley’s Magnum Opus

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor first met Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, at the Western Workshop for the Experimental Soaring Association in 2007.  Dr. Seeley spoke about the CAFE Foundation and its many areas of research, including its first two Electric Aircraft Symposiums.  Seven years later these events and this blog are among the few resources for people seeking information on this developing field. He spoke then about a novel idea, an aerial taxi service that would eventually become fully autonomous, hauling people on short-to-medium range trips in small, electric aircraft that would fly out of very small airports.  This seemed a bit of science-fiction at the time, but Dr. Seeley has continued to promote this idea, gaining …

e-Genius Crosses the Alps on Battery Power – Twice!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

It makes your editor’s morning to receive such wonderful emails.  Dipl. Ing. Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for Overall Aircraft Systems on e-Genius wrote the following: “We had a great Saturday – we flew from Stuttgart over the Alps to Italy, recharged the batteries and flew back on the same day!  For us, this shows the practicability of battery powered aircraft and we think this is a milestone towards an eco-friendly and efficient aviation.” The e-Genius web page on the University of Stuttgart site expands on the story, describing the flight’s accomplishment. “A milestone towards an energy efficient and carbon-neutral aviation has been reached.” While Americans rested up for their Fourth of July festivities, “Saturday morning, the electric aircraft “e-Genius” …

Green Speed Cup Final: a Mix of Well-Flown Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Day three of the Green Speed Cup in Strausberg, Germany brought few surprises other than how fuel efficient all of the aircraft turned out to be, especially considering they are all powered by gasoline engines.  Normally, this would demonstrate that even a light machine uses large amounts of fuel, but this contest demonstrated the benefits of good design and careful piloting. The Akaflieg Darmstadt D39 flown by Holger Massow came in first, winning the last two days outright.  Second went to Hans-Peter Ortwein flying a Stemme SV-10T, and third, perhaps surprisingly, to the only two-stroke powered machine, a Technoflug Piccolo, a fixed-gear, high-wing motorglider with an engine sticking up behind the wing.  The Piccolo was flown by Werner Scholz. Two …

Good News and a Bright Future from EAS IX

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Sitting next to your editor for the first day of CAFE’s ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, Paul Bertorelli from AVweb, took copious notes, made sound recordings, and during coffee and lunch breaks and in after-hours sessions, interviewed the accomplished faculty at the Symposium.  His thorough and far-reaching reports appear in his last several days’ postings to AVweb.  Having stressed mightily while attempting to take understandable notes from each speaker’s talk, your editor can only be impressed by Paul’s super reportorial abilities, and his communicating the scope and importance of what took place at EAS IX. From your editor’s perspective, several significant things took place this year.  Senior leadership from Airbus and Siemens presented talks affirming their companies’ commitment to making …