Terrafugia’s TF-2

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

Terrafugia, unabashedly calling its vehicles “flying cars” in many of its public pronouncements, has floated a concept that is a serious departure from their two previous designs.  The TF-2 will be the equivalent of a shuttle bus, but with an aerial means of making a longer haul than mere in-town hops. Started by MIT graduates, many of them members of the rocketry club, Terrafugia has managed to garner an enormous number of media hits.  It even became a possible Christmas gift in the 2010 Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas catalog. It flew its Transition before the crowds at AirVenture in 2013, and was able to obtain certification as a Light Sport Aircraft since then, but with a slightly higher than original LSA …

A Triple-Redundant Powerplant

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

Your editor saw this Tweet from Frank Anton, head of Siemens eAircraft: FrankAnton @Frank_E_Anton Oct 9 Hybrid-electric with multiple redundancy: three independent drive units in one engine block. Should a module fail, flight can continue with two remaining components. Scalewings engine exists as concept, development work expected to take three years. This caused your editor to go quickly to the ScaleWings home page, where a beautiful P-51 Mustang in 70-percent scale dazzles.  The airplane is available in Ultralight, Light Sport Aircraft, and Experimental configurations using engines from the UL and Rotax lines up to a Chevrolet LS300, with a supercharged variant offering up to 600 horsepower.  Their brochure, in German or English gives a great overview of the features of this carbon-fiber …

DHL Parcelcopter Delivers the (Medical) Goods

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Vertical Daily News this morning reports on the DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 as it delivers medicines to an island in Lake Victoria on the northern tip of Tanzania.  The Parcelcopter is a fourth generation design from Wingcopter, a German drone manufacturer.  It’s found delivering packages autonomously in German mountain demonstrations and now in differently rugged terrain, flying life-saving packages to a remote island. With financial help from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ – The German Society for International Cooperation ) GmbH ( on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DHL and Wingcopter have flown a total of 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers) and about 2,000 flight minutes in a six-month trial.  The 37-mile (60-kilometer) flights …

Biofuels from Many Sources

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’ve looked at an array of different biofuel sources ranging from used cooking oil and algae to farm and municipal waste.  This is essential as the percentage of airline emissions becomes a bigger part of our overall greenhouse gas situation.   The Guardian reports, “A 2017 estimate said air travel accounted for 2.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions, with the total emissions expected to quadruple by 2050.”We’ll look here at how some of the early efforts have panned out and examine a late-breaking surprise or two. Mustard Seeds? According to the Guardian, “A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on [January 30, 2018].” …

Zunum Picks Safran Helicopter Engine for ZA10

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

Ashish Kumar, CEO of Zunum Aero, announced that his firm will partner with Safran Helicopter Engines to use that firm’s Ardiden 3Z engine as the powerplant for Zunum’s 10-passenger regional airliner.  He lists the advantages this installation will provide. “Our ZA10 aircraft, under development for entry in the early 2020s, will be powered by dual power sources: propulsion batteries, and a Safran turboshaft in the 1,700 to 2,000 shaft horsepower (shp) Ardiden range.  This new model, the Ardiden 3Z, will be used as a hybrid power source achieving demanding cost, efficiency and uptime requirements.  It will be coupled with an electric generator, and the integrated turbo-generator will deliver 500 [kilowatts] of electric power to supplement propulsion batteries on key stages …

SmartFlyer is Looking Smart

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

Only a design concept just a few years ago, the SmartFlyer hybrid aircraft is swiftly approaching full-fledged reality.  CEO Rolf Stuber started the project and has been joined by Daniel Wenger, who shares design honors with him; and eleven others with a dazzling array of skills and degrees.  Every member of the team has built, flies or has flown in everything from gliders to “heavy” airliners. The team’s goal is to craft a “proof of concept” airplane which will fly by 2021. Facebook Updates Recent Facebook photographs show a nose section with a Rotax 914 engine driving a special generator, yards of orange cable connecting the big pieces, and a set of formers for what will probably be the fuselage …

Sustainable Aviation Symposium – Free on YouTube!

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

The 2018 Sustainable Aviation Symposium was a master class in aircraft design, electric and hybrid power, and the strategies that will make green flight a reality in our near and distant futures.  The considerable knowledge imparted in that gathering is now available for your education and enlightenment on YouTube. Better than (Most) Cat Videos Go here to see the entire 2018 Symposium program, complete with links to a video of each speaker’s talk. Or go here for the library of presentations on YouTube. Either link provides high-quality video of the 20 presentations from this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  You will see all the slides in each presentation and hear each presenter’s eloquent exposition.  These range from the simplest of garage-based …

Jetstream Cargo Gliders – Colorado to China in Three Days

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

Just as Richard Starke was explaining to Experimental Soaring Association attendees at this year’s Western Workshop how his proposed stratospheric cargo glider program would work, some multi-tasker checking his tablet shouted, “Perlan’s reached 76,000 feet!” Richard’s concept of launching cargo gliders that would ride the jet stream between continents was suddenly validated before an audience that a few minutes before might have been dazzled and even skeptical of his proposal.  Perlan’s tows behind the recently recruited Grob Egret turboprop towplane made 10,000 feet in 10 minutes a time-to-climb reality, and tows to 40,000 feet allowed rapid exploration of developing air masses over the Patagonian mountains. The idea of flying large, cargo-carrying gliders goes back to at least Word War Two, …

The Second SmartFlyer Challenge 2018

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

Grenchen Airport in Switzerland held the second SmartFlyer Challenge on September 1st and 2nd, with a good showing for the European – and especially the Czech electric aircraft industry.  Although smaller in numbers of airplanes than last year’s premier event, the Challenge featured a series of top-drawer presentations by industry leaders, and the viewing of a new Czechoslovokian electric motorglider. A Distinguished Visitor Interest in the event is high in the Canton of Solothurn, the administrative region in which Grenchen resides.  The head of the Department of Economics for the Canton, Brigit Wyss, reported on the event in her personal blog.  She proclaimed, “Grenchen establishes itself as the European center of electric aviation. The Smartflyer Challenge, which was a novelty a …

VerdeGo’s Integrated Distributed Power System

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

Erik Lindbergh, grandson of the famed trans-Atlantic flight pioneer, has been paying his dues in aviation for decades, working to involve young people in career-building roles, and advocating for “green” aviation.  His latest roles have found him mentoring a group of Embry Riddle students in developing an electric HK-36 (shown last year at AirVenture), and in developing one of the over 100 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) potential sky taxis coming into public view.  That sky taxi may not make it to market, but Lindbergh and partners’ Integrated Distributed Power system is headed that way. At the 2017 AirVenture, he shared the news that he was working on something exciting.  That turned out to be the VerdeGo project, an …