Pikes Peak 2016 – A Record-Setting Year

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

Electric vehicles did not win the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb outright this year, but their overall showing was an indicator of how much progress designers have made in the last five years. Everyone’s a Winner! In 2011, Chip Yates rode his UQM-powered motorcycle to a record 12:50.094 time.  Part of the 12.42-mile course was dirt road then, adding to the thrills, but slowing overall times. “I felt bad for the fans that watched me through the dirt section. They saw an electric superbike going 1 mph around the hairpins in the dirt.”  He added this declaration, “We got a 12:51 time, I’ll take it, it’s plenty good for a rookie, and it’s plenty good for a home-made bike …

Le Mans 2016: Hybrids Rule But the Human Spirit Prevails

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

After over 300 trips around the 13.629 kilometer (8.47 mile) circuit, Porsche edged out Toyota for the overall win in the last three minutes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  A breakdown left the leading #5 TS050 hybrid stranded on the track with the Porsche #2 919 hybrid speeding past for the overall win.  Toyota and Porsche had battled it out for the entire race, with Audi struggling with a blown turbocharger and broken suspension.  That Audi’s technicians’ and mechanics could repair significant mechanical issues and have their cars complete the race within striking distance of a podium finish speaks volumes for their skills. As usual for several years, Toyota, Porsche and Audi ran hybrid cars in the LMP1 …

Bosch Builds e-Kart with Monster Torque

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

Robert Bosch GmbH has developed an “e-kart” producing 20 kilowatts from two motor-generators, and 300 Newton-meters (221 foot-pounds) of torque, a number Bosch refers to as “sporting.” It would be nice to know how much this cart weighs, but Autoweek relates, “The only thing Bosch isn’t saying for now is just how long the e-kart can run on that battery, assuming 10/10ths driving, and how much the battery and powertrain weigh.” Otherwise, we know the e-Kart goes from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in under five seconds and can squeal its tires “with just a tap of the pedal.”  A guesstimate of 400 pounds for the total vehicle and driver weight would probably not be too far …

NASA Rethinks X Planes

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

In your editor’s childhood and youth, X Planes were all premised on speed, Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in 1947 in the Bell X-1 when your editor was five years old (do the math).  Movies that filled screens in those days featured test pilots as steely-jawed, fearless protagonists beating back the awesome forces in the sky.  Frequent news stories and breathlessly narrated newsreels, and later television news captured the imagination with items about going higher, faster, and farther. NASA is bringing back the X-plane, but emphasizing quiet, efficient, clean and practical goals.  NASA’s own description of the programs shows a turn toward green aviation in our future.  “Goals include showcasing how airliners can burn half the fuel and generate …

EnergyOr Ups the Ante for Endurance

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Staying airborne for more than an hour or two might seem like a huge leap for battery-powered electric aircraft.  Inspired designers like Eric Raymond have been able to use solar cells to extend their flights to near-perpetual states.  A large craft like Solar Impulse 2 remains in flight for up to five successive days and nights only through careful energy management and flight planning.  Researchers are looking at hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to batteries, with the hopes of achieving greater endurance. One company, EnergyOr, has developed two still small fuel cells to power their rotary- and fixed-wing drones, setting several records in the process.  With payloads and maximum takeoff weights that enable carrying a 4K camera or large …

Aurora Flight Sciences Win DARPA Award for Advanced VTOL

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

Electric Aircraft Symposia attendees will be familiar with presentations by Dr. John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, an aeronautical firm continuously redefining the leading edge of aerial technology.  He has shared the firm’s achievements in autonomous flight, with the company’s Centaur, a twin-engine light twin going from takeoff to landing at a distant airport without the need for pilot intervention. With other research projects on solar power, high altitude reconnaissance, and future “double-bubble” wide-body airliners, Aurora apparently showed enough innovative capacity to win an award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for its newest X-Plane, an unpiloted vertical takeoff and landing speedster called Lightning Strike. This Phase 2 award takes from a preliminary design …

A Large Quadplane Version of the Pilatus Porter

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Richard Glassock, a long-time contributor to the blog, is from Australia, and has lived and worked in Hungary for the last few years.  He’s known to blog readers for his work in autonomous aircraft, very large sailplanes, and hybrid propulsion design. He shares news this week about “some excellent work by an Australian researcher I have known for a while. In one way or another, he is actualizing many of the ideas/dreams I had 20 years ago.”  The craft isVTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), fixed wing, capable of automated flight, and is almost a hybrid (depending on definition). It was developed for the Outback Challenge, originally a chance for aircraft designers to show how their craft could autonomously search for …

Needed: a Four-Seat Light Airplane for Electrifying Research Project

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

We’d all love to have a hybrid electric airplane – inexpensive to fly with great range and guilt-free airport hamburgers. Jeffrey Engler, who heads an innovative project devoted to green aviation, explains: “Our plan is to convert a Piper Cherokee, Cessna 172, or similar light four-seater to electric hybrid power.  The airplane should be airworthy with a serviceable engine and avionics.  We don’t want a hangar queen or an airport relic – just a flyable, reasonable example at a reasonable price.” Aeronautics students at Purdue University, as part of their graduate work, are backing this program.  Jeffrey reports, “The rock stars at Purdue presented their first interim report yesterday, including a background on electric aviation and their initial evaluation of the Cherokee retrofit.  It’s …

Pipistrel Rolls Out Hypstair Hybrid for Run-up

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Pipistrel took the wraps off its latest iteration of what was originally called the Panthera, the hybrid variant of which has been renamed the HYPSTAIR, a pun that fails to diminish the significance of the achievement. Pipistrel clams the most powerful aerial hybrid electric power train, powering it up on February 9 and making a mighty, but subdued noise, much of it coming from the specially-designed, five-bladed propeller. Putting out 200 kilowatts (268 horsepower) at full throttle, the Siemens motor turned the propeller using first just the generator, and then the motor in low and high power modes. The propulsor (perhaps a new term to consider as hybrid power becomes a common operational type for electric aircraft) produces 100 kW (134 …

Tomas Brødreskift to Appear at SA Symposium

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

With the upcoming Sustainable Aviation Symposium (May 6-7, 2016) already packed with stellar presenters, we are excited to have Tomas Brødreskift join the faculty.  An industrial designer whose skills in product and process design, project management, ergonomics, and visual and CAD design have led and enabled him to bring his amphibious Equator P2 Xcursion to life will share his expertise and experiences with attendees at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay. Tomas’ demonstrated skills in designing everything from Hardrocx mountain bikes to an array of consumer goods have helped prepare him to guide the Xcursion from concept to final product.  Since he has overseen every step of the design/build process, the airplane is a reflection of its unique specification and its …