Electric Jet Hybrids – Big and Small

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

NASA’s Glenn Research Center reviews the prevalence of fossil fuels in keeping us flying for over a century. “Since the beginning, commercial planes have been powered by carbon-based fuels such as gasoline or kerosene. While these provide the energy to lift large commercial jets into the world’s airspace, electric power is now seen as a new frontier for providing thrust and power for flight.” Noting the use of hybrid and turboelectric power used to increase efficiency in cars, boats and trains, NASA has set a goal “to help the aircraft industry shift from relying solely on gas turbines to using hybrid electric and turboelectric propulsion in order to reduce energy consumption, emissions and noise.” This would require a large shift …

A Solar-Algae Hybrid for an Atlantic Crossing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Henri Mignet was never quite able to master an airplane with three-axis controls, and built at least seven flawed attempts at simplified controlled flight. His seminal try, the HM-8 Pou de Ciel (literally, Louse of the Sky, or more familiarly, Flying Flea) became first a matter of celebration for amateur aviators and then a cause of scandal, being banned in Britain following a series of fatal crashes. The “formula”, as proponents called Mignet’s tandem wing configuration, was sorted out after wind tunnel tests in England and America uncovered the flaw that caused the craft to pitch down in an unrecoverable dive. (For a well-illustrated history of Mignet’s design, see Henri Mignet and his Flying Fleas by Ken Ellis and Geoff …

Green Aviation at COP21

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power 0 Comments

COP21, the Congress of Parties 21 – the 21st gathering of nations and organizations working toward an agreement on reducing greenhouse gases, has concluded with what many conclude to be a historic turn from fossil fuels to cleaner, greener means of powering the world’s economy.  At a gala “SolutionsCOP21 – Celebrate the Champions Night” at the Grand Palais on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, leaders in demonstrating clean energy solutions were honored and awarded. Globe-straddling solar aviation and electric commuter helicopters showed a few of the environmentally conscientious directions aviation has taken and in which sustainable flight can take flight in the near future. Eraole, Mignet’s Formula Redefined Eraole, with its first motor run at COP21, is a tandem-winged cruiser that …

Hybrid Happening Follow-up, Followed by Not-So-Wild Speculation

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

Richard Glassock, the blog’s unofficial hybrid power reporter, sent the link to this video about the NASA GL-10 Greased Lightning test vehicle – which combines hybrid power with vertical take-off and landing abilities.  It’s a more detailed look at the power system and flight characteristics of this aircraft. The Graupner model airplane people obviously know a good thing when they see it, as reported here by the TestFlite gang – a group of enthusiastic model builders and flyers with a try it on and see if it fits attitude.  They excel in action-packed aerial photography that would make Michael Bay jealous.  Their test subject flies like a GL-10 or Joe Ben Bevirt’s S2s, and looks a great deal like an …

The Proof is in the Piloting

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

Helicopter flying has been compared to patting your stomach while rubbing your head, something few manage well, if at all.  Imagine trying to not only keep  the rudder pedals, cyclic and collective under control but also fiddling with 18 throttles.  Even a conventional helicopter is a handful with one engine or motor.  Maintaining level flight with multiple lifting points at different points around the central fuselage would add to that level of difficulty beyond most people’s mental processing levels. Luckily, someone at Volocopter has worked out a very clever and quick-witted set of algorithms to take the stress out of that high-risk conundrum, as proven by company CEO Alex Zosel’s recent flight – single-handed and even briefly hands-off.  Heike Blödorn, …

Hybrid Quadrotor Can Stay Aloft 2.5 Hours

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

Richard Glassock did his graduate work on small hybrid gas-electric systems, and keeps your editor current on that part of the aeronautical power spectrum.  He recently shared one promising example of such technology in the drone market.  Where current quadrotors are limited in size, power, and flight duration, the Quaternium Hybrix 20 is larger, heavier, and can fly for up to 2.5 hours, according to its makers.  The, according to its Spanish maker Quaternium is six times the endurance of current camera-bearing drones. The 20 weighs 11.3 kilograms (25 pounds) empty and can carry a 7 kilogram (15.4 pounds) payload.  It approaches the current limit on the Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) of 25 kilograms (55 pounds) and does not …