Larry Page’s Flying Car(s)?

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A3 backed by Airbus, EHang 184 from China, and Zee from Larry Page (head of Google) – Silicon Valley seems an unlikely source of aeronautical breakthroughs, but several entrepreneurial outings from Airbus, Chinese startups, and Zee.Aero, led by a secretive Larry Page, have interest growing.  A pair of recent flights by Zee’s craft in Hollister, California have generated coverage – and speculation. Larry Page’s Two Companies It turns out Page has a second company, Kitty Hawk, taking yet another path toward electrified flying cars with something like a large quadcopter – not unlike the eHang 184.  Neither Zee.Aero nor Kitty Hawk is affiliated with Google, both funded out of Page’s largesse.  One theory is that his two companies, the first …

Getting Blood from Outback Joe – the 2016 Outback Challenge

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Outback Joe goes through a lot of trauma in his overstuffed life.  This literal straw man gets tossed into some remote part of the Australian outback every year and waits for some kind of rescue.  This usually comes by air, drones searching for him and taking him medicine, food, water, or some other necessity.  That’s the Outback Challenge. One can see a condensed history of the competition from its inception in 2007 to today on Wikipedia, the entry including the different kinds of things Outback Joe needed for a mission to be successful. This year, however, competitors were supposed to bring back a reminder of their visit to Joe – a blood sample – a good trick from an inanimate …

Solar Ship Sells Four Inflatable Solar Airships

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

People in remote areas of Africa may find relief coming quickly to disaster zones with Manaf Freighters’ purchase of four Solar Ship aircraft. Solar Ship’s Uniquely Hybrid Form Solar Ship, located in Toronto, Canada, builds solar-powered triangular, blimp-like flying machines that could serve as lifelines to the world’s most remote places.  Solar Ships range from an 11-meter wide (it’s hard to call it a wingspan) envelope to a projected 100-meter (328 feet) wide monster that could carry up to 30,000 kilograms (66,000 pounds) for a minimum of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). The blog reported on Solar Ships three years ago, when their few flying examples were testbeds for the possible future development of practical load haulers.  Combining buoyancy with aerodynamic …

e-Genius Flies with a Range Extender

Dean Sigler Batteries, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Stuttgart to Barcelona Dipl-Ing* Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for e-Genius with the Institute of aeronautical engineering at Stuttgart University shared the news that e-Genius flew with its range extender for the first time on September 15.  He notes that while the battery-powered airplane can manage trips up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), the hybrid engine/generator pod will enable flights up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).  This would equal a trip from Stuttgart to Barcelona, Spain, according to the e-Genius web site. As the school explains, “With [the] e-Genius hybrid most flights of a typical user case can be done in the cost and energy efficient battery mode – for all longer flights the range extender can be used. Generator …

Dr. Joseph Kallo, DLR See a Hydrogen Future

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Speaking at the first annual Sustainable Aviation Symposium at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay on May 6, 2016.  Dr. Joseph Kallo focused on hydrogen as a more than potential fuel for future flight.  He stressed that H2 fuel development was further along than one would think, and shared several examples to promote that thought. A Busy Man, a Storied Airframe Dr. Kallo is DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt – German Center for Air and SpaceTravel) Coordinator of Electrical Aviation for Germany’s equivalent of NASA, oversees work at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, which has worked with Pipistrel in Slovenia to convert the Green Flight Prize winning Pipistrel G4 to the hydrogen-powered HY4. He’s also Institute Director at the …

Airbus’s Aerial Commuter of the Future?

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Airbus and its partner Local Motors have just finished a successful design challenge for delivery drones that can carry things like emergency medical supplies to selected destinations.  Recent announcements and the release of a patent drawing show Airbus is doing serious work toward delivering humans to their selected destinations in a scaled-up version of such drones.  Many brilliant people have tried to combine the benefits of ground and air transport over the years, including Molt Taylor, designer of the rightly famous Aerocars.  The example at Seattle’s Museum of Flight causes docents to lower their voices out of respect for the accomplishment. That’s certainly a concept promoted for last decade by Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and …

NASA Tests Pipistrel Systems To Aid Electric X-plane Program

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

Want to See a Big Tesla Fly?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Teslarati, the forum for Tesla fans, includes a fascinating concept for an electric/jet airliner, as proposed by Peter Egan, a web-site member from Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia.  His proposal could be applied to smaller jet airliners in anything up to the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 class. He uses a Bombardier CJR1000 100-passenger regional jet for his example, and shows a large motor pod-elevator replacement on each side of the fin, with counter-rotating propellers on either side of the rudder.  (Whether this arrangement would be aerodynamically or structurally sound remains open to investigation.)  His concept drawing includes the existing General Electric-CF34-8C5A1 turbofans for comparison, but they would be removed. The GE engines put out 13,630 pounds (60.6 kiloNewtons) of …

Eric Raymond: Skyping from the Sky

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Eric Raymond and his wife Irena fly their Sunseeker Duo from the Aeroporto Voghera Rivanazzano near their home in Voghera, Italy.  The Provincia di Pavia provides wonderful architectural and scenic backdrops for their flights, something captured briefly in a video they filmed last year for Skype and Microsoft.  To Eric’s surprise, the commercial was finally released this month. The Raymonds and their collaborators are part of a larger advertising campaign for Skype and Microsoft, with their high-tech offerings complementing the wireless communications tools and the ad’s graphics. Eric and Irena, John Lynch, and Jason Rohr perform well for the cameras, but Eric had an extra challenge in the aerial filming.  “I was flying in formation with a Phantom drone!” Microsoft …

Siemens 260 kW Motor First Flight, and a Siemens at the 2016 SAS

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Siemens Motors announced the first public flight of their SP260D motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft – although the motor had made its maiden, but not so public, flight on June 24.  Putting out 260 kilowatts (348.5 horsepower) in near silence according to Siemens, the motor will certainly be capable of putting the Extra through its paces. The motor weighs only 50 kilograms (110 pounds), and with its Siemens inverter adds little weight to the nose of the Extra.  Pipistrel-designed battery packs grouped behind it push the power-pack weight toward the center of gravity, which should enhance handling qualities. As Electronics Weekly reports, “Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminum ‘end shield’, for example, …