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 …

Volocopters to Hover Over Singapore

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Helena Treeck from Volocopter sent the following message this morning: “Bruchsal/Paris/Singapore, October 2018 – Volocopter, the pioneer in urban air mobility, announced today during Autonomy – the Summit of Urban Mobility in Paris, that they will perform a next set of inner urban flight tests in Singapore. The series of test that are scheduled to take place in the second half of 2019 are supported by the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and Economic Development Board (EDB).” Already undergoing testing in Germany and Dubai, Volocopter’s 2X appears to be the company’s flagship for continuing development.  The following video (in French) intercuts a representative explaining the benefits of the Volocopter with images of its public flight …

HES Element One Could Fly Four 5,000 Kilometers

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Horizon Energy Systems (HES), originally based in Singapore, has pursued lightweight hydrogen propulsion systems for the last 12 years, primarily for amall drones.  Going larger, the company announced plans today for Element One, “the world’s first regional hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft.” A four-passenger, 14-motored (!) monoplane, Element One will carry the lucky foursome 500 to 5,000 kilometers (310 to 3,100 statute miles).  This distributed power system claims “virtually no change to its current drone-scale systems,” which is a little puzzling, considering the largest of such systems produces no more than 1,000 Watts.  The scale of the Element One and its power packs is ambiguous, with illustrations showing a nine-axle trailer with attached solar panels ostensibly powering the on-site production of H2. …

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 …

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 …

Rolls-Royce Rolls a Few New Approaches

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

Rolls-Royce, famous for building engines such as the WWII Merlin that powered Spitfires, Mustangs, Mosquitos and Lancaster bombers, is engaged on three (or four) fronts currently, bringing hybrid electric transport to the skies. Hybrid Electric VTOL for Commuting Rolls is jumping into this crowded market segment with its concept for an electric VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) machine, powered by four electric motors on the wings and two on the tail.   With over 100 machines of varying configurations that might be the Uber rides of the future – according to Electric VTOL News, Rolls, normally a conservative company, is planning something a bit radical – even in this field. Rolls’ headline for this craft indicates a new direction for the …

GoFly Announces First Round Prize Winners

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

Boeing just announced the ten winners of Phase I in its GoFly competition, in which entrants design, build and fly a “personal flying device.”  As Boeing explains, contest rules are designed to enable entrants “To foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.”  The list of partners and co-sponsors is impressive and includes virtually all major American aviation advocacy groups. As the Green Flight Challenge demonstrated seven years ago, prize money encourages a grand series of investments by individuals in hopes of winning a prize.  In this case, 3,000 entries by 725 teams from 95 countries presented drawings and documents describing their proposed PFD, with a select …

Kitty Hawk Flyer Shows Improvements, Limits Continue

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

Kitty Hawk Flyer, the Larry Page-backed “sky taxi,” seems like a great summer escape machine. One can learn to fly it in about an hour, but it will remain low and slow enough to give the thrill of flight without inordinate dangers.  That’s the marketing pitch from Kitty Hawk, and it’s not a bad one.  Imagine going to a beach or lake with dozens of these fluttering about over the water’s surface.  It’s the same kind of lure driving go-karts on a miniature race course has for vacationers. Safety is obviously a factor for a machine meant for amateur use.  John Lyon explains this in the Robb Report: “The zero-emissions Flyer is completely powered by electricity, and its propellers all …

Sustainable Skies in San Francisco – the Sequel

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

Getting personal once more, this entry highlights my adventures at the 2018 Sustainable Aviation Symposium as reported in the first person. The Sustainable Aviation Symposium for 2018 began its Saturday session with J. Philip Barnes, the Senior Technical Fellow at Pelican Aero Group, who expanded an idea he has been developing for several years – that of flying on energy generated and stored by a self-launching sailplane’s motion through the air.  With both a single-seat Coulomb Keeper and larger Faraday First model to analyze, Phil turns to seminal works by Glauert and MacCready to create a motor/generator coupled with a propulsion fan that doubles as a propeller and windmill.  Clever use of switching in the control circuitry should enable high-efficiency …

Sustainable Skies in San Francisco

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

I’m writing this in the first person, rather than the usual third-person voice that allows me to remain objective about things on which I report.  In this case, I have been the recipient of much joy over the last ten years from being an observer of the ongoing progress in electric aviation. Dr. Brien Seeley, founder of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, asked me to begin writing a blog about electric aviation in 2009.  One of my original postings concerned a Kitplanes Magazine contributor, David Ullman – who was this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium’s keynote speaker.  In 2009, he predicted a great future for electric aviation – most of which has come to pass, and some of which he is creating …