George Bye is a Busy Electrical Entrepreneur

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

George Bye, with his namesake company, Bye Aerospace, is involved in projects ranging from solar-powered drones to 345 mph VTOL cross-country cruisers. Following the Money People are betting on the plausible success of George’s SunFlyer 2, built by subsidiary Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC), and he’s received deposits on 105 of the two-seat training craft. Due for release in the next two years, one prototype nears test flights this year. As its capabilities are demonstrated, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology might increase its initial reservation for 25 SunFlyers.  Think of the impact this will have on flight training schools when SunFlyers and Alpha Electros begin delivering new pilots. George did a great job of extolling the virtues of electric …

Earth, Air, Water and Jet Fire

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince The SOLAR-JET project (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable JET fuel. or SOLAR-JET) pulls carbon dioxide from the air, mixes it with water and exposes the mix to 1,500 degree (Centigrade) concentrated solar energy and makes a synthetic natural gas, with oxygen as the only exhaust.  Attempting to produce a useable fuel from CO2 has been an obsession for many over several decades.  Attempts to capture and store CO2 are expensive and usually only hide the carbon, ostensibly for eternity. SOLAR-JET explains its objectives …

Airbus, Williams Team to Expand Zephyr Program

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

What’s the HAPS, Guys? Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering, two heavy hitters with the world’s largest commercial airliner and the world’s fastest formula electric cars, are collaborating on making a light, slow airplane stay up indefinitely.  Their memorandum of understanding (MOU) seeks to integrate Williams’ demonstrated abilities with “ultra-lightweight materials, battery technologies and electrical cell chemistries… in… Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program.” Airbus Defense and Space has worked with Sion Power Corporation since 2015 to use Sion’s proprietary lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) batteries for use in Airbus’ Zephyr aircraft.  The current Zephyr S is the latest iteration of a series of solar-powered, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that will fly at 65,000 feet for months at a time. High Over Dubai …

Toyota, BMW Fahrting Around with Clean Energy

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Fahrt is German for drive, to clear things up immediately.  Both Toyota and BMW are experimenting with the cruder form of the word, though, to bring about greener, cleaner driving.  Both have bio-energy plans that use animal and even human waste to generate methane – a greenhouse gas that when burnt, combats air pollution.  Variations on the theme may someday power our aircraft. Harold Bate and a Little Prehistory This is not a new idea.  Harold Bate, a Devonshire farmer, became a counter-culture hero in the 1970s by powering his Hillman Minx sedan with manure.  Like all visionaries, Harold was a bit ahead of his time, but became well known and envied when the Arab oil embargo of that decade …

Three-in-One Device Stores Energy, Makes Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

UCLA researchers Richard Kaner and Maher El-Kady, “Have designed a device that can use solar energy to inexpensively and efficiently create and store energy, which could be used to power electronic devices, and to create hydrogen fuel for eco-friendly cars.”  Kaner and El-Kady have devised many low-budget approaches to capturing and exploiting energy, such as their method of “burning” supercapacitors on a personal computer DVD.  Their newest accomplishment, according to Kaner, “Could dramatically lower the cost of hydrogen cars.” It would be useful in urban or rural areas, or even on remote battlefields, giving users the ability to make both electricity and fuel from the same device. In cities, it could store surplus energy from electrical grids, and in more …

Solar Impulse Foundation Seeks 1,000 Solutions

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, founders and pilots of Solar Impulse, have founded an important outgrowth of their globe-spanning mission – The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.  With almost 500 members and seeking 1,000 with responsible and profitable solutions the two are working to gain investors in literally saving the world. Bertrand Piccard sees a current vision of a world that’s out of phase with technological reality.  In an editorial, he mused: “When I was flying with my solar plane over the Atlantic Ocean, I remember looking at the sun that was giving energy to my four electric motors and their huge propellers. There was no noise, no pollution, no fuel… and I could fly forever. At one moment I …

e-Genius Gets Around Quickly, Inspires Others

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Birds of the Same Tail Feather Configuration Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann (emeritus) had a lot to do with designing the 1996 Icare II solar-powered sailplane and the 2011 e-Genius.  Icare II set several world records in its 20 years, most under the guidance of pilot Klaus Ohlmann.  e-Genius won the award for being the quietest airplane at the Green Flight Challenge held in Santa Rosa, California, and was a close second to Pipistrel’s G4 in passenger miles per gallon (equivalent) energy use. Dipl.-Ing. Voit-Nitschmann was kind enough to explain to your editor how the propeller center came to be at the top of the tail on e-Genius.  It’s a similar configuration to that on the Icare II*, and one he …

Three Solar-Powered Cars Show a Possible Tech Path for Airplanes

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In the next decade, your new car may not only be electric or hybrid, but solar powered.  A speaker from an Italian auto firm told a symposium your editor attended five years ago that solar roofs on cars could provide up to 30 free kilometers for an electric car each day.  That 18 miles would be a gift indeed, but at least three innovators are working toward making that an underachievement. Sono Motors and their Sion Sono Motors, headquartered in Munich, Germany, used crowdfunding to build their prototype and publicize their five-seat, partially solar powered vehicle – Sion.  Sion comprises several surprising elements, including polycarbonate shielded solar cells integrated into the simple, wedge-shaped body design, an interior air-cleaning system based …

UAVs Push Endurance Limits

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three unpiloted aerial vehicles of wildly different configurations recently set endurance marks, each a “personal best,” with some achieving world records.  The varying designs show what can be achieved by careful aerodynamic design and efficient powerplants. Aerovel Flexrotor Sets VTOL Endurance Mark Not just a fair weather UAV, Aerovel’s unmanned Flexrotor, named for the sea nymph Actaea, “lifted off into a grey and rainy morning with 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds) of fuel onboard”.  According to the company, “It transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight, and soldiered on through a showery day, a blustery night, and then another day in the breezy and unsettled air behind a cold front. As dusk fell it transitioned back to hover, and dropped gently down onto …

Faradair BEHA, an Electric Triplane for the Future

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Triplanes were popular in World War One because they allowed great maneuverability for dog-fighting, a supreme survival necessity.  Their success in designs by Fokker and Sopwith, among others, gave them a certain panache.  Now, a Bristol, England-based company hopes to revive the triplane as a commuter aircraft ready to fly from regional airports. Faradair®, named after English physicist Michael Faraday*, hopes to craft an airplane that will allow flight from smaller regional airports and compete with even well-established rail service.  Their craft, BEHA – Bio-Electric Hybrid Aircraft, will fly six to eight lucky passengers on a quiet inter-city ride powered by a 300-horsepower internal combustion engine and two electric motors in a parallel-hybrid arrangement. Neil Cloughley, Managing Director and Founder …