Something(s) Amazingly New Under the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

To share an idea of how packed with information and inspiration an Electric Aircraft Symposium can be, I’m still writing reports on the fourth annual event, even though EAS V is coming up April 29 in Santa Rosa, California.  This is the next-to-last blog entry on last year’s presentations, and as noted in yesterday’s press release for the event, 2011’s will have at least as many presenters and material. Tyler MacCready is the son of Paul MacCready, founder of AeroVironment, Inc. and inspiration for many human-powered, ultralight, and solar-powered aircraft over the last several decades.  This author was in England when Bryan Allen pedaled Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel, a breakthrough in what was considered aerodynamically and structurally possible.  …

5th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium Launches New Age of Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, shares this important news. SANTA ROSA, CA.—On April 29-30, 2011, an outstanding faculty from NASA, industry and academia will present the technologies necessary to inaugurate the Age of Electric Flight.  The 5th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS V) will reveal how safe, emission-free, 2-4 seat electric aircraft could soon make a doorstep-to-doorstep round trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a single battery charge at nearly twice the overall trip speed of airline travel.  The latest breakthroughs in energy storage, motors, quiet propulsion, powered lift, electronic pilot assistance, autonomous flight and aerodynamics will be presented along with proposals for how they can transform transportation. EAS V will again network …

Genomics and Sunlight Equal Fuel

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

AvWeb.com has turned a moderately skeptical eye on a new energy development that would sound too good to be true if it weren’t for the prominent names involved.  John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff, is on the Board of Directors – and even more convincing, George Church, sequencer of the human genome, is a founder of and science advisor to the firm, Joule Unlimited, Inc. Their web site has more registered trademarks than Burger King*, including Liquid Fuel from the Sun™, Helioculture™, SolarConverter™, and direct-to-end-product™.  Joule’s technology promises Diesel or ethanol liquid fuels in huge amounts, using “proprietary organisms” to directly convert CO2 struck by sunlight into replacements for existing fossil fuels.  According to Joule, “Our technology has already …

Thrust Testing Wingtip Puffers

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Oliver Garrow, President of Garrow Aircraft, LLC in Mountain View, California, has been developing the Verticopter® concept for the last several years, and made a dinner presentation on his design at last year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium. Garrow’s Verticopter uses pivoting motors to provide vertical and horizontal thrust, with tip and tail thrusters fine tuning low-speed maneuvering capabilities. Verticopters will come in all sizes, with a single-seater ultralight as an entry-level machine and an inexpensive way to test the concept, especially when one uses a low-cost model aircraft motor unit from Turnigy (distributed by HobbyKing in Hong-Kong, P/N CA120-70), and a SPIN 300 Optically-isolated electronic speed controller (ESC) from Jeti for power – at least for the wing-tip thrusters.  The motor shown …

Rising Oil Prices a “Wake-up Call”

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With revolt and possible revolution threatening the shutdown of the Suez Canal and driving crude oil prices up, a recent article in Flight Global merits reflection. Flight Global’s lead sums up a threat and a hope in one tidy paragraph.  “The International Energy Agency raised an alarming note as our power-hungry lives got back into gear after the holidays.  ‘Oil prices are entering a dangerous zone for the global economy. The oil import bills are becoming a threat to the economic recovery. This is a wake-up call to the oil-consuming countries and to the oil producers,’ it said.” With fuel prices at the end of 2010 up one-fifth over those at the end of 2009, ticket prices necessarily follow, with …

$1.50 a Gallon, Carbon-Free, and Maybe?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Gizmag readers responded pretty much equally with hope and skepticism to today’s story on Cella Energy’s announcement of their hydrogen-based, emissions-free fuel that would power your car for $1.50 a gallon.  One asked if it were April 1 yet.  Others held out more charitable views of the announcement, and perhaps deservedly so. Cella’s diagram compares bulky high-pressure storage with room-temperature, ambient-pressure storage solution Cella is partially a spinoff of Oxford University’s ISIS programs, named for the Egyptian goddess of magic and life and overflowing with demonstrated successes.  We’ve reported on their Yokeless And Segmented Armature (YASA™) topology motor, a 34-centimeter (13.4 inches) diameter, 7-centimeter (2.76 inches) thick, 11 kilogram (23.2 pound) marvel that can produce a peak 100 kilowatts and 700 …

Boeing’s PhantomEye Powers Up

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

While AeroVironment’s Global Observer High Altitude Long Endurance aircraft has flown at the NASA Dryden Flight Test Center, Boeing’s PhantomEye HALE is in pieces but undergoing testing prior to being shipped to Dryden.  PhantomEye’s hydrogen-fueled engines are being tested at Santa Clarita, California and airframe parts are being prepared for flight at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri plant.   AeroVironment’s craft has now flown with fuel cells providing electricity to run the four wing-mounted motors.  PhantomEye uses hydrogen stored in eight-foot diameter tanks in its fuselage to directly fuel the twin Ford 2.3-liter modified engines.  At altitude, a three-stage turbocharger will be required to provide air for an efficient fuel burn. Both unmanned aerial vehicles have similar missions, to fly at 65,000 …

Garbage to Gasoline, Waste to Wattage?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley provided several links that reminded this writer of an earlier effort to convert the debris of our affluence into something other than effluent. A Daily Press report from December 21, 2010 by Cory Nealon, showed that at least one lawmaker is aware that there is a “green” aviation industry.  “U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is spearheading a potential multibillion-dollar endeavor to make Hampton Roads a leader in the emerging field of green aviation. “The effort, which would draw on the region’s rich history of aeronautics research, is in its initial stages of development, Warner said Tuesday. “Preliminary plans include tapping NASA Langley Research Center and partner organizations, such as the National Institute of Aerospace and Science and Technology …

Flying High on Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

AeroVironment announced that their Global Observer™ reached an altitude of 5,000 feet (mean sea level) over Edwards Air Force Base and stayed up for four hours – all on its hydrogen-powered electric motors.  Having made its first flights last August and September on battery power, the Global Observer on January 11, 2011 successfully demonstrated the system that will allow it to stay airborne for up to a week at a time, staying on station at 65,000 feet. This ability to maintain “persistent” communications and surveillance enables to the Global Observer to be flown in from areas remote from a combat theater or natural disaster location, and to uninterrupted observation of the situation.  AeroVironment claims that, “Two Global Observer aircraft, each …

It Only Looks Fat

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Aviation Week reports on the inner workings of Boeing’s Phantom Eye HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) unmanned aerial vehicle.  The craft, now being tested at NASA Dryden Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, has a rotund character that shows form does follow function. Wrapping two eight-foot diameter hydrogen tanks in a low-drag pod and boom style fuselage, the “bulbous” but aerodynamic shape seems at variance with its sailplane-like 150-foot wings.  Overall, the design’s unlikely look conceals its purpose as well as its enormous fuel tanks. According to Aviation Week, “Boeing’s objective is a production HALE UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] with an endurance of 10 days, which would enable it to remain on station for four days at 10,000nm [nautical miles] …