The Joby Monarch – Rising Above It All

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

JoeBen Bevirt is an extraordinary individual – and that’s no hyperbole.  Creating a lucrative underpinning with his line of knobby, infinitely-adjustable tripods, cell-phone and iPad™ holders, and LED lights, he has expanded into designing giant kites to fly into upper-atmosphere winds and generate high-output electricity.  To loft these kites, he has created a line of motors with the aid of Diederik Marius, shown on the Joby Motors web site, and so far include two versions each of the JM1S and JM2S.  Each can be configured with different windings for different applications.  The JM1S weighs 1.8 kilograms (3.96 pounds) and can put out 12 kilowatts peak (16 horsepower) at 6,000 rpm.  Diminutive, it is only154 millimeters in diameter (6.06 inches) and …

Pipistrel’s Four-seat, Side-by-side Electric Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

One of the most anticipated presentations at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa, California, April 29th and 30th, was that of the CAFE Foundation’s Vice-President, Larry Ford.  He had the enviable task of unveiling the contenders in the Green Flight Challenge – a mix of conventional aircraft powered by unconventional means, unconventional craft being sent aloft by a variety of the mundane and the exotic, and wildly unconventional concatenations of technologies. Pipistrel’s G4 turned out to be simple math: G2 plus G2 equals G4.  The configuration could hardly be preconceived, though.  According to Pipistrel USA’s Michael Coates, “This unique design has come about by grafting two Pipistrel Taurus aircraft together with a center section which is some 5 meters (16 …

Soullier’s Record – And One You Might Set

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

At least one of the records Jean-Luc Soullier had hoped for came true during Aero 2011 at Friedrichshafen in early April.  Officially validating the speed record, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale has yet to recognize the altitude record achieved during the same flight. Soullier’s MC-30 Luciole (Firefly) had a royal Sponsor, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco observing while Jean-Luc flew a 15/25 kilometer (9.3/15.5 miles) straight-line course out and return at 135 kilometers per hour (83.7 mph), winning the RAL1E subclass speed record for microlights. Several subclasses exist for one and two-seat electric microlights – few of which have recognized records, and thereby becoming an opportunity for early adapters of battery-powered, fuel cell or hybrid flight.  These “empty” subclasses are a golden opportunity for those willing to provide …

European Flights for Solar Impulse

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Solar Impulse, the first solar airplane to fly overnight (26 hours – minutes), will voyage from its native Switzerland to Lausanne and Brussels, Belgium – its first European destination – on  28 April 2011.  The airplane will be displayed in the European capital from 23 to 29 May 2011 and will then attempt to fly on to Paris-Le Bourget, where it is eagerly awaited as the “Special Guest” of the 49th International Paris Air Show from 20 to 26 June 2011.HB-SIA’s press release continues, “In 2008, even before the solar airplane existed, the European Commission had publicly sponsored Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg’s project. Three years later, by accomplishing the first flight through a whole day and night, lasting over 26 hours, without using fuel, …

Pipistrel’s Panthera Pounces

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Aero, in Friedrichshafen, Germany gets a little more electric every year, with one of this year’s highlights being Jean-Luc Soullier’s flight in his Colomban MC-30 E, setting records for speed and altitude in its class. Another highlight, for a very different class of aircraft, was the unveiling of the Pipistrel Panthera – made even more exciting by the company’s decision to create three powerplant options for the airplane – an internal combustion IO-390 powered speedster, a hybrid engine/motor cruiser, and a battery powered electric version that essentially gives up performance for economy.  The airplane was shown only in large model form at the company’s announcement, but Pipistrel has provided full performance data, an attractive brochure (see the site above), and …

Water, Pull Tabs and Vinegar as a Fuel Source?

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A professor and student at the Technical Superior School of Industrial Engineering and Aeronautics of Terrassa (ETSEIAT), part of the Politechnical University of Catalonia (UPC), have unveiled a radio-controlled car that runs on aluminum soda pop can rings, water and vinegar. Professor Xavier Salueña and his student, Aleix Llovet, held an April 14 press conference concerning dAlH2Orean, part of the project called “Aluminium,” for the manufacturing of micro cars with 5-60 horsepower using recycled aluminum as their primary fuel.  The miniature vehicle’s propulsion system has been patented.  The car can run on aluminum soda (or beer) can rings, “or residual parts of aluminum with hydroxide of sodium (which acts as a catalyst) dissolved in water,” according to its developers.  “The …

Solar Impulse Preparing for Paris Air Show

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To prepare Solar Impulse and its pilots for the upcoming airshow season, André Borschberg and other members of the flight team completed a series of tests to enable precise flying, particularly around the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. “We are preparing for these trips beforehand because they are very complex operations, from both a logistical point of view and purely in terms of flying”, Borschberg explained following his three-hour flight on April 18. Solar Impulse will be the “special guest” at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget from June 20 through 26. This last week’s tests were designed, according to acting flight test director Ralph Paul, with “two objectives…: to adopt the Bourget configuration and increase the flight …

Berblinger Flight Competition Winners for 2011

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The town of Ulm, Germany holds an annual Berblinger Prize competition to honor the memory of the Little Tailor of Ulm, Albrecht Berblinger, who attempted to fly an early hang glider across the Danube in 1811.  This 200th anniversary year has been marked by special celebrations, including an ambitious aerial challenge for “green” aircraft. 36 applicants were pared to 24 participants in the actual flight competition, and on April 15, a mere 13 started on the flight between Friedrichshafen and Ulm and return.   Eight were able to complete the exercise, according to contest officials.  The rest were unable to compete or finish, “due to insufficient financial backing, technical difficulties or the absence of the appropriate flying licenses the remaining competitors …

A Trio of Winners at Friedrichshafen

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Erik Lindbergh, as part of his Lindbergh Foundation, has instituted a suite of prizes to recognize and , “Accelerate development of practical electric flight, and stimulate meaningful advances in the emerging electric aircraft industry.”    Having presented four prizes at last year’s Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture, Lindbergh followed up at Aero-Friedrichshafen 2011 as part of the Berblinger Competition – which drew 24 entrants and eight aircraft that actually completed the Friedrichshafen-Ulm-Friedrichshafen out-and-return course.  With sponsors including Sergei Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky, a competitor for the original Orteig Prize that prompted Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 New York to Paris flight; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who backs LEAP; and Messe-Friedrichshafen, hosts to the Aero 2011 and to the First …

Phoenix or PhoEnix – a Nice Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

While at Sun n’ Fun in Lakeland, Florida, we couldn’t help but notice Jim Lee’s Phoenix Air Phoenix, an S-LSA (Special Light Sport Aircraft) motorglider from the Czech Republic, posed as it was on the line of march into the air show area proper. Your editor was interested in the PhoEnix, the electric version of the proper looking and highly attractive Rotax-powered version in the Light Sport Aircraft display display, next to its Pipistrel neighbors.  There were a great many middle European LSAs being shown, but the Phoenix had ended up on the Airshow’s promotional poster, neatly avoiding the FA-18s of the Blue Angels. The electric version will be competing in the Green Flight Challenge, so revelations from Jim Lee, …