Would You Believe There Are Two Electric Cri-Cri’s?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

EADS, the Airbus people, gained a high degree of publicity with their four-motor Cri-Cri, as reported here previously, but a new contender has outraced it. Didier Esteyne flew the EADS plane for the press and showed it to good advantage.  His mount was powered by four 15-horsepower electric motors, paired in pods on either side of the plane’s nose. The contra-rotating propellers gave a good performance judging from the in-flight video. EADS’ 60 total horsepower gave it a top speed of 141 miles per hour, but that was eclipsed by another electric Cri Cri, this one with a single 25-horsepower Electravia brushed motor on each stalk.  Bigger motors swinging bigger propellers gave it a speed advantage and a world record of 262 kilometers per …

163 Horsepower from 25 Pounds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

ThinGap, LLC is well known for small motors with excellent performance characteristics, eliminating the use of iron and its resultant “lossiness” and depending instead on copper foil, rather than wire windings for its internally clean structure. The design leads to a lack of “cogging,” that notched feeling found when turning over some motors by hand.  Each individual magnet causes the rotor to stop, or “cog,” sometimes making low-speed operation a bit hesitant and smooth transitions difficult.  That, the unique ring design and an aluminum housing help carry heat away and allow for an internal controller. ThinGap have focused on smaller unmanned aerial vehicle applications for many years, but have moved into larger automotive and aircraft products, with one model in …

The Verticopter® , an Adaptable and Expandable Convertiplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Oliver Garrow, founder, designer, and President of Garrow Aircraft LLC, says it right up front, “My design is completely counterintuitive.”  Pilots are used to counterintuitive thinking.  Push the nose down and add power when you’ve stalled and are heading groundward anyway, for instance.  But the logic of what Garrow is doing becomes apparent only when you see the Verticopter® flying.  Adaptable for varying flight characteristics, the Verticopter can be powered by one or more motors.  A single motor, for instance, would provide a simple solution for a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft.  A short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) airplane might use two or more motors.  Full vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) would require four to six motors.  Motors can …

Getting Wired on the e-Spyder

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Stephan Boutenko of Alternair passed this along, and it is worth a read.  Jason Paur of Wired Magazine’s Autopia web site reports on flying Tom Peghiny’s e-Spyder, a combination of Tom’s Flightstar ultralight with a Yuneec motor, controller and battery. Paur’s impressions are highly positive, with the desire to continue the experience.  He notes, “Flying on battery power is about the unique experience of flying without the noise, vibration and smells of a traditional engine pulling you along. It’s an entirely different sensation. And like gliding, it is about the challenge of flying within the limitations of the aircraft and maximizing your time aloft. “’It’s like hypermiling a flight,’ Peghiny says.”  Hypermiling in automobiles is the act of conserving fuel …

Jerry Booker – A One Man CAFE Foundation

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

An engineer retired to southern Illinois farm country, Jerry Booker has designed and built several airplanes, his latest being the Red Tail Hawk, a Part 103-compliant self-launching ultralight sailplane.  He has flown 15 times in his new creation, maintaining meticulous notes and downloading data for review by others.  His empirical approach to testing the limits of his electric powerplant (a Randall Fisher 18 horsepower brushed motor/controller combination) and airframe represent a thorough and careful examination of a type of airplane that other homebuilders might be able to make with currently available systems. Jerry’s flight reports are dispassionate and carefully logged, following much of the approach and including many of the criteria developed over the years by the CAFE Foundation.  He …

ENFICA-FC – A Speed Record for Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Professor Guilio Romeo of the Politecnico de Torino, Italy is a man of many firsts.  Last year, his team fielded Skyspark, a Pioneer 300 powered with an electric motor fed by batteries.  This year, in a totally new development, Professor Romeo coordinated the activities leading to a successful hydrogen-powered electric aircraft, and set a world speed record to top off that accomplishment. The Skyleader 150 Zero CO2 light sport aircraft, built by JIHLAVAN airplanes, Ltd. in the Czech Republic, was fitted with Intelligent Energy proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells from the United Kingdom, an inverter and power management system by Italy’s Mavel Elletronica, and a motor at least partially designed by the University of Pisa, Italy.  Tanks and a high-pressure fuel …

Green Flight Challenge: It Might Look Like a Quickie…

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 9 Comments

But it will be the Feuling Green Flight Challenger, an entirely new iteration of the Quickie “formula” if Gene Sheehan, Vic Turner, Luke Leatherman and Allon McBee have their way.  Created in the wake of the Vari-Eze’s and Long-Eze’s of the early 1970’s, the original Quickie was an 18-horsepower Onan industrial engine-powered irreducible flying machine with great speed for its low power and unbelievable fuel economy.  The team’s GFC Challenger is electric, and a far cry from its cast iron past – or the iron-horse Harley-Davidson motorcycles that are part of its surroundings. “Feuling” comes from the high-performance motorcycle and automobile developer who started the company bearing his name.  Jim Feuling had over 100 patents to his name, worked with …

Go Skynch Yourself – And Smile About It

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Jack Lambie, an early hang-glider pilot, wrote in a mid-seventies’ Soaring Magazine of a dream cross-country using ultralight sailplanes with self-launching devices that allowed high launches from flat ground when foot launching was not practical.  Lambie would be proud of recent developments in Denmark. Three years ago, we first noted the Skynch, a paraglider (potentially hang glider) self-launching device under development.  Then it seemed to disappear from view, only to re-emerge as a fully-developed electric winch with a remote for the pilot.  The self-controlled nature of the setup allows a pilot to literally pull him or herself into the blue. The video, which the Skynch people do not allow to be embedded here, gives a convincing demonstration of the system’s ease of use …

Solar Impulse – Swiss Pride

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Andre’ Borschberg, CEO of the Solar Impulse project, has been flying the giant airplane over many scenic and civic sites in Switzerland, crossing from its home field at Payerne to Geneva International Airport on September 21, and then returning the same day to Payerne.  The next day, Borschberg cruised to Zurich International Airport and returned to the plane’s home base.  As quoted in the project’s press release, Borschberg was happy about the chance to view Switzerland from his rare and lofty perch.  “’These flights are just amazing! Thanks to the plane’s low speed, I was able to discover Switzerland from a completely new angle, fully taking in the beauty of our country!’ said André Borschberg, CEO and Co-founder of Solar …

Launching on a Leaf Blower and a Hacker

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Paul Dewhurst and Dr. Paul Robertson, chronicled in an earlier entry about their simultaneous electric ultralight flights last year, have created another first, a parallel hybrid motorglider launch. The truncated flight of their Alatus took place on September 9, 2010 at Sywell Aerodrome, between Coventry and Cambridge north of London. Dewhurst notes, “Flight was quite short though (around 1.5 minutes) after the controller suffered a bit of tantrum complete with sparks! Rework [is] in process and we hope to have a rather longer flight soon.” Replacing the Lynch unit normally used in the Alatus’s motorized version with an unspecified 76cc, 2.8 kilowatt (3.75 horsepower) internal combustion four-stroke leaf blower unit paralleled with a Hacker A200 12 kilowatt (16 horsepower) large model airplane …