Electrifly-In, Grenchen 2020

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

Grenchen, Switzerland’s airfield hosted the fourth electric fly-in on that site over the weekend of September 11 and 12.  No fewer than 16 different electric craft flew in or were on hand to greet the lucky visitors.  Even celebrities were there, including Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard and Olympic champion, astrophysicist and pilot Dominique Gisin. The Grenchner Tagblatt (daily news) was on hand to report on the proceedings, and seems to have come away impressed with the turnout and the technology.  The paper reported this sidelight on the recent record-setting trip from Switzerland to the North Sea of Germany in a Pipistrel Velis (also on display on the field). “Lush parties were celebrated almost everywhere, all under the sign of …

Eather One – When Friction is a Good Thing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Tribolectrics Your editor has long promoted the idea of the Grand Unified Airplane, a vehicle which would essentially power itself from sunlight, piezoelectrics, structural batteries, and even the friction of the air over its surfaces.  He wrote about the concept in the May, 2013 Kitplanes, and has noted an increasing number of articles in scientific journals describing a variety of nanogenerators, including tribolectric types. Tribolectrics are not new, having been discovered in the 18th century and initially quantified by Johan Carl Wilcke, a Swedish Physicist in 1757.  “Tribo” comes from the Greek for “rub,” and as shown in the following video, even the rubbing of air over a surface can generate electricity.  Note that about the 1:25 point Dr. Wang …

Aviation Milestone: Successful Electric World Record Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Elektro-Weltrekordflug (electric world record flight) team had great success in its flight from Schänis, Switzerland to Norderney, on Germany’s North Sea.  Setting five of its intended seven world records and then flying back to Switzerland, the team and its Pipistrel Velis showed that electric flight can be a reality for light aircraft.  All we need are charging stations along the way. Your Editor will do something not normal to the blog – repeat most of someone else’s writing with a few comments tossed in. “The world record flight with the first certified electric aircraft from the Alps to the North Sea in Norderney was a success. The “Pipistrel Velis Electro” landed again in Schänis (Switzerland) on Sunday evening. In addition, five …

Flying the Atlantic Electrically – The Freedom Flight Prize

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

It almost stops your editor in his tracks when he reflects that 93 years ago, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in his Spirit of St. Louis.  Even more astounding, competitors may win the Freedom Flight Prize by the 100th anniversary of that flight by making a cross-Atlantic and return flight in a 100-passenger, all-electric airliner. Carbon Footprint Ltd. Lindbergh’s plane, custom built but derived from a Ryan M-1 mail plane, cost $10,580 ($158,357 in 2019 dollars) and earned the $25,000 Orteig Prize.  Now, an organization in England, “Carbon Footprint Ltd. has launched a competition to encourage sustainable passenger flight. It has created the Freedom Flight Prize, a competition focused on crossing the Atlantic Ocean 100-percent powered by renewable energy — with seating for …

On to the North Sea, Electrically

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Elektroweltrekordflug A team in Switzerland attempted an elektroweltrekordflug, an electric world record flight, hoping to set seven world records in one 700-kilometer trip. Flying a new, certified Pipistrel Velis, the team of Marco Buholzer and co-pilot Morell Westermann hoped to find their way into the Guinness Book of World Records for the following: • Lowest energy consumption (kWh / 100 km -62 miles) over 700km (434 miles) • Highest average speed over 700 km (km / h) • Highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft (meters – 3.280 feet – above main sea level) • Fastest climbing performance from 0-1000m / 1000-2000m / 2000-3000m (m / s) • Fastest average speed over 100km (km / h) • Smallest …

Pipistrel’s Nuuva’s – Electric Cargo Haulers

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Like the TV commercial of the obviously wealthy couple requesting an architect design a kitchen around their choice of designer faucet, Pipistrel may have designed a cargo aircraft around the ubiquitous EUR-pallet.  Its extraordinary Nuuva V300 can hold three of these 1,200 mm × 800 mm × 144 mm (47.2 in × 31.5 in × 5.7 in) platforms laden with items destined for distant places.  The common dimensions enable planning a load (also considering total weight) that can be inserted into the Nuuva with a standard forklift.  The cargo hold can manage up to 460 kilograms (1,000 pounds) within three cubic meters (106 cubic feet) of space, a little more than an Escalade. Electricity to Lift, Gasoline to Push It takes a big vehicle with loads of power to hoist …

Amazon PrimeAir FAA Approved

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

St. Paul gave us the idea that there are several heavens, a layered set of spiritual levels increasingly sublime with altitude.  That’s why there’s a “seventh heaven” of love, tranquility and bliss.  Then there are earthly regulations to consider. The FAA’s approval meets with Amazon’s approval.  “We’re excited about Prime Air — a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.” Such services will be limited to the range available …

DOE Promotes Carbon Neutrality Aeronautically

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Both GreenCarCongress.com and CleanTechnica share information about the Department of Energy’s funding of 17 projects in two Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) categories.  Prepare for the inevitable rush of acronyms.  All the projects seem to be reserved for applications on single-aisle short- and intermediate-range airliners, with emphasis on economy of operation, carbon neutrality and lowest possible emissions. ASCEND Powertrain related, ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) will fund nine projects with $14.5 in Phase 1 money.  Funds will help recipients, “Work to develop innovative, lightweight, and ultra-efficient all-electric powertrain with advanced thermal management systems that help enable efficient net-zero carbon emissions for single-aisle passenger commercial aircraft.” Raytheon Technologies Research Center has three projects in two ARPA-E categories, …

SolarStratos Announces First Solar Free Fall

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

If you happen to be in Payerne, Switzerland tomorrow morning around 7:00 a. m. Tuesday morning, August 25, you might want to visit the local airport.  There, the SolarStratos team will stage a demonstration flight with a free fall parachute jump by the project’s founder. Miquel Iturmendi will pilot Raphael Domjan to an unspecified height, from which Domjan will depart the aircraft and free fall, open his parachute, and join the gathered throng.  Iturmendi will presumably return the airplane shortly thereafter. We’re not sure whether this flight will be available for Cockpit Virtuel viewing, but future expeditions should have that feature, much like the Perlan Project’s world altitude record ventures.   Iturmendi was co-pilot on one run to 65,000 feet. This …

Oxis Batteries to Fly in Two Airplanes

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

While we wait yet another five years for commercial development of each newly announced but promising battery chemistry, one company has its cells ready to fly in Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 2 and in Texas Aircraft’s Colt S-LSA.  Oxis Energy has managed to leapfrog lithium-ion makers with its lithium-sulfur battery packs packing 400 Watt-hours per kilogram.  Considering the best announced pack-level li-ion performance has been 260 W-hr/kg, the leap is significant. Batteries, for now, are at the heart of electric aircraft.  Until Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor or a hydrogen fuel cell with Dollar Tree refills comes along, batteries are battling it out for our airborne dollars.  Lithium-ion remains in the forefront, with Tesla staging its shareholders’ meeting and its long-anticipated “Battery …