Solar Impulse Passes Midway Islands

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With the sun soon to rise in the Pacific, Solar Impulse 2 continues scooting at over 60 mph toward Honolulu as the third night comes to an end.  Significantly, Andre’ Borschberg and the 747-size plane have made it past the Midway Islands, once a stop-over for Pan-Am Boeing 314 “China Clippers.”  Even with their 3,500-mile range, those luxurious planes needed a fueling stop mid-way between Hawaii and China or Guam. The islands were important enough as a way station in the vast Pacific that one of the largest and most decisive battles of World War II took place near them.   In a battle terrible destructive to both sides, U. S. forces sank four Japanese carriers, essentially casting the fate of …

EAS IX: Phil Barnes Double Header

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Phil Barnes, aviation consultant, opened each days’ sessions at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium: on Friday with a talk on dynamic soaring as taught by the birds, and on Saturday on regenerative power to keep a dynamic soaring aircraft in perpetual flight without any outside energy source other than the sun. Phil has 31-years of experience in the performance analysis and computer modeling of aerospace vehicles and subsystems at Northrop Grumman. He has been to Antarctica twice to photograph and study the flight dynamics of the Albatross, lessons he applies to the ideals of dynamic soaring and energy retrieval in flight. His Friday morning talk, “How Flies the Albatross,” discussed the flight mechanics of dynamic soaring, that mode of maintaining …

Learning About Energy Regeneration from Birds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Phil Barnes has one of the most fascinating web sites on the Internet, combining his aerodynamic expertise and love of soaring birds with his radical approach to staying up perpetually (or until the pilot grows exhausted).  Albatross, birds he’s studied for decades, soar along the tops of ocean waves, seeking food for themselves and their broods, often traveling thousands of miles before setting down.  They have the advantage of bifurcated brains, able to stay awake in one hemisphere of the brain while the other hemisphere nods off, a trait they share with dolphins. Would it be possible for humans to tap the energy in the air to soar for indefinite periods?  Could truly fuel-free flight be a reality?  Phil is …

Albatross, Dragonflies, and Hummingbirds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor took a trip to Tehachapi, once home of the infamous California Women’s’ Correctional Institution, mentioned in no less than three 1940’s films noirs.  (It’s now a gray-bar hotel for bad boys, not bad girls.)   Lesser offenses were in mind, though, since Labor Day weekend has been the time for 31 meetings of the Experimental Soaring Association’s Western Workshop.  The group, devoted to improving sailplanes and testing the limits of soaring technology, has been in the forefront of many significant developments, and its members include many record holders and aerodynamics experts. This year’s convocation included talks on birds, dragonflies (the Libelle sailplane), and even a demonstration of Aerovironment’s spy hummingbird, a camera-toting drone no larger than a 90-percentile member …

Dynamic and Regenerative Soaring – Perpetual Energy in Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Phil Barnes has an impressive set of credentials, and an even more impressive body of work.  Having seen three of his presentations at the Experimental Soaring Association’s Western Workshops, this writer can attest to the breadth and depth of his knowledge. According to his biography, “Phil Barnes has a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona. He has 25-years of experience in the performance analysis and computer modeling of aerospace vehicles and subsystems at Northrop Grumman. Phil has authored technical papers on aerodynamics, gears, and flight mechanics.” He now has his own web site, How Flies the Albatross, where readers can interact with the flight of …