Facebook Unveils a Very Big, Very Light Electric Flying Wing

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is intent on providing at least basic Internet services to everyone in the world, even if means creating his own air force to accomplish that lofty goal. March 27, 2014, he shared his overall plan, including a large fleet of airplanes that would loiter in the stratosphere, beaming high-speed Internet connections to one and all. Just a few days ago, Zuckerberg announced the completion of the first full-scale aircraft for this grand plan, the Aquila.  Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs in at around 400 kilograms (880 pounds).  Apparently built in England by his recently acquired team of aeronautical experts, Aquila will be able to stay in the air for months at a …

Sion Power, Airbus, UAE Team Up to Set Dubai Altitude Record

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

First, let’s get the new acronym out of the way.  The solar-powered flyer recently setting records in Dubai is part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program.  One headline led off with “What’s the HAPS?” leaving your editor saddened by not having thought of it first.  Such craft were previously referred to as HALEs (High Altitude Long Endurance) platforms. It’s also part of the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), a kind of Middle-Eastern STEM program promoting technological advancement and sustainable development in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The airplane set three world records in 2010, flying over the desert Southwest in America as part of Qinetiq’s development program.  It managed 336 hours 22 minutes …