EViation Electric Aircraft: Demanding Disruption

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aviation Week reports from the Paris Air Show on a “disruptive” entry in electric aviation.  Eviation, founded by Omer Bar Yohai, is primed to deliver a change in transportation as we know it.  Yohai says, “The dominant solutions available today are deeply flawed and demand disruption.” The company’s promotional video only hints at the company’s intentions.  Their vision statement on their web site, though, indicates a skyward aspiration: “Making electric aviation the fast, competitive and clean answer to on-demand mobility of people and goods.”  Aviation Week’s Noam Eshel quotes Bar Yohai as saying, “We design, test and build the tools that will enable future of regional transit by air, changing consumers’ perception of both distance and time.  Five years from …

Uber Elevate Summit Announces Sky Taxis by 2020

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A scad of news about electric aircraft hit the internet and newsstands last week.  Even USA Today reported on the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas – held with many of the participants in the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium a few days before. Big news came from Uber’s announcement that it intends to offer electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi service in Dallas and Dubai by 2020.  Bigger news for SAS participants is that it is partnering with Pipistrel and Aurora Flight Sciences, both presenting at the San Francisco event.  Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said Bell Helicopters, Brazil’s Embraer, and Mooney Aircraft would also provide “concepts and technologies” for the near-term launch. According to Aviation Daily, …

Airbus E-Fans 2.0 and 4.0 Dropped in Favor of E-Fan X

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Much like waiting for the single-person ram-jet helicopter to show up in your garage, you’ll be left hanging for a two- or four-seat Airbus e-Fan to grace your hangar.  Although not sharing the news in its “Innovation” or press release sections on its web site, Airbus has announced that it’s dropping plans to produce an E-Fan family of personal aircraft.  It will move instead into developing a larger, more powerful aircraft, the E-Fan X, that could fly within three years. Airbus started with a four-motor rendition of the Cri-Cri, four MGM Compro units twirling contra-rotating propellers and producing 60 horsepower.  Their “Innovation” program followed that with the tw0-seat E-Fan, and announced plans to build these in series at their cleverly named …

EAS IX: Aurora Flight Science Set Records without Pilots

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

John Langford, CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, has been demonstrating autonomous aircraft for years – a fact he has shared with Electric Aircraft Symposium audiences several times.  This year he gave a brief history of Aurora, starting with the Sunlight Eagle, an adaptation of the Michelob Light Eagle, a human-powered aircraft that preceded the most successful long-distance flight by an HPA – the Daedalus with a 76-mile trip over the Mediterranean. The 2009 craft was originally powered with bicycle-like pedals and still holds four world records for human-powered flight. For its two test flights at Las Cruces International Airport, the pedals were replaced with solar panels, an electric motor, a high-performance battery, and a flight control system.  Even with all …

Euro/Israeli hybrid Powers Neat Italian ULM

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Great minds tend in the same directions.  Newton and Leibniz both came up with the calculus at roughly the same time, both goaded to develop a way to determine the orbit of Halley’s Comet.  So it’s no surprise that two different groups would come up with similar solutions to developing a backup hybrid system for light aircraft.  Within weeks of one another, Spain’s UC3M and Israel’s Ashot Ashkelon both unveiled add-on hybrid systems for Rotax engines. Aviation Week identifies the second team’s players in its report.  “An innovative hybrid propulsion system (HPS) for light aircraft – manned or unmanned – is being unveiled here at the Paris Air Show. The HPS was developed by an international consortium headed by Israel’s …

Aviation Week Recognizes CAFE Foundation’s Efforts

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

As noted in this blog. Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, has been actively promoting the idea of a short to intermediate range Sky Taxi, a two-seat aerial vehicle that would carry its passengers safely from 420-foot runway “pocket airports” to other such runways at other urban and suburban settings, or even pockets situated within major airports.  The safety and utility promised by these electrically-powered aircraft would provide convenient, inexpensive trips for commuters who would enjoy TSA-free travel up to 500 miles at point-to-point speeds exceeding even private LearJets. Aviation Week recently noted efforts by John Langford, CEO of UAV specialist Aurora Flight Sciences, to achieve part of Dr. Seeley’s far-reaching goals with today’s technology.  As Graham Warwick …

Commercially Viable (and Nearly Buyable) Australian Algae-Based Biofuel

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Both Aviation Week and Flight Global reported on Algaetec’s announcement at the ILA (Berlin Air Show) that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa to provide algae-based jet fuel to the German carrier. Algae.Tec is an Australian maker of clear algae oil that pulls CO2 from industrial processes, combines it with sunlight, and produces large batches of odorless oil. The product achieves the “holy grail” of sustainability, according to Executive Chairman Roger Stroud, because it is made from non-food sources, unlike corn- or agave-based ethanol, for instance. It also uses CO2 that would otherwise be subject to expensive sequestration processes. The technology is proprietary and barely hinted at in the company’s videos, but is housed in 40-foot long …

How Many iPods in a BiPod?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

David Bettencourt, a defense attorney in Hawaii and a regular reader of the blog, sent this note about Burt Rutan and his early interest in hybrid power for aircraft.  According to David, “A July 2000 Road & Track interview of Burt Rutan regarding the hybrid Honda Insight might be of interest.  It stated: “Does he see any application of hybrid propulsion for airplanes? An innocent question, although it leaves Rutan unusually silent. ‘Gee, maybe I shouldn’t disclose this in Road & Track. But at the risk of someone else doing this first, let me tell you about an airplane that would be really interesting to do.  This is fascinating….’ “Rutan leans back and stares into middle distance.  ‘Visualize an electric …

A Sweet Look Into the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Zach Hoisington, an engineer with Boeing Research and Development, proposes an electric airliner concept through the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) program.   During the CAFE Foundation’s fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California in April this year, he shared an amazing array of alternatives.   Making airliners viable in an era of disappearing fossil fuel has caused NASA and aircraft producers to explore different design approaches, including joined wing aircraft, strut-braced wings, and hybrid wing-body configurations. Strategies for doing more with less may include aerial refueling for extended range flight with larger payloads, and formation flights on common routes like those of migrating birds to reduce induced drag.  New sources of power may include hydrogen fuel cells and podded or integral …