Faster, Cleaner AND Less Pricey?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

University of Michigan Research Sprinkled with Optimism (or Not) Can electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) machines provide the swift crossing of  urban distances at a price that will attract the non-flying public? Can they do so while keeping pollution in check? A University of Michigan study, funded in part by Ford Motors, concluded that taking a short (depending on definition) trip in an autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing machine might not only be quicker than a ground-bound journey through gridlock, but might even be less expensive.  These two factors are important if we are clean  the toxic atmosphere that hangs over our major cities, at least partly brought about by the constant transit of personal automobiles, public buses, …

MAGiCALL Motor/Controller Vies for Simplicity, Lightness

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

MAGiCALL, a California-based firm whose slogan, “Innovative Magnetics to Power Your Products,” covers everything from aircraft to medical applications, has introduced a combined MAGiDRIVE™ integrated motor and controller line of products.  These are of particular interest for electric aircraft designers, since the company has been picked to supply motors to the Airbus A3 Vahana project. Whatever else they may accomplish, the many multi-rotor sky taxis will create a demand for a great number of motors, controllers, and battery packs.  16 on every Volocopter, eight to 16 on every Ehang, and eight on every Vahana will promote mass production, perhaps leading to a Model T moment where such technology becomes universally affordable. What Ford did for automobiles, most of the current …

Whistling at High Frequencies in the Dark

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The same millimeter wave-length scanning that sees through your clothes at TSA’s very personal pre-flight inspections in airports could also provide a new type of heads-up display for pilots.  With an ability to distinguish power lines and other finely-resolved images in otherwise total visual blackouts, the technology could find a place in navigation, searches, and even private flying.  A few drawbacks stand in the way, however. Extremely high frequency MMW devices sense objects at a range just below that of the lowest frequency infrared light.  The high frequency allows a high level of discrimination in imaging. Used in automobiles for applications such as radar braking and adaptive cruise control, the potential for adapting such devices to weather flying is promising.  …