Elektra Solar Launches HALE with Autonomous Control

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Birgit Weißenbach of Elektra Solar GmbH and PC-Aero announced “The world’s strongest multifunctional solar-electric HALE aerial vehicle – the Elektra Two Solar: [with] “Take-off, flight and tough-down” successfully completed with [its] own autopilot system We usually think of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) aircraft as being huge, sun-eclipsing things like AeroVironment’s flying wings or Boeing’s Phantom Eye.  These require large support systems and ground crews, much like the team that chased Solar Impulse around the world. Elektra Solar GmbH, a joint venture combining PC-Aero GmbH and Elektra UAS GmbH, uses aircraft designed by Calin Gologen, head of PC-Aero, and computer technology from Dr. Ing. Habil. Konstantin Kondak.  Since October, 2009 he headed a key research area, Flying Robots at …

Silent Falcon – A Solar-Powered UAV

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

While Boeing and AeroVironment proceed with stratospheric, hydrogen-powered giants such as the Phantom Eye and the Global Observer for extremely long-range surveillance and monitoring duties, an Albuquerque, New Mexico company is exploring the potential of a small, lower-altitude, hand-launched craft that can search – and if necessary – destroy. A recent report from Volta Volare’s Paul Peterson attending the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conclave in Las Vegas, Nevada and an email from George Bye, Chairman and CEO of Bye Aerospace, alerted your editor to the new reconnaissance aircraft. George wrote, “While the electric Cessna program continues to advance under the leadership of Charlie Johnson and a new name, ‘Beyond Aviation’, we have continued our research into solar-electric hybrid propulsion …

Phantom Eye Flies, Breaks a Leg

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Boeing’s Phantom Eye, hydrogen-powered HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) surveillance aircraft rose from its launch cart at 6:22 a.m. Pacific time on June 1, then climbed to an altitude of 4,080 feet on its 28 minute maiden flight. Phantom Eye is meant to be an autonomous craft with four-day mission capabilities.  The bulbous front fuselage houses two spherical hydrogen tanks that feed the Ford 2.3 liter engines on the 150-foot, high-aspect ratio wings.  The engines, triple turbocharged at altitude, emit only water vapor, making spying a little cleaner. Note the web-like spinning of carbon fiber strands making up the fuselage.  This highly-automated manufacturing process probably emulates that used on the company’s 787 Dreamliner and reflects the high-technology methods we can …

HALE Another: AeroVironment’s Global Observer

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We reported last month on Boeing’s High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle, the Phantom Eye.  Now AeroVironment’s similar HALE, the Global Observer, is undergoing initial flight testing at NASA Dryden Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Meant to provide “persistent” communications and remote sensing capabiliies for military or civilian applications, the less-than-10,000-pound Global Observer can carry 400-pound payloads to 65,000 feet and stay there for a week on its four electric motors, which resemble larger versions of  the Astro-Flight motors used on Helios, Pathfinder, and other AeroVironment craft. Missions, according to the firm, include “low cost, rapidly deployable telecommunications infrastructure and GPS augmentation; hurricane and storm tracking, weather monitoring, wildfire detection, and sustained support for relief …