A Comparison Too Far

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation 7 Comments

A recent entry comparing the German Carplane® and Burt Rutan’s BiPod has prompted a response from John Brown, who found the posting of concern for the misapprehensions it might cause in readers. He notes, for instance, “Your current article portrays us as a large Govt. Co. (we got a small subsidy) going up against a ‘charity’ organization (Northrop-Grumman’s subsidiary, Scaled Composites) in whose name the BiPod is registered at the FAA – as a glider; “It compares us to 1930s modular concepts where actually the BiPod’s wings are screw-on/screw-off ‘modular’ and use that older concept; “It attributes a commuter ‘pitch’ to us where, in fact, we’re not aiming for that market at all. [Thanks for your apology. However, the world …

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 …

Synergy: A Practical Lightplane for the New Century

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

At EAS V, Synergy Chief Operating Officer John Paul Noyes framed his presentation of the Synergy aircraft by showing a picture of a 1973 portable telephone, then comparing it to a current model.  The clunky size, heft and limited utility of the former compared with its slim, feature-laden modern counterpart tells a story of intense design improvements, quantum increases in capabilities and far lower costs for a significantly better product – something usually anticipated in the history of modern products. Along with that historically comparative pairing, though, he showed pictures of a 1973 Cessna 182 and its Lycoming engine along with shots of modern examples of the two.  Not much other than the paint scheme distinguishes today’s Skylane from its …

ElectraFlyer’s Near Future Plans

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 3 Comments

ElectraFlyer’s Randall Fishman and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University were the lone inhabitants with aircraft on hand at the “green aviation” display at Sun n’ Fun, exhibiting the modified Stemme and the ElectraFlyer “C” respectively.  Having been within a few displays’ distance from the Thursday tornado that destroyed 69 aircraft, damaged many others, and dismantled marquees all around, they were probably fortunate to be there at all. Having decided to leave his two-seat ElectaFlyer X back at the shop, Randall had his four-year-old ElectraFlyer on hand, an airplane which hides what he describes as the only currently available electric motor, controller, instrumentation, custom propeller hub, and battery package in its neatly cowled nose, and which has been available for years before …

Hanging on The Prop, Backwards

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Burt Rutan, as part of his keynote address at the World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, “’mused about electric-powered aerobatic aircraft whose reversible motors would enable them to deliver symmetric or asymmetric thrust as called for by each maneuver,’” according to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s news release by James Wynbrandt. “’Imagine an Oshkosh air show where [the planes] dive straight toward the ground and stop,’” Rutan said. ‘They’re not fantasy anymore. The RC [radio-controlled model] indoor guys are doing this. “’It’s happening. It’s easy to do.’” Video proof of Rutan’s assertion can be found on YouTube. The Electric Tournament of Champions, held at Toledo, Ohio April 3rd and 4th, 2009 drew competitors from all over the world.  As shown in the video, R. …