Dr. Shin to Keynote Electric Aircraft Symposium

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dr. Jaiwon Shin, NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, will close the Friday, April 25 session of the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium with his keynote address, “The NASA Aeronautics Vision and Strategy – How It Relates to Electric Aircraft.”  As Associate Administrator, Dr. Shin “manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction,” according to his official NASA biography.  He co-chairs the National Science & Technology Council’s Aeronautics Science & Technology Subcommittee, a group of federal departments and agencies that fund aeronautics-related research. Its first presidential policy for aeronautics research and development (R&D) was ratified by Executive Order 13419 in December 2006, and now guides such research until 2020.  Dr. Shin oversees and sets policies for an array …

Call for EAS VIII Papers

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Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and president of the CAFE Foundation, shared this message today. “The CAFE Foundation is accepting presentation proposals for the 8th Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, to be held April 25-26, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California. This international graduate level program will cover a comprehensive range of topics and will emphasize the latest breakthroughs in the rapidly growing domain of electric powered aircraft.  Faculty and attendees will include experts from leading aerospace, electronics and energy companies. Topics will include aerodynamics, motors, energy storage, energy harvesting, control systems, recreational aircraft, propulsion, robotics, avionics, airspace integration, manufacturing, business cases and airport land uses. “Interested parties should email inquiries and abstracts to: cafe400@sonic.net“

Aerovel Autonomously Performs Takeoff, Flight, and Landing – Twice!

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As explained on their YouTube posting, Aerovel’s autonomous flight of their Flexrotor aircraft shows a remarkable level of adaptability and control.  “In what are believed to be the first-ever flight cycles of an unmanned aircraft based on an unmanned boat, Flexrotor launches from a remotely-controlled skiff while underway, climbs out as a helicopter, transitions to wing-borne flight, images the skiff while flying at low and high speeds, transitions back to thrust-borne flight, and retrieves autonomously onboard. The aircraft then shuts down, is automatically refueled and restarted, and repeats the first flight, finally being secured onboard in a docking station.” Aerovel notes that the boat was radio controlled, but the Flexrotor Pandora flew the mission on its own and without human …

Aviation Week Recognizes CAFE Foundation’s Efforts

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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 …

Dr. Seeley at AirVenture 2013

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Imagine being able to walk one morning from your front door to a nearby small airport, step into an electrically-powered small airplane, point to a destination on an illuminated map on the airplane’s display screen, and be whisked to your destination so quietly that your passage overhead will not wake your neighbors.  This is part of the dream that Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, presented to an appreciable and appreciative crowd on Friday, August 2 at the Rotax Pavilion during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013. His talk, “The CAFE Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge Program: Toward a New Transportation Mode,” was a roadmap to how the CAFE Foundation, NASA and corporate sponsors will present five …

FAA Awards for Commuter Liners of the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In a series of far-reaching competitions for university students, the FAA has opened the gates on innovation for new aircraft and airport infrastructure design. Announcing the winners of its Design Competition for Universities, the FAA awarded three prizes in the Electric/Hybrid Electric Aircraft Competition.  In doing so, it acknowledged the pioneering work of the CAFE Foundation and NASA in promoting the original Green Flight Challenge, generously supported by sponsorship from Google. “Recently, the Green Flight Challenge and efforts of general aviation manufacturers and others have demonstrated flight using electric motors on general aviation aircraft. Under NASA’s Subsonic Fixed Wing Project, aircraft and engine manufacturers identified key technology capabilities required for electric and hybrid-electric propulsion of single aisle aircraft, expected by …

Making Graphene and Carbon Fibers Even Lighter and Stronger

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While scientists at Columbia University have used chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to create large sheets of stronger-than-average graphene, a research team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found ways to weave stronger carbon nanotubes. James Hone and Jeffrey Kysar, professors of mechanical engineering at Columbia University, learned that the enormous strength of graphene is usually achieved in only small patches.  The “grain boundaries” for larger sheets were often far weaker than the theoretical strengths of which the material is capable. That strength is phenomenal.  Hone explains, “It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap.” Results of their study were published in the journal Science. The paper’s …

A Milestone on the Road to Dr. Cui’s 10X Battery

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seeing the Amprius web site, one would never know that some “dramatic improvements” promised in the terse announcement might mean so much in terms of true breakthroughs. Neatly centered, Amprius’ total web site is a few  lines of discrete text. Amprius is a leading Lithium-Ion battery developer Amprius’s silicon technology was originally developed at Stanford University and enables dramatic improvements in the energy density and specific energy of Lithium-Ion batteries. Amprius is backed by some of the world’s leading investors, including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Venture Partners, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Dr. Eric Schmidt. Amprius, Inc., 225 Humboldt Ct. Sunnyvale, CA 94089 But the battery manufacturer has two first-generation product offerings with volumetric energy densities of 580 …

Wollongong Cites Battery Breakthrough

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Professor Zaiping Guo at the University of Wollongong’s Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials is working on improving lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles, as well as portable devices like mobile phones, and her school proclaims a breakthrough. Her team has developed a novel nanostructured Germanium (Ge)-based anode material for high-powered rechargeable lithium batteries. Professor Guo, an Australian Research Council (ARC) QEII Fellow, said the development of this inexpensive manufacturing technique is a breakthrough that will provide a significant improvement in battery technology, which can be used to power the next generation of clean-tech electric cars. “The novel anode materials are very simple to synthesize and cost-effective,” she said. “They can be fabricated in large-scale by industry, therefore have …

On a Clear Day, I Can See My iPad

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Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, shared the news of an exciting breakthrough that could make the see-through parts of an airplane’s solar collectors.  Most solar collectors have a black or near-black look because they are absorbing light in the visible spectrum.  Pulling energy from infrared or ultraviolet spectra invisible to the human eye allows Ubiquitous Energy’s Clearview Power translucent film of to be laid over iPad and Kindle screens and keep them charged constantly. Consider the possibilities of such films covering the Plexiglas or carbonate canopies on aircraft.  Even those portions could then be energy collectors.  On craft such as electric sustainer motor powered sailplanes, the glazed area comprises a large part of the total fuselage surface …