Paris to London Using No Fossil Fuels

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

Jeff Engler fired up a start-up, Wright Electric, about a year ago.  Last week, he presented at the Y Combinator Winter 2017 Demo Day – a semi-annual event where venture capitalists can meet the latest in venturesome mendicants.  Tech Crunch describes the firm’s goals, which include electric flights between London and Paris on no fossil fuels – ambitious to say the least. “Wright Electric wants to build the world’s first electric airplane (at least the first 150 seat electric airliner). One of the main reasons airlines like Southwest can offer low fares is that they pre-purchase gas, but Wright sees an opportunity to make flights even cheaper by using electric planes instead. The company is targeting the 30 percent of …

Record for Siemens, Extra Electric Time-to-Climb

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Time-to-Climb is a tough record to beat, requiring an airplane with an excess of power, a skilled pilot, and just the right weather.  Your editor was supremely lucky a few years ago to meet Bruce Bohannon, holder of 25 records, including altitude and TTC marks to 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000 feet.  He managed these records in a modified Van’s RV-4 with a Lycoming IO-540 engine pumping out a nitrous-oxide assisted 425 horsepower.  The normal gross weight of an RV-4 is 1,500 pounds, for a power loading of 8.33 pounds per horsepower with a 180-horsepower engine. Since the RV-4 normally flies with 180 to 200 horsepower, the additional 225 ponies helped Bohannon achieve some big numbers.  His rate of climb to 3,000 …

Pikes Peak 2016 – A Record-Setting Year

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

Electric vehicles did not win the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb outright this year, but their overall showing was an indicator of how much progress designers have made in the last five years. Everyone’s a Winner! In 2011, Chip Yates rode his UQM-powered motorcycle to a record 12:50.094 time.  Part of the 12.42-mile course was dirt road then, adding to the thrills, but slowing overall times. “I felt bad for the fans that watched me through the dirt section. They saw an electric superbike going 1 mph around the hairpins in the dirt.”  He added this declaration, “We got a 12:51 time, I’ll take it, it’s plenty good for a rookie, and it’s plenty good for a home-made bike …

Chip Yates in a New Role

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

We are used to seeing Chip Yates breaking records – speed records, mostly – but there is a side to Chip that comes as a surprise to most, and his new position as Vice President of Marketing for Norsk Titanium AS (NTi) might come as a shock beyond surprise.   Chip continues with his other enterprises, noting, “Yates Electrospace Corporation was awarded a development contract for the U.S. Marine Corps to design and prepare to build a 1,000 pound payload, disposable drone to resupply troops in harm’s way!” NTi prides itself on being, “The first U.S.-based 3D printing company capable of producing complex titanium components that will meet aerospace quality requirements. The patented additive manufacturing technology uses titanium wire feedstock …

Chip Yates Awarded Louis Bleriot Medal by FAI

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Chip Yates, founder and head of the Flight of the Century, has been honored by the Federation Aeronautique International for records set in 2013.  Chip’s web site announced the honor last week. “Record-setting entrepreneur and pioneer Chip Yates will be honored on October 16 by the World Air Sports Federation (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) for changing the course of aviation history. “Yates has been selected to receive the FAI’s Louis Bleriot Medal for his record-setting flights in 2013, which established new international landmarks in speed, altitude and distance for electric flight. “The award will be presented at the Opening Ceremony of the FAI General Conference in Pattaya, Thailand, where Yates will become part of the distinguished list of honorees since 1936 who have made …

Adam and Jamie are Paying Attention

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley alerted your editor this morning that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman’s web site, Tested.com, featured an entry on electric aircraft, “Fuel-Free Flight: the State of Electric Airplanes,” by Terry Dunn.  Dunn does a good job of covering history and advantages of electric aircraft – complete with a quote from Dr. Seeley about the good neighbor aspect of quiet electric airplanes. He also discusses the barriers to electric aircraft development beyond current motor gliders and light aircraft – mainly the question of obtaining batteries that have much better energy densities than those currently available. “The batteries currently available are adequate to provide suitable range for some flyers. As the pool of available batteries improves, so will the range of …

Chip Yates’ Records Ratified by FAI

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With recognition this week of five electric airplane records set by Chip Yates in flights last year, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) ratified performance numbers that top those of most single-engine high-performance gasoline-powered aircraft from established manufacturers, according to Yates.  Your editor was on hand for the California Capital Airshow last October to see Chip take his Long-ESA to 500 meters (1,640 feet) from a standing start in only 62.58 seconds, 17 seconds faster than the previous record set by a fossil-fuel burner. The new records were really set last year between September and November and have just been ratified. They include an altitude of 4,481 meters (14,701 feet), a time to climb to …

Pikes Peak 2014

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Despite only three electric motorcycle entries this year (Zero alone fielded six production bikes last year) of 65 total, and seven automobiles in production and modified categories of 70 total entrants, upsets ensued on both two wheels and four at the 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The three electric motorcycles all finished and did well. The Brutus V2 is not the most powerful electric motorcycle to ever make it up the Peak.  Chip Yates’ 2011 ride had a 258-horsepower UQM motor and was probably more brutal than Brutus.  But this year’s results, even with far less power, show that weight, balance and handling probably count in the mix, too. Yates managed a motorcycle record of 12.50 minutes in 2011, …

Chip Yates Charges Up for New Records

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Whether the marketing department at Chip Yates’ Flight of the Century enterprise chose an eponymous 235-horsepower Piper “Charger” to carry the inflight recharging batteries for upcoming tests, the name reflects Yates’ own driven personality.  He’s set a world’s record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, soaring uphill on a UQM-powered motorcycle, used the same bike to set Bonneville Salt Flats records, then pulled the bike’s motor, popped it into a Long-Eze, and proceeded to set speed and time-to-climb records.  He’s announced plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean, duplicating Lindbergh’s flight with an electric airplane and the added and unprecedented technology of mid-air recharging. This will require extensive testing of the battery pack, tethering, docking and shuttling technology and the …

Chip Yates Breaks His Own Speed Record – Twice!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor was on hand Saturday, October 5 at the California State Airshow at Mather Field, 20 miles east of Sacramento, mainly to see if Chip Yates could break his own electric aircraft speed record in his Long-ESA (Electric Speed and Altitude). He did break his previous Guinness Book of World Records speed of 202.6 miles per hour (and more recent speeds) on Saturday, but topped that on Sunday, with a quiet run of 216.9 mph.  One Facebook fan wrote, “Incredible Plane… it’s a miracle.” The California Capital Airshow featured the usual crowd-pleasing noisy acts, with Chip being silently towed to runway’s end during fly-bys and aerobatics.  His takeoff drew a hush from the crowd, straining to hear the soft …