Volt Aero Cassio Hybrid – From France

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

You may have noticed an ongoing divide in electric aircraft philosophies, that of designing from a blank sheet, or that of converting an existing airplane from fossil fuel to electric power.  French company VoltAero has chosen the second path with its Cassio. A conversion of a Cessna 337 Skymaster, it shares similarities to Ampaire’s 337 conversion, with significant differences in its power configuration. What has Five (Three?) Motors and Three Propellers? Ampaire’s 337 conversion retains the “push-pull” arrangement of the original, with the “pusher” an electric power unit behind the cabin and between the twin tail booms.  VoltAero’s replaces the front engine with a faired, engineless nose and one REX 60-kilowatt (80.4 horsepower) electric motor on the nose of each …

Airbus e-Fan Prepared Well for Today’s Cross-Channel Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

106 years after Louis Bleriot took off into a foggy morning and pointed the nose of his Model XI toward the Dover coast, Airbus celebrates the event with an anniversary flight of their e-Fan prototype,  now sporting a bigger, more powerful battery pack, lightened airframe and lighter electrical components. Their press release carefully avoids mentioning Hugues Duval’s flight the day before, apparently done to upstage the e-Fan’s trip.  It does claim credit for making the first cross-channel flight in a “twin-engine electric plane,” even though Duval’s Cri-Cri was powered by twin Electravia motors. “At 11am on a calm, sunny summer morning, the Airbus E-Fan touched down in Calais to enter its name in the record books. The all-electric plane became the first …

EADS Developing Line of Production Light Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) has been heating up some batteries lately, announcing production plans for the E-Fan prototype unveiled at the 2012 Paris Air Show and showing a four-seat derivative, the 4.0.  Both share the twin-motor ducted fan configuration that makes the trainer and light electric airplane look like an A-10 Warthog, but with much less fearsome aspects. Tony Osborne, reporting in the May 8 online Aviation Week and Space technology, reports, “To produce Europe’s first wholly electric-powered aircraft the Airbus Group is partnering with French industry and entering the light aircraft market.  A new subsidiary, VoltAir [lovely French pun], will be set up in the coming months to develop and produce the two-seat E-Fan 2.0 and …

EADS Pulls Off Electric Hat Trick at 2011 Paris Air Show

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

At the 2011 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this week, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. (EADS) showcased at least three electric flight vehicles – two emonstrating current reality and one pointing toward a cleaner future for short-to-medium range airliners. Cri-Cri, the four-motored, contra-rotating props on stalks aerobatic wonder, did indeed perform at the 2011 Paris Air Show, doing six-minute routines daily at the show.  Didier Esteyne, the plane’s obviously accomplished pilot, explains things in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76h4VA3yoNI Emmanuel Joubert, Program Head for the All-electric Cri-Cri at EADS, explained the plane’s advantages.  “In all-electric mode, the plane’s performance during climb and aerobatics is better compared to a conventional aircraft of this type.  This allows the pilot to …

Would You Believe There Are Two Electric Cri-Cri’s?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

EADS, the Airbus people, gained a high degree of publicity with their four-motor Cri-Cri, as reported here previously, but a new contender has outraced it. Didier Esteyne flew the EADS plane for the press and showed it to good advantage.  His mount was powered by four 15-horsepower electric motors, paired in pods on either side of the plane’s nose. The contra-rotating propellers gave a good performance judging from the in-flight video. EADS’ 60 total horsepower gave it a top speed of 141 miles per hour, but that was eclipsed by another electric Cri Cri, this one with a single 25-horsepower Electravia brushed motor on each stalk.  Bigger motors swinging bigger propellers gave it a speed advantage and a world record of 262 kilometers per …

Smallest Four-Motor Electric Plane Flies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

For a company that employs over 119,000 and has annual revenues approaching 43 billion Euros ($55 billion), the Cri-Cri (Cricket) seems a minuscule part of their enterprise, but garners a huge share of publicity.  Reporters and photographers flocked to Le Bourget field near Paris on September 2 to record the first flight of the petite creation.  The EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V.)  press release explains the excitement.   The all electric Cri-Cri, jointly developed by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association has made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on Thursday. This Cri-Cri is the first-ever four-engined all-electric aerobatic plane. The event has been supported by the French Musée …