Adam and Jamie are Paying Attention

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Seeley alerted your editor this morning that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman’s web site,, 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 …

PADA Lectures Highlight Innovation

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The 2014 Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA) dinner and awards ceremony, the latter held in the Vette Theater at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Museum, highlighted design innovation and the possible commercial exploitation of new technology.  Dr. Brien Seeley, Founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, hosted the evening and introduced your CAFE blog editor, who gave an overview of innovations in aircraft, avionics and powerplants he’d encountered on his daily hikes around Wittman Field. Dr. Seeley had the honor of presenting this year’s PADA trophy to John O’Leary, Vice President and General Manager of Airbus Americas Engineering (AAE), for the parent company’s development of the E-Fan, a twin-motored personal airplane that has been a highlight of the Paris and Farnborough …

EAS VIII: Bruno Mombrinie and Dr. Brien Seeley – Economies and Practical Considerations for Sky Taxis

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Bruno Mombrinie, a director for the CAFE Foundation, and Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the organization, gave a one-two presentation on pocket airports and Sky Taxis that examined the practical and operational facets of such a program, first described in detail in a joint NASA/CAFE Foundation document.  According to Bruno’s CAFE biography, “As a freshman, he helped build MIT’s Chrysalis human powered airplane. Later that summer he got to fly the plane several times. ‘The feeling of being so, so high (39ft)…to fly under my own power was beyond…I just wanted to burst…actually I was so out of breath from the effort, I could hardly mouth ‘yippee!’”  (The Chrysalis, and other MIT designs led to Daedalus, the HPA that flew from Crete …

EAS VIII: Making Small Airplanes Ride Smoothly

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. C. P. (Case) van Dam of the University of California at Davis provided some counter-intuitive pointers on making small airplanes ride more smoothly to participants at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in late April.  His solutions for ride quality enhancement in small airplanes are an essential ingredient in making electric Sky Taxis a plausible reality.  Because at least initially many electric aircraft are constrained to long wing spans and light wing loadings, they are subject to “perturbations of significant magnitude to be unacceptable.”  These disruptions of the intended altitude and direction of the aircraft can be more upsetting to passengers than to the aircraft itself, but van Dam had several suggestions to alleviate the vertical and lateral accelerations …

EAS VIII: High Efficiency Forward Swept Propellers at Low Speed

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Working with Craig D. Paxton, Peter J. Gryn, Erisa K Hines, and  Ulises Perez, Dr. Ge-Cheng Zha of the University of Miami Department of Aeronautics and a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Fellow, has worked on a method to improve propeller efficiency and reduce blade  stall using a forward tangential swept configuration.  Dr. Zha wowed EAS VII attendees last year with his astonishing high-lift, high-speed wing design.  This year, he gave hope for advanced propeller design. The professor and his team are trying to increase general aviation fuel efficiency and reduce pollution.  Propellers, imparting the energy from the engine or motor to the air, are a good place to start. Most current propellers are axial and are straight bladed or …

Dr. Ajay Misra Leads Off With a Hit at EAS VIII

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Not to indulge in hyperbole, but people who missed the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium will, like the laggards mentioned in Henry V’s speech, “think themselves accurs’d they were not here”  (Shakespeare, Henry V, act 4, scene III). After the Friday morning introductions by Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and president of the CAFE Foundation, things immediately went into high gear with the presentation by Dr. Ajay Misra, NASA Glenn Research Center.  A member of the Senior Executive Service, he is Chief of the Structures and Materials Division in the Research & Technology Directorate.  In this position, Dr. Misra has the responsibility for planning, advocating, coordinating, organizing, directing and supervising all phases of Division research and business activities. His degrees in …

EAS VIII – A Day and a Half You’ll Never Forget

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Who would pass up a chance to stay at a nice resort, attend lectures that challenge and inspire, and meet at poolside with speakers who bring some of the sharpest minds in the world to bear on some of the biggest problems we all face?  Let’s face it.  Global warming probably won’t be going away anytime soon, and aviation seems destined to play a bigger part in polluting our otherwise near-perfect atmosphere. Unless…we learn how to make our favorite activity (in the top five for most of us, anyway), into a more responsible way to travel and recreate.  Since solving the problems which go with that responsibility will involve the best in aerodynamics, power systems and new, efficient technology, the …

Call for EAS VIII Papers

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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:“

Aviation Week Recognizes CAFE Foundation’s Efforts

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 Speaks at AIAA Conference, NASA Dryden

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Dr. Brien Seeley, Founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, has been giving a series of talks at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013, before a gathering of technical experts at NASA’s Dryden Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force and at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) International Powered Lift Conference in Los Angeles. The International Powered Lift Conference focuses on the latest developments in Vertical or Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft research, concepts, and programs, something of great interest to CAFE in its development of airplanes capable of using pocket airports. Pocket Airports will require a special type of airplane – electric, according to Dr. Seeley, and capable of taking off with a ground roll of …