EAS VIII: Making Small Airplanes Ride Smoothly

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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“

Aviation Week Recognizes CAFE Foundation’s Efforts

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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 …

NASA, CAFE Aims and Goals Converge

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Charles F. Bolden, Jr., a retired U. S. Marine Corps Major General, astronaut and now NASA Administrator,  had enough adventures in any one of his careers to have made several who’s who lists.  The twelfth administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, his previous careers included 34-years in the Marine Corps during which he spent 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office,  traveled to orbit four times on the space shuttle, deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, and flew on the first U. S.-Russian joint shuttle mission. As a Marine fighter pilot, he flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict; and during the first half of 1998, served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary …

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 …

Making Graphene and Carbon Fibers Even Lighter and Stronger

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …