Dr. Seeley at AirVenture 2013

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

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 Leave a Comment

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 …

Brien Seeley to Speak at AirVenture’s Innovations Pavilion

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Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and head of the CAFE Foundation, presented his vision for the future of small, electric commuter aircraft at the seventh annual Electric Aircraft Symposium held in late April at Santa Rosa, California.  He gave a forceful, detailed picture of why we need to lift some of the traffic from the highways and examined the benefits that society and the environment would accrue from such sweeping changes. Imagine, for instance, not having to build another highway or on-ramp because existing roads were capable of handling the decreased surface traffic without further expansion.  Think of being able to hop over traffic on a 50-to-400 mile excursion – something not handled well at all by current surface or aerial …

Pipistrel Shares Three New Products and Springs a Surprise

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Slovenia, a tiny country which can be seen in its entirety from a light airplane, makes an astonishing array of such vehicles at the Pipistrel factory, awarded a European Union prize as the epitome of green manufacturing facilities. The company uses solar energy to power its operation and reports the number of kilowatts flowing through its plant on its web site. Naturally, we’d expect an environmentally responsible firm to build environmentally responsible products, and Pipistrel is committed to going green.  Dr. Gregor Veble, Head of Research in the Research and Development Department; and Tine Tomažič, researcher and designer, shared a multiplicity of new products and gave an all-too-brief glimpse of a surprising future project with participants at the seventh annual …

Seventh Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium Unveils New Technology

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

This year’s CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa, California had surprises from several sources, including new aircraft, batteries, and materials that will help make the future a good place to be.  Some technologies are maturing and some are about to spring forth in ways we won’t see coming. We’ll be looking at each presentation in detail in future postings, but know for certain that the electric aircraft movement is turning a corner as things become integrated in an ever-quicker progression.  We will see significant announcements in the next few months. The Symposium included not only technology, but seriously looked at how neighborhoods and society in general can integrate these new technologies in a more responsible way than the …

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 …

UAVs, Canine First Officers, and Semi-automated Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, will speak on “The CAFE Green Flight Challenge Program,” at the Unmanned Aircraft Systems conference at San Diego, California, October 10 through 12, 2012. His talk fits well into the conference’s sub-title, “Opportunities, Needs and Challenges,” and will probably reflect the direction he’s been pointing to with recent CAFE presentations on aerial commuting and pocket airports.  The Green Flight Challenge certainly showed that the nascent technology is capable of giving fast, short-range transport at a potentially economical price. The conference will focus on military uses of UAVs and how to integrate them with existing hardware and systems. Since many military-based unmanneds will be navigating our civilian skies in the near future, civilian …

Pipistrel,PADA, and “Gus” Raspet

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Pipistel, the innovative Slovenian company that won the Green Flight Challenge with its G4 electric four-seater, continues to earn plaudits from the aviation industry. At this year’s AirVenture, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual gathering at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the company was honored with the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award and original and pace-setting design work exemplified in Pipistrel products. The Exerimental Aircraft Association has awarded the “Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award” annually since 1960 “to a person who has made outstanding advancements in the field of light aircraft design and the Experimental Aircraft Association.”  John Thorp, Lockheed engineer and designer, was the first recipient, with those following including Curtiss Pitts, Burt Rutan, Alan and Dale Klapmeier and Gordon Pratt. Taja Boscarol, …

Annual Personal Aircraft Design Academy Dinner and Presentation at AirVenture 2012

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Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, and Program Chair for the Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA), announces that the group’s catered buffet “networking” dinner will be followed by a special meeting for top aircraft designers, enthusiasts and aero engineers as part of AirVenture 2012 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. His announcement highlights the following: “The dinner will be at 6:15 p. m. on Friday July 27 at the Memorial Wall Tent near the Air Academy Lodge, with the PADA meeting following at 7:30 PM in the air-conditioned Vette Theatre inside the AirVenture Museum, a short walk from the tent. “This year, we’ve made it easy to register online in advance for the limited seating available. Please visit this site now …

AVweb Talks to Dr. Seeley About EAS VI

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The sixth annual Electric Electric Aircraft Symposium, CAFE’s premier event, got a lot of press attention this year, including lead story status from AOPA and acknowledgement from Engadget and AVweb.  We’ll start with the one that’s most fun to listen to – a podcast from AVweb. Mary Grady of AVweb interviewed Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, about the just completed Electric Aircraft Symposium at Santa Rosa, California, which drew participants from at least eight countries and 10 multi-national corporations.  With Federal Aviation Administration representation and a former Environmental Protection Agency head signed up to attend, the Symposium drew some high-level attention this year. Dr. Seeley was enthusiastic about the rapidly maturing technology and industry, with Tom Gunnarson …