SmartFlyer Challenge: Electric Airplanes Fill Swiss Skies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

There are few times one will see more than one electric airplane at the same place – outside of perhaps, Friedrichshafen’s e-Flight Expo every year.  But to see them flying at the same field on the same day is an even grander delight.  That happened September 9 and 10 at Grenchen, Switzerland.  Grenchen hosted the world’s first all-electric fly-in – the SmartFlyer Challenge.  It drew an appreciable number of electric aircraft of all sizes and types despite the clouds and rain that kept some from scaling the mountains. An Electric Three-Plane Formation Flight The Siemens-powered Magnus e-Fusion from the Czech Republic, the electric Phoenix motorglider, and Stuttgart University’s e-Genius all flew formation with a Piper L-4, a World War Two …

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 …

Siemens 260 kW Motor First Flight, and a Siemens at the 2016 SAS

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

Siemens Motors announced the first public flight of their SP260D motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft – although the motor had made its maiden, but not so public, flight on June 24.  Putting out 260 kilowatts (348.5 horsepower) in near silence according to Siemens, the motor will certainly be capable of putting the Extra through its paces. The motor weighs only 50 kilograms (110 pounds), and with its Siemens inverter adds little weight to the nose of the Extra.  Pipistrel-designed battery packs grouped behind it push the power-pack weight toward the center of gravity, which should enhance handling qualities. As Electronics Weekly reports, “Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminum ‘end shield’, for example, …

Hungary Scores an Electric First

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

Thanks to Richard Glassock, we have news of the first electric airplane to fly in Hungary.  The Magnus eFusion made its maiden flight at the Matkópuszta airfield in Kecskemet, Hungary on April 11. A two-seat, side-by-side, low-wing monoplane, eFusion is an all-composite craft with fixed tricycle gear.  Its 410 kilogram empty weight includes batteries and a ballistic recovery system. With a maximum takeoff weight of 600 kilograms, the airplane normally flies with a Rotax 912 or UL Power 260 iSA, both four-cylinder, four-stroke units meant for the Light Sport Aircraft market. A fusion of the Corvus Racer 540, a high performance aerobatic aircraft flown in the Red Bull Air Races and the Corvus Phantom, a Light Sport Aircraft, the Magnus …

Pipistrel Rolls Out Hypstair Hybrid for Run-up

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

Pipistrel took the wraps off its latest iteration of what was originally called the Panthera, the hybrid variant of which has been renamed the HYPSTAIR, a pun that fails to diminish the significance of the achievement. Pipistrel clams the most powerful aerial hybrid electric power train, powering it up on February 9 and making a mighty, but subdued noise, much of it coming from the specially-designed, five-bladed propeller. Putting out 200 kilowatts (268 horsepower) at full throttle, the Siemens motor turned the propeller using first just the generator, and then the motor in low and high power modes. The propulsor (perhaps a new term to consider as hybrid power becomes a common operational type for electric aircraft) produces 100 kW (134 …

The Sustainable Aviation Symposium – A Wealth of Knowledge

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Coming May 6th and 7th, the first-ever Sustainable Aviation Symposium will take place at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel. This year’s presenters include an international array of accomplished talent in aerodynamics, power, and energy storage, with a few surprises on tap.  Keynote speakers include: NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell PADA Trophy winner and Pipistrel Designer Dr. Tine Tomazic Dr. Joseph Kallo of the DLR (Germany’s NASA) Lehigh University’s Dr. Justin Jaworski Pelican Aero Group’s Philip Barnes Additional presentations include Nobel Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Eric Raymond, the highest time solar pilot in the world (his latest 6-seat solar aircraft pictured above); Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University with the latest in battery …

Siemens Makes a Big, Light Motor

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Its 14 kilogram (30.8 pound), 85 kilowatt (114 horsepower) motor already graces the nose of the PIpistrel WattsUp, and Siemens seems to have expanded its aeronautical offerings with its new 50 kilogram (110 pound), 260 kilowatt (348.5 hp.) unit.  According to Dr. Frank Anton, Head of eAircraft at Siemens Corporate Technology, the new motor “make[s] it possible to build series hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats.” Siemens claims a world record of five kilowatts per kilogram, although Roman Susnik, with his Emrax motors pulling close to 10 kilowatts per kilogram, might contest that, and LaunchPoint is working toward eclipsing that mark.  To be fair, it’s certainly a giant boost over the power-to-weight ratio of most industrial-type electric motors, which …