e-Genius Gets Around Quickly, Inspires Others

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Birds of the Same Tail Feather Configuration Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann (emeritus) had a lot to do with designing the 1996 Icare II solar-powered sailplane and the 2011 e-Genius.  Icare II set several world records in its 20 years, most under the guidance of pilot Klaus Ohlmann.  e-Genius won the award for being the quietest airplane at the Green Flight Challenge held in Santa Rosa, California, and was a close second to Pipistrel’s G4 in passenger miles per gallon (equivalent) energy use. Dipl.-Ing. Voit-Nitschmann was kind enough to explain to your editor how the propeller center came to be at the top of the tail on e-Genius.  It’s a similar configuration to that on the Icare II*, and one he …

Pipistrel Opens World’s First True Airplane Charging Station

Dean Sigler Batteries, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On August 30. Pipistrel inaugurated the first electric charging station to fully warrant the name, charging one of their own Alpha Electro trainers.  The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Union from the European Social Fund.  Led by Pipistrel, the LECAD Laboratory, and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, mentors and students developed and constructed a fully-functioning station. Technical characteristics of the charging station:  – capable of charging two electric aircraft at the same time – current strength: 2 x 20 kW – charge speed: one hour to fully charge Alpha Electro – operating voltage 3f 400V AC – WiFi connection to the network As Pipistrel explains, “The goal of the …

2017 Green Speed Cup – Airplanes More Frugal Than Priuses

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Green Speed Cup, held every year except for 2016 since 2011, is measure of an airplane’s efficiency, using a formula from the competition’s web site.  “The scoring will be very simple. The aircraft that flew with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance and speed will win the competition. The scoring of each competitor will be related to the winner. The winner gets 1000 points for one day.” According to Robert Adam, one of the organizers of the Cup, “We had a fantastic Green Speed Cup (and rightfully but reasonably prods your editor for not covering the results sooner.)  Luka Znidarsic from LZ Design won with his “front electric sustainer” Ventus glider. He had to close the gap between battery …

Hybrid Aircraft – Several Empowering Possibilities

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

While we wait (with increasing patience or impatience depending on our personalities) for the next round of battery developments to make pure electric airplanes a reality, hybrid possibilities abound.  The definition of “hybrid” might not be as coherent as those used for automobiles.  Some “hybrids in this entry allow extended letdowns following a primary engine failure.  In that case, the added electric motor/generator gives extra minutes to find a safe landing space.  While both motor and primary engine are operational, the system acts much like an automotive hybrid system, both motor and engine combining outputs for added power, or the electrical portion recharging batteries while the engine maintains cruise power. Some are more like automotive serial systems, an engine-driven generator …

EC04 Design Wins 2016 Berblinger Prize

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A Big Win for Stuttgart Team Dipl-Ing Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Leader for e-Genius at the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, shared this pleasant news:  “I am happy to tell you that our hybrid-electric “ECO4” has won the Berblinger Prize 2016.  ECO4 combines an optimized electric airframe with a modern combustion engine generating electricity. This combination leads to an aircraft which cruises at 120 knots and consumes 40 percent less fuel than comparable state-of-the-art airplanes with conventional propulsion. As a further advantage, a small but powerful battery system enables a silent take-off without the combustion engine running, reducing significantly the noise emissions.”   The Berblinger Prize Gunter Czisch, mayor of Ulm, presented the 23,000 euro ($24,035 …

e-Genius Flies with a Range Extender

Dean Sigler Batteries, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Stuttgart to Barcelona Dipl-Ing* Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for e-Genius with the Institute of aeronautical engineering at Stuttgart University shared the news that e-Genius flew with its range extender for the first time on September 15.  He notes that while the battery-powered airplane can manage trips up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), the hybrid engine/generator pod will enable flights up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).  This would equal a trip from Stuttgart to Barcelona, Spain, according to the e-Genius web site. As the school explains, “With [the] e-Genius hybrid most flights of a typical user case can be done in the cost and energy efficient battery mode – for all longer flights the range extender can be used. Generator …

G4 to HY4 – Swapping Batteries for Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The University of Stuttgart and Pipistrel started down similar paths around 2007, with the Stuttgarters attempting a hydrogen-powered two-seat aircraft, the Hydrogenius; and Pipistrel developing a self-launching craft with either two-stroke power or an equivalent electric motor. The two groups came to rely on one another, with hydrogenius using the forward fuselage and wings of the Taurus G2 with hydrogen tanks in the fuselage and a Sineton motor on the tail.   On February 27, 2008, Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, the father of the solar powered aircraft Icare 2 and the unofficial World Record holder for distance flown in a solar powered aircraft, along with dipl. ing. Steffen Geinitz and dipl. ing. Len Schumann met with Pipistrel leaders, including CEO Ivo Boscarol and …

SmartFlyer – an Electric Four-Seater?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The people behind the Smartflyer, a Swiss design concept now under development ask, “Why does the Smartflyer look like this?  With a tail-mounted electric motor, it’s a bit reminiscent of e-Genius, and also a bit like a strutless Rutan Skigull.  In fact, the basic configuration has been used on many significant aircraft over the last several decades, as a segment of Smartflyer’s web site shows. As Herr Professor Dipl-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, Project Leader on e-Genius explained, several benefits accrue from this arrangement of aerodynamic elements. Compared to a conventional touring motor glider a substantial larger propeller-diameter can be realized without a high and consequentially heavier undercarriage. Therefore the propeller-efficiency will increase. The front body part has the aerodynamic quality of a modern glider (no …

Germany to Two Places in Austria – On Solar Wings

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

e-Genius spent July 4 crossing the Alps both ways from Germany to Italy, a first for a two-seat, battery-powered airplane.  Although the Elektra One Solar from PC-Aero GmbH is lighter and seats only one, its flights starting two weeks before and ending two days before e-Genius’s journey are equally proud accomplishments. The outgoing flight started in Unterwössen, Germany on June 25, crossed over the Grossglockner and landed, according to PC-Aero’s description, “In the sunny town of Lienz in East Tyrol, Austria.  The flight took around 2.5 hours. After the successful flight on the south side of the Alps, Elektra One Solar started [on its next trip] on 2 July (few days before the eGenius of the University of Stuttgart also flew …

e-Genius Crosses the Alps on Battery Power – Twice!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

It makes your editor’s morning to receive such wonderful emails.  Dipl. Ing. Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for Overall Aircraft Systems on e-Genius wrote the following: “We had a great Saturday – we flew from Stuttgart over the Alps to Italy, recharged the batteries and flew back on the same day!  For us, this shows the practicability of battery powered aircraft and we think this is a milestone towards an eco-friendly and efficient aviation.” The e-Genius web page on the University of Stuttgart site expands on the story, describing the flight’s accomplishment. “A milestone towards an energy efficient and carbon-neutral aviation has been reached.” While Americans rested up for their Fourth of July festivities, “Saturday morning, the electric aircraft “e-Genius” …