Pipistrel,PADA, and “Gus” Raspet

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

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, …

Vimeo Viewing of First Ever Electric Aircraft Charging Station

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

Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, points us toward a video his son Damon just posted to Vimeo.  It depicts part of the 2011 Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google, for which the Foundation played host. Dr. Seeley explains, “NASA’s Chief Technologist Joe Parrish refers to the Wright Brothers in the video as Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire and I cut the hose to a gasoline dispenser nozzle.”  The symbolic hose is then proudly replaced by a very real electric charging station for airplanes, capable of providing a continuous 9,600 Watts to each of 12 aircraft and used to charge the Pipistrel G-4, e-Genius and Embry-Riddle’s hybrid Stemme during the contest. The video features great in-flight footage of …

A Weighty Matter

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Several readers have asked for the weights of the Green Flight Challenge competitors.  Here they are, pound for pound, among the most efficient flying machines on the planet. Those who wish can calculate different takes on that efficiency, including overall glide ratios for the course, ton-miles per gallon energy equivalent, or more exotic parameters.   Empty Weight Takeoff Weight in Competition   Pounds Pounds e-Genius 1670.2 2070.2 Pipistrel   G4 2491.0 3294.1 Embry-Riddle 1970.0 2370.0 Phoenix 754.0 1199.7  

Green Flight Challenge Final Results

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 15 Comments

Steve Williams, CAFE Foundation board member and e-totalizer guru, released the final results for the NASA Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google, held at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport from September 25 through October 1, 2011.  Figures show a profound difference between the two electric winners and the two gas-powered and hybrid runners-up. All competitors flew extremely clean motorgliders with demonstrated lift-to-drag ratios between 25:1 and 35:1.  Possible explanations for the large differences in energy use include low cooling drag for electric aircraft and the efficiency of electric motors – but the differences are still surprising. Note that a little over 11 US gallons of gasoline (energy equivalent) were used to fly seven people (Embry Riddle’s Eco-Eagle flew with only one pilot) over …

Green Flight Challenge Winners

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday, October 3 was the second day of Nobel Prize announcements, but also marked the Green Flight Challenge Expo, sponsored by Google and staged under the control tower on Moffett Field, home of NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California. The four airplanes that flew in the Challenge at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma Country Airport in Santa Rosa, California were joined by Greg Stevenson’s full-size mockup of his GFC design and a Pipistrel Virus that had won an earlier NASA/CAFE Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge.  Stevenson’s airplane was a reminder that there were numerous entrants that, for a variety of reasons, could not attend.  There is a huge number of aircraft in the wings, so to speak, that will fill these …

Green Flight Challenge – Days Three and Five

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

As if in answer to the most fervent prayers by CAFE Foundation organizers, Tuesday, September 27 dawned as a bright, windless morning, perfect for the planned 200 -mile aerial trek that each of four teams would undertake in the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. Each would fly a large, tightly-followed out-and-return loop around the Sonoma Valley, reaching the radio tower array on the peaks north of Geyserville, then returning for one of three passes (the fourth being the descent to land) over the CAFE Foundation hangar at the west end of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  Each would have to reach at least 4,000 feet at the end of a 17-mile climb and would need to track within …

Green Flight Challenge – Day Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday morning, September 26, many of us had our first view of an electric airplane in flight. After the weighing team rolled Jim Lee and Jeff Shingleton’s Phoenix motorglider from the hangar onto its impound location and completed initial weigh-ins for the remaining three aircraft, the airplanes were staged for the first flying event of the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. With technical inspections and weighing completed, the four airplanes lined up to check their noise levels and their ability to clear an imaginary 50-foot barrier atop a cherry picker  2,000 feet from the top of the number “9” on runway 19 at Santa Rosa, California’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  As each aircraft rolled out to their …

Green Flight Challenge – Day One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation

  Sunday, September 25 marked the kickoff of the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google, a NASA Centennial Challenge managed by the CAFE Foundation, with a thorough technical inspection for each entrant, followed by a weigh-in.  Held at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, the event is an event of international importance, despite the small turnout. With only four entrants making an appearance out of the original 13 that had announced and made it through the rigorous design review, there might be cause for disappointment. Consider, though, the Berblinger competition held in April at the Aero Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany. 36 teams signed up, 24 made it to the Expo, 13 started the course and eight finished. The GFC has a comparable start-finish …

Ingenious e-Genius

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

At the third annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in San Carlos, California in 2009, designers from Germany and Slovenia showed their plan for a hydrogen-powered aircraft called Hydrogenius.  Today, a newly constructed, battery-powered “e-Genius” (developed along parallel lines with Hydrogenius) will be Eric Raymond’s mount for the July 10-17 Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California.  Eric writes that “e-Genius is now flying, and has reached the required 100 mph.” Hydrogenius’s original layout, replaced for the Green Flight Challenge with a simpler lithium-polymer battery-only system.  1 – Hydrogen tank 2 – Radiator 3 – Stack Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 4 – System Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 5 – Power Distribution Unit 6 – LiPoly Battery to start the fuel cell system 7 – …