EAS VIII: Across the Atlantic – Twice

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Jean-Luc Soullier, holder of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale records for speed and altitude in an aircraft almost lighter than its pilot, has a greater series of ambitions to expand the range and speed of electric aircraft. Having stretched the limits of his Colomban MC-30e with two different motors, he’s looking at a longer-spanned, cleaner aircraft – the Windward Performance Duckhawk – as a means of getting higher speed and much longer range for a truly formidable (tres formidable) crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, not once, but twice. The airplane, with a Rotex motor on the nose and a specially-designed Arplast three-bladed propeller, will weigh a mere 105 kilograms (231 pounds) empty – without batteries. This is considerably less than the lightest …

EAS VIII: Bruno Mombrinie and Dr. Brien Seeley – Economies and Practical Considerations for Sky Taxis

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Bruno Mombrinie, a director for the CAFE Foundation, and Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the organization, gave a one-two presentation on pocket airports and Sky Taxis that examined the practical and operational facets of such a program, first described in detail in a joint NASA/CAFE Foundation document.  According to Bruno’s CAFE biography, “As a freshman, he helped build MIT’s Chrysalis human powered airplane. Later that summer he got to fly the plane several times. ‘The feeling of being so, so high (39ft)…to fly under my own power was beyond…I just wanted to burst…actually I was so out of breath from the effort, I could hardly mouth ‘yippee!’”  (The Chrysalis, and other MIT designs led to Daedalus, the HPA that flew from Crete …

EAS VIII: Klaus Ohlmann Conquers Everest

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Klaus Ohlmann says the sailplanes and solar-powered aircraft in which he has set several world records are powered by a “gravitational engine with an external fusion reactor.”  He has been on a sun-stoked roll the last few years.   His recounting of the epic journey first to fly a Stemme motorglider from Germany to Katmandu, and then to conquer Mount Everest in a sailplane, kept the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium audience enthralled.  That feat alone would be enough for admiration, but his seemingly never-ending series of adventures provoke a bit of awe. He is a member of the Mountain Wave Project (MWP), a group which explores high-altitude weather systems to verify theoretical considerations.   As stated in the MWP’s web site, …

EAS VIII: Calin Gologan and George Bye Make a Sunlit Announcement

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Calin Gologan of PC-Aero GMBH in Germany and George Bye of Bye Aerospace in Colorado made an auspicious announcement about practical solar-electric propulsion advances for manned and unmanned aircraft.  Their presentation at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium pointed toward a possible rebirth in flight training at prices not seen in decades.  Their two companies are forging an alliance called the Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC), which will produce a two-seat, side-by-side sport and training aircraft called the Sun Flyer.  As stated in their press release, “The Company will bring to market the first U.S.-sponsored, practical all-electric airplane serving the training, recreational and general aviation markets.” Gologan and Bye’s talk at the Symposium focused on their joint plans to create …

EAS VIII: High Torque, Efficiency and Powerful Motors

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

David Calley heads Planet Rider LLC, a design group working on a highly innovative three-wheel commuter vehicle that combines pedaling, electric power and aerodynamics to make for an exciting ride.  Any resemblance between this machine and the average e-bike is like the difference between an early Rogallo wing and the Archaeopteryx. He has made a significant notch in fuel savings for big rig trucks with the angular extensions you see on tailgates of trailers cruising America’s highways.  Fuel savings of five percent or more are a boon to fleet operators, thanks to Calley’s patented design, now manufactured by ATDynamics.  He is also a member of the CAFE Foundation’s advisory board. Thus, it was informative to see his presentation at the …

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 …

Silent Falcon in Production

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Bye Aerospace has announced initial production its small unmanned aircraft system, the Silent Falcon™.  Produced by Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS), a former subsidiary of Bye Aerospace, Inc., the Silent Falcon is a mere 25 pounds, but is able to perform six- to 12-hour missions on a mix of battery and solar power. The airplane, of all composite construction, will serve both military and civilian markets, with its small size and quiet operation able to serve well in either capacity.  Its size and weight are virtues in a competitive market, giving “unprecedented performance and value… ready for the market place,” and already in “low rate initial production,” according to John Brown, President of SFUAS.  He adds that “sales teams are …

Dr. Shin to Keynote Electric Aircraft Symposium

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dr. Jaiwon Shin, NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, will close the Friday, April 25 session of the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium with his keynote address, “The NASA Aeronautics Vision and Strategy – How It Relates to Electric Aircraft.”  As Associate Administrator, Dr. Shin “manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction,” according to his official NASA biography.  He co-chairs the National Science & Technology Council’s Aeronautics Science & Technology Subcommittee, a group of federal departments and agencies that fund aeronautics-related research. Its first presidential policy for aeronautics research and development (R&D) was ratified by Executive Order 13419 in December 2006, and now guides such research until 2020.  Dr. Shin oversees and sets policies for an array …

Reaching for the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

SolarStratos, a two-seat, solar-powered airplane, is being readied for record flights in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, just a 25-minute drive from the Solar Impulse hangars in Payerne. Its makers claim that it is the first commercial solar two-seater aircraft in history, and will be the first solar-powered airplane with a pilot to enter the stratosphere.  These heady claims are described on the project’s web site as a “crazy bet,” but it’s too early to make such judgments.  Calin Gologan of PC-Aero GmbH designed the base craft, an expansion of his earlier ultralight electric aircraft, Elektra Two.  The “Record” version of this craft, despite SolarStratos’ extended 20-meter (65 feet, 7 inch) wingspan, weighs a feathery 140 kilograms (308 pounds) empty, and only 350 …