Volocopter Starts Autonomous Air Service Trials in Dubai

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In June, Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority (RTA) announced its plans to test fly Volocopter’s 200 over the country by the last quarter of this year.  The government and Volocopter have succeeded in meeting that timeline, with demonstrations this week of Volocopter’s quiet ability to fly autonomously (although without passengers so far).  Aerial transit will be a small part of a much broader scheme, the government intent on providing excellent public transportation, as shown in this well-produced video. To ensure meeting Dubai’s ambitious goal, Volocopter’s designers tested the machine thoroughly in German skies.  Note the Grob Strato 2C by one of the hangars, the twin-engined airplane in which Einar Enevoldson, founder of the Perlan Project, set the still extant world …

Perlan 2 Flies

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Perlan 2, the pressurized sailplane destined to attempt flights to the edge of space, made its first test hop Wednesday, September 23 at Redmond, Oregon.  It was towed to 5,000 feet above Redmond Municipal Airport, stayed aloft for about a half-hour, and alighted perfectly under the expert guidance of James (“Jim”) Payne, Chief Pilot for the Airbus-sponsored project.  Morgan Sandercock, Co-pilot and Project Manager, rode the back seat and had a turn at the controls. According to post-flight chat, James and Morgan found things to their liking, with everything, including the huge dive brakes, working as designed and as simulations predicted.  A video crew, on hand to capture the event, used a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to follow Perlan 2 …

EAS IX: Calin Gologan Talks SolarStratos 

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Calin Gologan, founder and CEO of PC-Aero GmbH, has many electric and solar-assisted aircraft flying right now, and is responsible for the design the Aero Electric Aircraft Company’s SunFlyer training airplane, 20 of which have been ordered by Spartan Aeronautical University.  The initial Elektro One has flourished in a number of variants, including the SunFlyer, a two-seat, side-by side trainer developed with George Bye in Colorado. Another variant of that original design, Solar Stratos is destined to combine record-setting altitudes with scientific research.  Its banner, “Manned Flight at the Edge of Space,” highlights the craft’s intended mission to reach 80,000 feet as its initial goal, a record that will be hard to beat.  Its mission is also a research venture, …

SolarStratos Construction to Begin in January

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Just as we have competing teams working out their plans to cross the Atlantic on electrically-powered wings, several projects are aiming high, attempting to reach altitudes normally achieved only by SR-71 pilots.  With balloon jumps topping 130,000 feet and the Perlan Project in final stages of construction for test flights early next year, the latest entrant in stratosphere-busting climbs will attempt the mission on batteries and solar power. Raphael Domjan, a self-described “eco-adventurer” and founder of Mission SolarStratos, will attempt by 2017 to top 80,000 feet in a two-seat, twin-motored craft designed and built by Calin Gologan and his PC-Aero team.  The airplane, a long-winged derivation of Gologan’s Elektra Two Solar, will rely on recent developments between Gologan and his …

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 …

Perlan Project Gets Good Press in the New York Times

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Science reporter Matthew Wald visited the Perlan Project in Bend, Oregon recently to see for himself an aircraft that just might conquer the heights – 90,000 feet – in a world-record attempt that will investigate the polar vortex and the ozone hole. His report in the October 21 New York Times highlights the intellectual investment in the project, with extremes of aircraft design reaching toward extreme goals.  Perlan II will fly higher than any powered or unpowered aircraft in a sustained fashion.  Zoom climbs in which American and Russian fighters emulated rocket ships to reach altitude records were more ballistic than controlled.  Those who recall The Right Stuff will remember Chuck Yeager’s frantic and finally unrecoverable tail slide back from …

PC-Aero Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A Green Flight Challenge entrant, PC-Aero’s Elektra One, has won the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award at AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, becoming the latest winner of this important award for innovation in the pursuit of “green” aviation. Past winners of the Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft include: Pipistrel: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best  Electric Aircraft LZ Design: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best  Electric Propulsion System Solar Impulse: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen  Outstanding Achievement Award Yuneec International: 2010 AirVenture Best  Electric Aircraft Sonex: 2010 AirVenture Best Electric Aircraft  Subsystem Lange Aviation: 2010 AirVenture Individual  Achievement Award According to Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh and founder of LEAP, the organization’s, “Programs recognize, inspire and incentivize the innovation that drives our culture, economy and future.  The LEAP …

Lucky 13 to Fly in Green Flight Challenge

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Following rigorous evaluations of all aircraft to ensure they meet all standards for the contest, Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, announced the 13 entrants who will compete in the Green Flight Challenge at Santa Rosa, California between July 11 and 17, 2011.  This exciting event will offer the public a first view of some incredible designs and resourceful competitors.  Since the minimum performance required for consideration includes things such as the ability to fly a 200 mile course at 100 mph or better average speed, the ability to clear a 50-foot barrier on a 2,000 foot runway during both takeoff and landing, and the efficiency to attain at least 200 passenger miles per gallon during the overall flight, all aircraft are obviously the most …

Green Flight Challenge: Elektra One Progress

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dipl. Ing. Calin Gologan, President of PC-Aero, showed the completed version of Elektra One, a Green Flight Challenge contender, at Friedrichshafen’s Expo for Sustainable Mobility in June. Over the last two years, PC-Aero has designed a series of light, electric-powered aircraft.  As Gologan explains, “Using the existent technology it is possible to fly with a one- and a two-seat aircraft without CO2-emission for more than 3 hours, without noise and for lower operation costs in comparison with classic aircrafts. This is the future of leisure aviation as a bridge to the next step: electric transportation.” Just two months after its debut at Aero 2010, Elektra One graced the halls again as part of “The Electric Avenue”.  Surrounded by electric vehicles of …

Green Flight Challenge Competitors Come Together on Perlan Project

Dean Sigler GFC 1 Comment

The Cafe Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge, scheduled for 2011, has drawn some impressive competitors with its $1.5 million prize.  Two of these, Greg Cole of Windward Performance, who will field a two-seat motorglider, and Einar Enevoldson, leader of the PC-Aero team, which will launch its Elektra One (see “PC-Aero’s Elektra One,” April 11, 2010), are working together quite collegially on a challenge of their own. Before his death in 2007, adventurer Steve Fossett, with co-pilot Enevoldson, had set the sailplane world altitude record in Perlan I, a modified Glaser-Dirks DG-500.  In a continuation of that ambitious adventure, Einar, Greg, and Project Manager Morgan Sandercock are creating Perlan II, a pressurized sailplane that will explore the realm of the nacreous, or …