World’s First Electric Tilt-Rotor Aircraft

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

AugustaWestland, after keeping the world’s first electric tilt-rotor aircraft under wraps for nearly two years, is letting the public in on its exciting new design. According to the company, “The tilt rotor technology demonstrator is completely electric powered; designed to hover like a helicopter and convert to a fixed wing aircraft in forward flight thanks to its two integrated rotors which can be tilted through more than 90 degrees. The demonstrator performed its first unmanned tethered flight in June 2011 at AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa facility in Italy and has since performed untethered hovering flights inside a secured area.” Emulating Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey flight characteristics, Project Zero affirms that AugustaWestland thinks tilt-rotor technology is “the best layout for the future …

Fifth Anniversary for Electravia Ultralight’s First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Anne Lavrand, founder and head of Electravia, has over 35 different electric aircraft to her credit, having powered everything from paramotors to a world speed record-holding Cri-Cri  and a speed and altitude record-claiming MC-30. The story officially began five years ago today, though, with a 48-minute flight by an ultralight Souricette, a Michael Barry design with an Electravia-prepared Lynch brushed motor, golf-cart type controller and lithium polymer batteries . In an article from The Times of London, it was given credit as the, “First flight in a conventional light aircraft powered by an electric motor,” and as such a model of frugality.  Barry’s airplane, motor, and batteries might set an owner/builder back 10,000 to 15,000 euros ($13,000 to $19,500) and …

Pantera Rollout at Friedrichshafen

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

Friedrichshafen is the place to be for new aircraft announcements, with PC-Aero yesterday and Pipistrel today showing off new aircraft. Pipistrel, having won the Green Flight Challenge in September, could not rest on its laurels, today sharing the news that, “The revolutionary 4-seat all composite design, featuring retractable undercarriage, 200 kts cruising speed, 1000 NM range, comfortable cabin and a choice of three powerplants – conventional/hybrid/electric – is presented to the World for the very first time.” Those lucky enough to be at Aero 2012 , hall A5, will doubtless flock to see the Pantera, a graceful design that does 200 knots (230 miles per hour) on its 200-hp, Lycoming IO-390 engine while burning 10 US gallons per hour.  This …

Pipistrel’s Panthera Pounces

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Aero, in Friedrichshafen, Germany gets a little more electric every year, with one of this year’s highlights being Jean-Luc Soullier’s flight in his Colomban MC-30 E, setting records for speed and altitude in its class. Another highlight, for a very different class of aircraft, was the unveiling of the Pipistrel Panthera – made even more exciting by the company’s decision to create three powerplant options for the airplane – an internal combustion IO-390 powered speedster, a hybrid engine/motor cruiser, and a battery powered electric version that essentially gives up performance for economy.  The airplane was shown only in large model form at the company’s announcement, but Pipistrel has provided full performance data, an attractive brochure (see the site above), and …

The Electric-Powered Aircraft, A Sequel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

David Ullman, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, author,  and owner of his own consulting firm, Robust Decisions, has published part two of his article, “The Electric Powered Aircraft,” that first appeared in Kitplanes’ October 2009 issue (see our October 18, 2009 entry, “Hear the Hum?  Kitplanes Does”) .  You won’t have to rush to the nearest bookstore for the sequel, since this is online in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Experimenter.  A great deal of the Experimenter is fired up with speculation and skepticism about electric aircraft and their feasibility in the current issue, including an editorial by Patrick Panzera, long-time engine guru and editor of the e-zine.  A great many of the readers’ comments have a “not ready for …

Powerful Pancakes

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

AST, Automation Source Technologies, has a line of compact “pancake” motors that are of interest to those designing electric aircraft. Their CDS Series have power outputs ranging up to 21 kW, efficiencies up to 93.2 percent, and weights of no more than 21 kg. The CDS 150, largest in the line, can be either water or air-cooled, handles inputs from 24 to 96 Volts DC, and operates at 1,000 to 6,000 rpm. High torque peaks, and a three to four times overload capacity might make this eight-pole series worthy of consideration.  

Hear the Hum? Kitplanes Does.

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Kitplanes has an article of great interest to CAFE followers in its November issue. Dr. David Ullman, Oregon State University professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Design, was inspired by his attendance at the Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in April to write a two-part article (the finale’ to be in the December issue) about the exciting future of electric flight. The first part, “Hear the Hum?” provides an overview of what’s currently happening in electric aircraft, and includes a one-page pictorial sidbar of volt-driven flying machines at Oshkosh this year by Dave Martin. In a nod to the CAFE Foundation, it includes a concise explanation of the Aviation Green Prize.  Ullman and Martin share the belief that we will be …