Verdego Aero – Another Variant on VTOL Travel

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

A Controversy for Starters Skeptics abound concerning the current spate of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines.  The latest entry in the competition comes from the trio of Erik Lindbergh, Eric Bartsch, and Pat Anderson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Their Verdego eight-rotor machine looks a bit like the Airbus A3 Vahana, but has pusher, rather than puller, propellers on the rear wing. On his Linked In page, Bartsch jumps into an ongoing fray with his article, “The Inevitability of Short-Range Urban Aviation – Why I’m Betting Against the “Flying Uber” Skeptics.” It takes aim at the opposing point of view in “Going Direct: On the Insanity of Flying Ubers,” by Plane & Pilot writer Robert Goyer.  To shorten the two …

What We’re Looking Forward to at AirVenture 2017

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We’re looking forward to seeing progress in electric aircraft, and this year may be an opportunity to see real breakthroughs. Two from Pipistrel Besides its regular lineup of high-quality aircraft, Pipistel will have two Alpha Electro trainers on display in their display area.  This is the first time these aircraft will be seen in America, and they’ll be at the right of AirVenture’s main entrance gate in sites 86 and 87. In the Ultralight Area Mark Beierle will display and fly Bravo, Richard Steeves’ e-Gull.  This red, white and blue gem features a power system made from Zero Motorcycle components and boasts an impressive rate of climb and exceptional short field capabilities. Another ultralight, the EMG-6 developed over the last …

Powering Imagination in Seattle

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seattle’s Museum of Flight on Boeing Field will host a one-day event, Powering Imagination, an electric flight symposium organized by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Presentations will be held in the William M. Allen Theater at the Museum, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 28 and ending at 5:00 p.m.   Admission is free, but RSVP to to guarantee a seat. Topics include an update on the NASA LEAPTech aircraft being designed and built by Joby Aviation and powered by Joby motors.  This 20-motor (!) aircraft will achieve a high coefficient of lift from the motors that distribute thrust over the entire span. Eric Lindbergh will talk about the Quiet Flight Initiative, a multi-pronged approach to …

Open Source Biofuel at Embry-Riddle

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Open source development is a paradigm shift in the way of doing business for many new enterprises, doing away with corporate security and patents to promote the free exchange of information and ideas.  One of the latest efforts, for creating jet biofuel, has senior students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona inviting “the participation of students and academics from universities around the world,” according to Green Air Online.  Companies who could benefit from products such as renewable jet fuel are also invited to join. Much of the work will be based on adding value to the biodiesel transesterification reactor invented by University of Connecticut professor Dr. Richard Parnas.  His small, efficient, and inexpensive process converts waste vegetable oil (WVO) …

The Sixth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium

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

The CAFE Foundation will hold its sixth Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 27 and 28, 2012 at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California and at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, site of the Green Flight Challenge. Not only will there be a stellar lineup of speakers, but flying demonstrations of electric and hybrid aircraft, a first at any EAS. Jack Langelaan, team leader for the GFC-winning Electro Taurus G4 team, and Tine Tomazic from Pipistrel will share insights on the design and flight of the 403.5 epmpg aircraft.  David Calley, Chief Technical Officer for Motor Excellence, will describe ideal low-RPM motors for electric aircraft, and Mark Moore from NASA’s Langley Research Center will share breakthroughs in distributed …

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 – 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 …

Embry Riddle Begins GFC Test Flights

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

On August 23, 2011, the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Green Flight Challenge hybrid-powered modified Stemme S10, the Eco-Eagle, began its ground tests on the Daytona Beach International taxiways, “Getting ATC used to us!”   The next day saw several ground-skimming “flights,” starting at 2-feet, and rising to 10 and 50-feet high runs, all with the gear down.  The day’s flights ended with a trip around the pattern for the airport’s longest runway. August 25 saw a morning excursion of 45 minutes, with the airplane flying in the face of the approaching Hurricane Irene.  Test pilot Mikhael Ponso reported beautiful clouds and no high winds during the seven laps around the field.  As he tested the gear retraction and various flap settings, …

Alternair, X-Caps™ Teaming Up From Sky to Parking Lot

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Stephen Boutenko, founder of Alternair, LLC and Karl Young, founder of Extreme Capacitors have found common cause in analyzing how best to make an electric Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) a possibility.   Alternair’s Amp LSA was featured in a blog entry last year, and Karl Young’s work with ultracapacitors was the subject of his presentation at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium. Alternair has recently established a temporary design department in Prescott, Arizona (in association with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) and is moving his manufacturing facility to Ashland, Oregon, where he hopes to begin production of the highly-sophisticated Amp. Although Amp will be developed around existing lithium-polymer battery technology, Young reports that his creation of high power/high energy ultracapacitors has demonstrated, …