How Cheaply Can One Fly?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

How low(cost) can you go and still fly?   That question forms one of the pursuits of the Minimalist Airplane Study Group, hosted by William Rich on Yahoo Groups.  He may have found an answer that leads to several intriguing alternative uses for the type of electric powerplant described below.  Use of model aircraft components leads to a low-cost build, and judicious use of off-the-shelf parts from other hobbies keeps costs low and speeds up the development process. He points to a hack from Laserhacker.com, which uses a motor, controller, propeller batteries and connectors one might find at the local hobby shop.  This assemblage manages to fly a paramotor despite the small size of the motor and the relatively small size …

Eric Raymond: Skyping from the Sky

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond and his wife Irena fly their Sunseeker Duo from the Aeroporto Voghera Rivanazzano near their home in Voghera, Italy.  The Provincia di Pavia provides wonderful architectural and scenic backdrops for their flights, something captured briefly in a video they filmed last year for Skype and Microsoft.  To Eric’s surprise, the commercial was finally released this month. The Raymonds and their collaborators are part of a larger advertising campaign for Skype and Microsoft, with their high-tech offerings complementing the wireless communications tools and the ad’s graphics. Eric and Irena, John Lynch, and Jason Rohr perform well for the cameras, but Eric had an extra challenge in the aerial filming.  “I was flying in formation with a Phantom drone!” Microsoft …

Solar Impulse Makes it to Mountain View

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At 11:44 PDT, April 22, Solar Impulse 2, expertly piloted by Bertrand Piccard through tricky winds above Moffett Airfield, made its second landing in the United State, almost three  years after Solar Impulse 1 had left on its flight eastward* and just in time to close out Earth Day. HB-SIA (Solar Impulse 1) made its trip across America in six hops, none lasting more than 21 hours and 22 minutes.  HB-SIB (Solar Impulse 2) flew six hops between Abu Dhabi and Nanjing, China emulating the stages of the American crossing in distance and duration.  Things reached record-setting levels after that.  The 44-hour trip from Nanjing to Nagoya, Japan gave pilot Andre’ Borschberg a real workout, followed by his record-setting 117-hour …

EnergyOr Ups the Ante for Endurance

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Staying airborne for more than an hour or two might seem like a huge leap for battery-powered electric aircraft.  Inspired designers like Eric Raymond have been able to use solar cells to extend their flights to near-perpetual states.  A large craft like Solar Impulse 2 remains in flight for up to five successive days and nights only through careful energy management and flight planning.  Researchers are looking at hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to batteries, with the hopes of achieving greater endurance. One company, EnergyOr, has developed two still small fuel cells to power their rotary- and fixed-wing drones, setting several records in the process.  With payloads and maximum takeoff weights that enable carrying a 4K camera or large …

The Sustainable Aviation Symposium – A Wealth of Knowledge

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Coming May 6th and 7th, the first-ever Sustainable Aviation Symposium will take place at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel. This year’s presenters include an international array of accomplished talent in aerodynamics, power, and energy storage, with a few surprises on tap.  Keynote speakers include: NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell PADA Trophy winner and Pipistrel Designer Dr. Tine Tomazic Dr. Joseph Kallo of the DLR (Germany’s NASA) Lehigh University’s Dr. Justin Jaworski Pelican Aero Group’s Philip Barnes Additional presentations include Nobel Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Eric Raymond, the highest time solar pilot in the world (his latest 6-seat solar aircraft pictured above); Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University with the latest in battery …

Second Sunseeker Duo Calendar Here

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond, designer and builder of three solar-powered aircraft, along with his wife Irena, take some pretty astonishing pictures.  They work from a unique aerial platform, the Sunseeker Duo they completed and now fly together.  Their travels and adventures are large-screen worthy, and they share them with their 2016 Calendar.  Eric explains. Dear Solar Flight and glider fans, We had the most amazing year ever flying the SUNSEEKER DUO here in Europe and we would love to share the vistas with you! Just now we are finishing our photo calendar in time for Christmas, and offering it for anyone’s gift to a pilot or themselves. Since our flight in the SUNSEEKER DUO to the Swiss Alps was very successful and …

Sunseeker Duo, Dynamic Duo Do the Alps

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Irena Raymond shared the following about her and huband Eric’s flight across the Alps from northern Italy to Switzerland and return – a four-day tour of the mountainous country, and validation of the Sunseeker Duo’s performance. The latest of a series of accomplishments, the trip’s mission was to “stop and show the airplane at different airports,” according to Irena. Remember that Eric crossed the United States on solar power in Sunseeker I in 1990, 23 years before Solar Impulse managed the feat. Eric crossed the Alps on his way from Friedrichshafen, Germany to the World Air Games in 2009, guiding Sunseeker II over sometimes cloud-shadowed peaks. Now he and Irena have made a two-person Alps crossing and tour of the …

The Man Who Made This Blog Possible

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Your editor received this sad announcement yesterday from Andy Kecskes, editor of the Sailplane Builder newsletter, forwarded from Murry Rozansky, President of the Experimental Soaring Association. “Bruce Carmichael passed peacefully with his family by his side on Tues. I am glad that our and the other soaring organizations honored his contributions before this sad event. Bruce was 91+years old, an accomplishment in itself.  There will be a celebration of Bruce’s life on Sat. Aug. 15th at 10:30 am at Palisade’s Methodist Church, 27002 Camino de Estrella, Capistrano Beach, CA.  Reception to follow services.”  Please RSVP to; georgianatives@yahoo.com.” Bruce was a pioneer in low-Reynolds number aerodynamics, and had been influential in the design of many record-breaking and visionary aircraft.  He is listed …

Facebook Unveils a Very Big, Very Light Electric Flying Wing

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is intent on providing at least basic Internet services to everyone in the world, even if means creating his own air force to accomplish that lofty goal. March 27, 2014, he shared his overall plan, including a large fleet of airplanes that would loiter in the stratosphere, beaming high-speed Internet connections to one and all. Just a few days ago, Zuckerberg announced the completion of the first full-scale aircraft for this grand plan, the Aquila.  Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs in at around 400 kilograms (880 pounds).  Apparently built in England by his recently acquired team of aeronautical experts, Aquila will be able to stay in the air for months at a …

EAS IX to be A Gala Gathering

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley sent this along today. On May 1, 2, 2015, the world’s leading experts will converge for the 9th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium in the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country. The confirmed presenters include: Airbus on “The e-Fan Design” Michigan’s Satki3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry on “Solid State Energy Storage” Italy’s Eric Raymond of GFC I Team-eGenius on “Sunstar and the SunSeeker Duo” Slovenia’s Tine Tomazic of GFC I Team Pipistrel USA on “Converting GA Aircraft to Electric Propulsion” UCR’s Zach Favors on “Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries” Northrop-Grumman’s J. Philip Barnes on “Regenerative Electric Flight” NASA’s Dr. Eric Darcy on “Battery Safety” Ford/Ricardo’s Neil Johnson on “Li-ion BMS & Gauging” Launchpoint’s Michael Ricci on “Propulsion by …