Schleicher’s Sustainable Flight for Two

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Alexander Schleicher Segelflugzeugbau (sailplane maker) has been crafting high-performance soaring craft since its inception in 1927.  Their latest creation, a two-seat, 20-meter (65.6 feet) span motorsegler, the ASG32 El, includes a 25 kilowatt synchronous motor driving a Schleicher-designed 1.55 meter (5 feet) retractable propeller.   The motor is a “home help” device, a sustainer motor to keep the ASG 32 El aloft once it is launched by a winch or by being pulled by a towplane.  The motor does not allow for self-launching.  Its low power, coupled with the airplane’s clean design, does enable a 1.3 meter-per-second (255 feet per minute) rate of climb.  The aircraft’s battery is sufficient for 20 minutes of all-out power or 100 kilometers (62 miles) …

Two Battery Fires in Self-Launching Sailplanes

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Klaus Burhard publishes a wonderful news and blog site promoting ultralight sailplanes.  His German site has been the source for many blog entries by yours truly, and the latest items from Klaus are of concern to anyone involved with electric aircraft. He has reported in the last week on a disturbing incident with a UK-based HPH glass-wing 304eS/Shark FES “self-starter,” or self-launching sailplane.  The airplane is a standard-class 15 meter (49.2 feet) wingspan plane.  As seen in the video below, The FES (Front Electric Sustainer) motor on the nose swings a propeller which folds into the front contours of the sailplane when not powering the plane.  When a pilot engages power, the rotation of the motor pushes the propeller blades …

Diamond Hybrid Drive – One Engine, Two Motors

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

Diamond aircraft seem to have been the go-to choice for electrification, with Boeing and Airbus fielding different versions powered by an array of powerplants.    In 2008,Boeing’s fuel cell-powered craft, a DA-36 Dimona motorglider, “was modified by [Boeing Research and Technology Europe] (BR&TE) to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.”  Airbus’ 2011 DA-36 “E-Star’s” propeller was powered by a 70kW electric motor from Siemens, with electricity supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator functioning solely as a power source.  In 2014, Airbus showed an improved version of this craft at the Paris Air Show.  Erik Lindbergh chose the Diamond HK-36 for …

China Permits Two-Seat Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Jane Zhanf of Silk Wings Aviation (see note), an aircraft consulting firm, commented on an earlier post about the RX1E, an airplane designed by Shenyang University students and demonstrated at two airshows over the last two years.  Similar to the Yuneec (GreenWings) E430, it is a totally different design. “CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) just awarded[a]TDA (Type Design Approval) to them! “By the way, Yuneec E430 is not widely known in China, not an excuse for the wrong claim of being #1 from China though.  (Editor’s Note: The E430 is being developed by GreenWings, now based in California.  It uses a Yuneec motor.) “Given FAA and EASA don’t support electric SLSA (Special Light Sport Aircraft – allowed to be used …