Siemens-Powered Extra 330LE Makes a Great Tow Plane

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Already proving its ability to climb at a great rate on its own, the Siemens-powered Extra 330LE towed an LS-8 sailplane to 600 meters (1.968 feet) in a mere 76 seconds.  This alone could be a gift to soaring. Sitting at the controls of a sailplane being towed aloft behind a conventionally-powered tow plane proves taxing, for the many minutes it takes to gain a release height of 2,000 or 3,000 feet can seem somewhat endless.  It’s also expensive for the gliding club or commercial operation.  The soaring club in which your editor was a member calculated the average tow for a Piper Pawnee or Cessna AgWagon consumed around 2.7 gallons to 3.0 gallons of $5.00 a gallon avgas.  Twenty …

Record for Siemens, Extra Electric Time-to-Climb

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Time-to-Climb is a tough record to beat, requiring an airplane with an excess of power, a skilled pilot, and just the right weather.  Your editor was supremely lucky a few years ago to meet Bruce Bohannon, holder of 25 records, including altitude and TTC marks to 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000 feet.  He managed these records in a modified Van’s RV-4 with a Lycoming IO-540 engine pumping out a nitrous-oxide assisted 425 horsepower.  The normal gross weight of an RV-4 is 1,500 pounds, for a power loading of 8.33 pounds per horsepower with a 180-horsepower engine. Since the RV-4 normally flies with 180 to 200 horsepower, the additional 225 ponies helped Bohannon achieve some big numbers.  His rate of climb to 3,000 …