Eurosport Crossover Sports Many Tricks

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

We’re used to seeing motorgliders which pop an engine or motor up on a tall stalk behind the cockpit, then retract it into the slim tailboom for minimum drag.  Why not do the same with two electric motors on each side of the airplane, tucking them in a slender fuselage for soaring? Emails with Eurosport’s Tom Leite and perusal of the Portuguese firm’s web site and on-line brochure verified that almost everything on the Crossover motorglider is electric and retractable. Tom notes, for instance, “Our motor/props fold into the fuselage: [they are] 3-phase PMSM motors up to 40Kw at takeoff each.”  In the video, see the long, spar web-like structure with lightening holes that separates the two motors as they …

FlyNano Flight Testing Teased

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

From the frozen north of Finland comes the news that FlyNano has flown its electric prototype.  Originally planned to have both two-stroke and electric powerplants, the five-meter span joined-wing flying boat is now only electric, its makers citing the strides made in development of motors and batteries in the last several years for their decision. Designed to stay under 70 kilograms (154 pounds) empty weight, FlyNano has a maximum takeoff weight of 200 kilograms (440 pounds).  Its small size and light weight make it possible to fly, based on the video, but with no specifications for motor, controller and battery. A company press release gives a “speed range of 70 – 140 kilometers per hour (43-87 mph) with a service …

Electravia Makes a Good Showing at Aero Expo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Anne Lavrand, founder and President of Electravia, continues to find ways to expand her company’s product offerings while offering well-integrated packages of reasonably-priced electric aircraft and components. At this year’s Aero Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany, her firm displayed the fuselage of the Electrolight 2, a modified Fauconnet sailplane, fitted with a 30-hp Lynch-type motor, controller, and batteries.  It is the least expensive electric motorglider on the market at only 30,000 Euros ($39,600), and allows powered flight for recharging costs of about 0.65 Euros per hour (86 cents).  The motor, normally graced by one of Anne’s wooden e-Props, had a forward-folding “clap propeller” or “bec de canard” (literally, the beak of the duck), a variant on the light carbon fiber propellers …

Pantera Rollout at Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …

Friedrichshafen Becomes Elektra

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Birgit Weißenbach, who heads up marketing for PC-Aero, the German firm that produces light electric and solar-powered aircraft, sends two pictures from the company’s display at Aero Expo, now taking place in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The display is overflown by a 1/5-scale model of Elektra Two, their anticipated two-seat electric airplane with solar cells, a design intended for travel, training and flying clubs. Another model, the Elektra Observer LT, represents their unmanned “Very Light Electric Aircraft” with solar cells to allow long-duration civil surveillance. On the floor, Elektra One has its full complement of Solar World solar cells, which supplement its battery power.  Elektra One Solar has longer wings and a larger solar cell area, both extending its range.  Both …

New FAI Records for Electric Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Jean Luc Soullier of Belgium claimed three world records for electric aircraft in the FAI RAL1E (microlight electric, single place, landplane with moveable aerodynamic controls) sub-class on February 2, 2012 at Sisteron, France – home of Electravia. All three records are being scrutinized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. Soullier attained an altitude of 2,401 meters (7,877 feet), covered 50.27 kilometers (31.17 miles) over a closed circuit course without landing, and averaged 136.36 kilometers per hour (84.54 mph) for that distance. All records are claimed in Soullier’s Colomban MC-30 Luciole, powered by a Lynch-type motor and controller supplied by Electravia. These are not the MC-30’s or Soullier’s first records. He set a speed record on a 15 kilometer course with the …

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 …

Carplane – German for BiPod?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 8 Comments

Carplane is an innovative enterprise in Braunschweig, Germany, intent on producing a hybrid vehicle that, while it resembles the Rutan Model 367 BiPod, differs in significant ways. The company’s “pitch” is similar to those from other roadable car developers since the Waterman Aerobile or Taylor AeroCar.  “Imagine the daily commute without transfers, exits, congestion, or missed connections,” the German Center for Research and Innovation envisions.  “As an aircraft that can also drive on roads, the Carplane® will head for its destination in a beeline without detours or stop-and-go traffic. Located in Lower Saxony, Germany, and under the general management of Angela Fleck, herself a pilot, the Carplane GmbH is in the process of building such a dual-mode vehicle. Designed as …

Solar Impulse Inspires in Brussels, Heads to Paris

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On June 14, 2011, Andre’ Borschberg guided the giant Solar Impulse from Brussels, Belgium, where the craft had spent the last week as the centerpiece of discussions on green energy and the future of transportation in the European Community, to Le Bourget Field just outside Paris.  Nearing its destination, its daylong flight sometimes resembled the mathematical problem called, “the drunkard’s walk,” as Borschberg was vectored around the aerial neighborhoods surrounding Paris to make certain the lightly loaded craft did not run afoul of  jetliners’ wakes and could find a slot where the runway did not present residual turbulence.  During the preceding week, VIPs from the European Community gathered aound the airplane in Brussels to discuss the importance of this airplane and …

Soullier’s Record – And One You Might Set

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At least one of the records Jean-Luc Soullier had hoped for came true during Aero 2011 at Friedrichshafen in early April.  Officially validating the speed record, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale has yet to recognize the altitude record achieved during the same flight. Soullier’s MC-30 Luciole (Firefly) had a royal Sponsor, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco observing while Jean-Luc flew a 15/25 kilometer (9.3/15.5 miles) straight-line course out and return at 135 kilometers per hour (83.7 mph), winning the RAL1E subclass speed record for microlights. Several subclasses exist for one and two-seat electric microlights – few of which have recognized records, and thereby becoming an opportunity for early adapters of battery-powered, fuel cell or hybrid flight.  These “empty” subclasses are a golden opportunity for those willing to provide …