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 …

Lindy Hop to Lindbergh LEAP

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Sun n’ Fun, following a disastrous sweep by an F1 tornado through the flight line on Thursday, March 31, came back strong the following day, with F-22 demonstration flights, the Blue Angels, and a full contingent of top-drawer aerobatic pilots. The Green Aviation exhibits your editor had hoped to visit were partly gone, tents and exhibits having been dismantled and carted away in the remarkable overnight cleanup effort that took place, but the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)/Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) Stemme S-10 gleams undamaged in the sun.  Lisa Costello, a graduate student in aeronautical engineering, explains some highlights of what the students are crafting.  Entered in the upcoming Green Flight Challenge, the S-10 was to use a combination of …

Green Flight Challenge: Elektra One Progress

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dipl. Ing. Calin Gologan, President of PC-Aero, showed the completed version of Elektra One, a Green Flight Challenge contender, at Friedrichshafen’s Expo for Sustainable Mobility in June. Over the last two years, PC-Aero has designed a series of light, electric-powered aircraft.  As Gologan explains, “Using the existent technology it is possible to fly with a one- and a two-seat aircraft without CO2-emission for more than 3 hours, without noise and for lower operation costs in comparison with classic aircrafts. This is the future of leisure aviation as a bridge to the next step: electric transportation.” Just two months after its debut at Aero 2010, Elektra One graced the halls again as part of “The Electric Avenue”.  Surrounded by electric vehicles of …

FES at Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Front Electric Sustainer motor system, developed by Slovenian father and son entrepreneur team Matija and Luka Znidarsic, was on display at the E-Flight Expo, part of the larger Friedrichshafen Aero 2010 show.  Both are graduates in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ljubljana.   This system, described in an earlier entry (“Power Up Front,” November 1, 2009), is meant to provide power for a sailplane that is launched by other means, such as an aerotow or winch.  Its light weight does not detract from the normal performance of the sailplane, but does enhance safety, with the pilot able to start the motor and power away into a modest climb if necessary to save a flight. In response to this editor’s naive questions, Luka responded, “No, there …

PC-Aero’s Elektra One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 14 Comments

Dipl. Ing. Calin Gologan, an exhibitor and presenter at this year’s E-Flight Expo at Friedrichshafen, will be at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, discussing the design and technology he hopes will imbue the winning entry in next year’s Green Flight Challenge.   He notes that the GFC, “the world’s largest prize…awarded in general aviation,” was a major incentive in his pressing forward with an environmentally conscientious design. His Elektra One is part his PC-Aero’s ambitious campaign to fly three different electric aircraft in the next few years, the single-seat “One,” two-seat “Two,”, and most ambitiously, a four-seat “Four.” With at least the shell of Elektra One at the Expo, Gologan is making good progress toward completion of his GFC machine, the prototype for …