WattsUp Becomes Alpha Electro – Training Market Warms Up

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

With today’s AVWeb report from Mary Grady at Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany, the wraps are off the commercial reality that Pipistrel is ready to market its Alpha Electro, a new airplane for the training market.   The production version of the former WattsUp, the airplane’s primary mission is to provide training in the pattern for aspiring pilots. Details abound in the video, with Tine Tomazic, Chief Engineer for the Slovenian firm, showing Mary the features of the craft.  One of the best features may be its 100,000 euro price tag, well under pricing for many conventionally-powered light sport aircraft that would compete in the trainer market. Since Aero brings in exhibitors from all over the world and incorporates an E-Flight Expo, …

Powering Imagination in Seattle

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seattle’s Museum of Flight on Boeing Field will host a one-day event, Powering Imagination, an electric flight symposium organized by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Presentations will be held in the William M. Allen Theater at the Museum, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 28 and ending at 5:00 p.m.   Admission is free, but RSVP to cwilcox@museumofflight.org to guarantee a seat. Topics include an update on the NASA LEAPTech aircraft being designed and built by Joby Aviation and powered by Joby motors.  This 20-motor (!) aircraft will achieve a high coefficient of lift from the motors that distribute thrust over the entire span. Eric Lindbergh will talk about the Quiet Flight Initiative, a multi-pronged approach to …

AEAC Pulls in First 20 Deposits

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC) and Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology made joint announcements about their signing a “Training Program Development and Deposit Agreement” for the school to reserve the first 20 delivery positions for “Sun Flyer” solar-electric training aircraft being developed by AEAC.  This first such agreement by a major training program and an aircraft maker is a milestone for this new technology. The press announcement quotes Peter Harris, CEO of Spartan College, saying, “This agreement signifies our commitment to innovation and to serving the next generation of pilots. Spartan College is honored to be the first training school to formalize our collaboration on a complete training system that will make flight training more modern, accessible and economical …

Two “New” Battery Contenders

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Tesla’s announcement that its new battery pack for its Rev. 3 Roadster will increase the car’s range to as much as 400 miles (your mileage may vary), two contenders are putting proclaiming equivalent or better performance from their unique technologies.  These companies are relatively new, but have fairly long development histories.  They are both moving toward commercializing what otherwise would be academic demonstrations of their technologies. EnerG2 – Taking Carbon to New Levels A Seattle, Washington-based materials development firm, EnerG2’s Carbon Technology Platform (CTP), is based upon a polymer chemistry foundation, and according to the company, “represents an ability to engineer and synthesize high-performance, uniquely tailored high-purity carbons, at large scale and low cost.”  The company makes CTP materials …

AEAC Debuts Sun Flyer at AirVenture 2014

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Calin Cologan and George Bye staged a joint press event on the Sunday evening before AirVenture started.  Held in the Redbird Tent on Wittman Field, it drew hundreds who saw the Redbird flight simulators and a Diesel-powered Cessna, but were stopped short by the yellow and blue Sun Flyer, a single-seat proof-of-concept version of what will soon be a two-seat battery/solar training aircraft. Forming a new firm based on the strengths of PC-Aero in Germany, and Bye Aerospace and Redbird Flight Simulators in America, they promise an electric training aircraft for the near future.  Unlike the tandem two-seaters PC-Aero is developing in Germany, American Electric Aircraft Corporation will produce a side-by-side craft, often preferred for communication between instructor and student. In this Da …

EAS VIII: Calin Gologan and George Bye Make a Sunlit Announcement

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Calin Gologan of PC-Aero GMBH in Germany and George Bye of Bye Aerospace in Colorado made an auspicious announcement about practical solar-electric propulsion advances for manned and unmanned aircraft.  Their presentation at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium pointed toward a possible rebirth in flight training at prices not seen in decades.  Their two companies are forging an alliance called the Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC), which will produce a two-seat, side-by-side sport and training aircraft called the Sun Flyer.  As stated in their press release, “The Company will bring to market the first U.S.-sponsored, practical all-electric airplane serving the training, recreational and general aviation markets.” Gologan and Bye’s talk at the Symposium focused on their joint plans to create …

Silent Falcon in Production

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Bye Aerospace has announced initial production its small unmanned aircraft system, the Silent Falcon™.  Produced by Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS), a former subsidiary of Bye Aerospace, Inc., the Silent Falcon is a mere 25 pounds, but is able to perform six- to 12-hour missions on a mix of battery and solar power. The airplane, of all composite construction, will serve both military and civilian markets, with its small size and quiet operation able to serve well in either capacity.  Its size and weight are virtues in a competitive market, giving “unprecedented performance and value… ready for the market place,” and already in “low rate initial production,” according to John Brown, President of SFUAS.  He adds that “sales teams are …

EAS VIII – A Day and a Half You’ll Never Forget

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Who would pass up a chance to stay at a nice resort, attend lectures that challenge and inspire, and meet at poolside with speakers who bring some of the sharpest minds in the world to bear on some of the biggest problems we all face?  Let’s face it.  Global warming probably won’t be going away anytime soon, and aviation seems destined to play a bigger part in polluting our otherwise near-perfect atmosphere. Unless…we learn how to make our favorite activity (in the top five for most of us, anyway), into a more responsible way to travel and recreate.  Since solving the problems which go with that responsibility will involve the best in aerodynamics, power systems and new, efficient technology, the …

Bye Aerospace Provides Stratospheric Persistence

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

George Bye, founder and head of Bye Aerospace, introduced the Silent Falcon unmanned aerial vehicle earlier this year at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) meeting.  He has two other relatively low-cost but highly capable offerings which could stretch the limits of unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities. The first, the Starlight program, involves lifting a variable geometry, solar-powered airplane to great heights with a balloon, hovering with it for up to four months, and releasing it when needed to allow refurbishing, refitting and relaunching. This two-stage system provides the same kind of surveillance offered by a satellite, but at a much lower cost.  The balloon is a static device, used only to provide the altitude necessary, and the …

Silent Falcon – A Solar-Powered UAV

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

While Boeing and AeroVironment proceed with stratospheric, hydrogen-powered giants such as the Phantom Eye and the Global Observer for extremely long-range surveillance and monitoring duties, an Albuquerque, New Mexico company is exploring the potential of a small, lower-altitude, hand-launched craft that can search – and if necessary – destroy. A recent report from Volta Volare’s Paul Peterson attending the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conclave in Las Vegas, Nevada and an email from George Bye, Chairman and CEO of Bye Aerospace, alerted your editor to the new reconnaissance aircraft. George wrote, “While the electric Cessna program continues to advance under the leadership of Charlie Johnson and a new name, ‘Beyond Aviation’, we have continued our research into solar-electric hybrid propulsion …