Dr. Seeley Speaks at AIAA Conference, NASA Dryden

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, Founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, has been giving a series of talks at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013, before a gathering of technical experts at NASA’s Dryden Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force and at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) International Powered Lift Conference in Los Angeles. The International Powered Lift Conference focuses on the latest developments in Vertical or Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft research, concepts, and programs, something of great interest to CAFE in its development of airplanes capable of using pocket airports. Pocket Airports will require a special type of airplane – electric, according to Dr. Seeley, and capable of taking off with a ground roll of …

NASA, CAFE Aims and Goals Converge

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

Charles F. Bolden, Jr., a retired U. S. Marine Corps Major General, astronaut and now NASA Administrator,  had enough adventures in any one of his careers to have made several who’s who lists.  The twelfth administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, his previous careers included 34-years in the Marine Corps during which he spent 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office,  traveled to orbit four times on the space shuttle, deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, and flew on the first U. S.-Russian joint shuttle mission. As a Marine fighter pilot, he flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict; and during the first half of 1998, served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary …

Dr. Seeley at AirVenture 2013

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Imagine being able to walk one morning from your front door to a nearby small airport, step into an electrically-powered small airplane, point to a destination on an illuminated map on the airplane’s display screen, and be whisked to your destination so quietly that your passage overhead will not wake your neighbors.  This is part of the dream that Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, presented to an appreciable and appreciative crowd on Friday, August 2 at the Rotax Pavilion during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013. His talk, “The CAFE Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge Program: Toward a New Transportation Mode,” was a roadmap to how the CAFE Foundation, NASA and corporate sponsors will present five …

FAA Awards for Commuter Liners of the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In a series of far-reaching competitions for university students, the FAA has opened the gates on innovation for new aircraft and airport infrastructure design. Announcing the winners of its Design Competition for Universities, the FAA awarded three prizes in the Electric/Hybrid Electric Aircraft Competition.  In doing so, it acknowledged the pioneering work of the CAFE Foundation and NASA in promoting the original Green Flight Challenge, generously supported by sponsorship from Google. “Recently, the Green Flight Challenge and efforts of general aviation manufacturers and others have demonstrated flight using electric motors on general aviation aircraft. Under NASA’s Subsonic Fixed Wing Project, aircraft and engine manufacturers identified key technology capabilities required for electric and hybrid-electric propulsion of single aisle aircraft, expected by …

Avoiding Propeller Strikes on Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At last year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium, Ron Gremban, developer of the Prius plug-in hybrid, shared several questions about promoting safety in electric aircraft.  One aspect that provoked deep thought was that of safety for those working around an electric airplane, whose propeller could start quietly and possibly strike an unaware bystander.  During the Green Flight Challenge, it was noteworthy that unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts which idled while awaiting takeoff, the Pipistrel G4 and e-Genius awaited their turn to launch with propellers at rest, only spinning when commanded – and very quietly at that. The question of avoiding prop strikes found at least one answer at EAS VII.  Karl Kaser demonstrated, in model form, his ePropeller Safety Device (eSD), noting “the …

Flying e-Genius for Two Years

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium, Rudolf Voit Nitschmann, Len Schumann, and Ingmar Geiss shared their well-documented experiences with e-Genius, second place winner in 2011’s Green Flight Challenge.  Flown by Erik Raymond and Klauss Ohlmann, the airplane managed 397.5 passenger miles per gallon on its 200-mile trek around a closed circuit between Santa Rosa, California and the distant geothermal power plants that provided the electricity for its flight. As Voit Nitschmann, leader of the e-Genius team since 2005 noted, one must design electric aircraft around the beneficial aspects of such vehicles to gain the greatest performance.  Originally slated to be hydrogen powered, e-Genius mounts its 59-pound motor on the leading edge of the vertical rudder, more difficult with a heavier …

Panthera rollout and first engine start

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On March 28, Pipistrel rolled out its prototype Panthera, a sleek four-seat cruiser destined to be the first production hybrid aircraft and eventually, Pipistrel’s second four-seat electric airplane. It is currently powered by a Lycoming IO-390, 210 horsepower engine.  At Pipistrel’s factory in Ajdovscina, Slovenia a team of engineers and technicians fired up the engine for the first time and performed ground runs, “verifying design parameters and engine operation.” Pipistrel’s press release quotes Ivo Boscarol, their CEO: “It is very exciting to witness the tests and see the aeroplane come to life for the very first time. This is definitely a very important milestone in the development of Panthera. We look forward to the continuation of tests and the first …

Three Years, 392 Entries, and About a Quarter-Million Words

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Today marks the start of your editor’s fourth year of attempting to cover the exciting world of electric and alternative energy flight. In the last three years, the CAFE blog has seen the development of larger and more powerful motors, higher speeds, better batteries, and the promise of new technologies and serious investment by major players in this new realm. At the same time, electric flight is still new enough to attract garage scientists and record seekers. We’ve seen electric aircraft top 200 mph and make it into international record books. We’ve seen solar-powered craft extending their wings around the world and alternative fuels extending the range of existing aircraft. A few stories in the wings will highlight possibilities that …

UAVs, Canine First Officers, and Semi-automated Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, will speak on “The CAFE Green Flight Challenge Program,” at the Unmanned Aircraft Systems conference at San Diego, California, October 10 through 12, 2012. His talk fits well into the conference’s sub-title, “Opportunities, Needs and Challenges,” and will probably reflect the direction he’s been pointing to with recent CAFE presentations on aerial commuting and pocket airports.  The Green Flight Challenge certainly showed that the nascent technology is capable of giving fast, short-range transport at a potentially economical price. The conference will focus on military uses of UAVs and how to integrate them with existing hardware and systems. Since many military-based unmanneds will be navigating our civilian skies in the near future, civilian …

The Green Speed Cup – Year Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

How economically can we fly, even with current technology? In its second year, the Green Speed Cup is an attempt to answer that question, provide some sporting competition and allow scientific research into the manner in which the greenest aircraft operate. Organizer Stemme’s newsletter explains the GSC, “Is a competition for any kind of two-seated aircraft. The target of the GSC is to fly as fast as possible while minimizing the consumption of fossil fuel energy. It is a direct comparison of technologies, machines, materials and the capabilities of the pilots. “The competition should help to find new ways and practical solutions for saving energy during powered flights. The aircraft that flies with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance …