Zee?  Kitty Hawk? Cora?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Different Names, Different Configurations Zee, One of two aircraft companies funded by Google founder and CEO Larry Page, has been a highly mysterious business.  Its web pages mostly gave discrete job descriptions for those willing to sign up for a mostly undefined mission.  Occasional glimpses of patent drawings, spy shots of a multi-rotor craft in Google’s Mountain View, California parking lot came into view, and later, in-flight shots of other, different looking craft came from Hollister, California. Kitty Hawk, the other company funded by Larry Page, seems to have subsumed Zee and produced a 12-rotor, single-propeller aerial taxi about the size of a Cessna 150, but capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and seamless transitions to forward flight.  A white …

Book Your Perth Alpha Electro Flights for the Early Morning

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Two Things That May Not Seem Related at First Recent news that Penrith, Australia was the hottest place on earth was underlined by videos of melting highways.  Penrith, a suburb of Sydney, reached 47.3° C (117° F), enough to turn asphalt into a sticky mess and force drivers onto less gummy shoulders. Although over 2,400 miles away, Perth, home to Joshua Portlock’s Electro.Aero flying service, is at roughly the same latitude, and experienced near-record heat this month.  Possibly, that accounts for the all-caps caution for prospective flyers: “WE RECOMMEND EARLY MORNING FLIGHTS IN SUMMER FOR THE SMOOTHEST CONDITIONS.” Joshua’s company took delivery of a Pipistrel Alpha Electro, and flew it on January 2, a first in Australian aviation.  He and …

Vin Fiz and Solar Impulse

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Calbraith Perry Rodgers, the first person to fly across the United States, was deaf from an early childhood disease.  Even though he came from a long line of naval heroes, this handicap kept him from joining the Navy, but didn’t slow his quest for adventure.  He was one of the first to sign up for flying lessons with the Wright Brothers at their home base in Ohio. He was 31 years old when William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize to the first aviator to fly coast-to-coast in 30 days or less.  Rodgers convinced the Armour Meat Packing Company to sponsor his attempt as a promotion for their new soft drink, Vin Fiz.  As a coincidence, your editor visited the …

The Sustainable Aviation Symposium – A Wealth of Knowledge

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Coming May 6th and 7th, the first-ever Sustainable Aviation Symposium will take place at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel. This year’s presenters include an international array of accomplished talent in aerodynamics, power, and energy storage, with a few surprises on tap.  Keynote speakers include: NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell PADA Trophy winner and Pipistrel Designer Dr. Tine Tomazic Dr. Joseph Kallo of the DLR (Germany’s NASA) Lehigh University’s Dr. Justin Jaworski Pelican Aero Group’s Philip Barnes Additional presentations include Nobel Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Eric Raymond, the highest time solar pilot in the world (his latest 6-seat solar aircraft pictured above); Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University with the latest in battery …

An American HPA Takes Flight

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Alec Proudfoot made a 233-meter (764-feet), 37-second flight in his DaSH PA (Dead Simple Human-Powered Airplane) on December 4 at Half Moon Bay Airport west of San Francisco.  The 33.3 meter (108.27 feet) wingspan (it can be extended to 40 meters, or 131.23 feet) aircraft did well until a weak flange on the vertical tail mount failed. Alec reported his personal state of readiness and some details of the flight in an email to the British Human Powered Flying Club.  “…pilot max weight at just above 90 kg (me, out of shape and about 15 lbs. heavier than optimal). “It flew a lot easier than expected (meaning less power required than I thought it would) and handled great. A bit …

Batteries That Heal Themselves

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Alert reader Colin Rush provided this breaking development in battery science. Regular readers will remember Dr. Yi Cui’s name.  He’s a Stanford University scientist who has worked with paper batteries, much more powerful electrodes, and means of helping batteries stay together under the continuous strain of expanding and contracting during charging and discharging.  He explained that at the third annual Electric Aircraft Symposium at the Hiller Aviation Museum, and has since adopted several tactics to overcome that problem.  One commercial outgrowth of his work, Amprius, is working on commercial production that benefits from his insights. Since that internal flexing eventually leads to cracking of electrodes, Dr. Cui’s latest announcement brings some hope that such things can not only be overcome, …