Albatross, Dragonflies, and Hummingbirds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor took a trip to Tehachapi, once home of the infamous California Women’s’ Correctional Institution, mentioned in no less than three 1940’s films noirs.  (It’s now a gray-bar hotel for bad boys, not bad girls.)   Lesser offenses were in mind, though, since Labor Day weekend has been the time for 31 meetings of the Experimental Soaring Association’s Western Workshop.  The group, devoted to improving sailplanes and testing the limits of soaring technology, has been in the forefront of many significant developments, and its members include many record holders and aerodynamics experts. This year’s convocation included talks on birds, dragonflies (the Libelle sailplane), and even a demonstration of Aerovironment’s spy hummingbird, a camera-toting drone no larger than a 90-percentile member …

A Useful Spreadsheet and GFC Handicapping Tool

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

For analyzing the greatest economy from an aircraft’s design, Howard Handelman, a highly-engaged reader of this blog, provides a link to his web site, which includes a downloadable spreadsheet he has devised that will give the inquiring reader hours of enjoyment. Handelman, self-described as, “just a retired IT guy,” with “weak math skills,” but a “compulsively curious” nature, has devised a tool for analyzing any airplane’s performance based on a few known variables, and which he has applied to many of the Green Flight Challenge’s aircraft. The basis for his analyses is his “triangle tool,” a wedge that can be used to help design propellers, “test [the] truth” of claimed aircraft performance, and estimate brake horsepower in real life circumstances (at …

CAFE News: Doctors Seeley and Ford Stand and Deliver

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

At the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, April 23 and 24 at Rohnert Park, California, two CAFE leaders provided the audience with superb presentations on CAFE Foundation’s history and future goals. Dr. Larry Ford, Vice President of the organization, led with highlights from CAFE’s past, including the scientific efforts to measure aircraft drag and provide actual numbers for comparing aircraft performance, a goal inherent in the CAFE name. He highlighted the work of many past and present CAFE volunteers (after all, CAFE is all volunteer, and a 501c.3 charitable organization promoting aeronautical research at both the grass roots and the highest levels), including the CAFE Barograph, a significant instrument that allowed objective flight performance characterization of individual aircraft and honest …

Synergy and Passion at EAS

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

John Palmerlee, Editor of The Flying Wire, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 124’s newsletter, wote this in the May 5, 2010 edition.   The CAFE Team hosted what was in my opinion a very successful event at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, April 23 and 24, 2010. Nearly thirty contributors from around the world spoke at the Electric Aircraft Symposium, and their message was clear: Change is coming… let’s get on board together. Electric airplanes and motorcycles, model airplanes, algae biofuel synthesis, wetlands initiatives, hybrid air carriers, battery breakthroughs, VTOL PAVs, tethered wind generators, flight systems analysis, nanostructures… and a mystery Green Flight Challenge aircraft promising to tap into new design paradigms. This was just a taste of the concepts …