SmartFlyer Challenge: Electric Airplanes Fill Swiss Skies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

There are few times one will see more than one electric airplane at the same place – outside of perhaps, Friedrichshafen’s e-Flight Expo every year.  But to see them flying at the same field on the same day is an even grander delight.  That happened September 9 and 10 at Grenchen, Switzerland.  Grenchen hosted the world’s first all-electric fly-in – the SmartFlyer Challenge.  It drew an appreciable number of electric aircraft of all sizes and types despite the clouds and rain that kept some from scaling the mountains. An Electric Three-Plane Formation Flight The Siemens-powered Magnus e-Fusion from the Czech Republic, the electric Phoenix motorglider, and Stuttgart University’s e-Genius all flew formation with a Piper L-4, a World War Two …

A Ride in the Pipistrel WattsUp

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel has built what looks to be, at least in the video below, an attractive and highly functional airplane in the WattsUp, an electronic conversion of their Alpha Trainer high-wing training aircraft. In the video, Tine Tomazic, responsible for electric aircraft design at Pipistrel, shows the ease of making battery swaps on the airplane, similar to those of electric motorcycles or scooters, and takes photojournalist Jean-Marie Urlacher for a ride around what your editor assumes is Pipistrel’s Ajdovscina, Slovenia factory and field. Note the conversational tone in the cockpit and the lack of headphones, one benefit of electric aircraft that would lead to their being great training aircraft.  Aerobuzz, a French aviation blog, though, does lodge a complaint about the …

Navette Brettone Carries On

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The April, 2013 issue of Info.Pilote magazine, a French publication, features the air-show pairing of the electric Cri-Cri E-Cristaline, powered by two Electravia GMPE 104 motors and riding atop a Broussard – what the DeHavilland Beaver might look like if it had been built in France. The great photos by Jean-Marie Urlacher are supplemented by a dynamic video showing a typical airshow lofting and separation – something that happens quickly even in slow motion. Info.Pilote has an informative table comparing the Navette Brettone (Brittany Shuttle), named for the sponsoring ferry boat operation, with the Navette Spatial, our space shuttle/Boeing 747-100 combo. While the big Boeing spans 196 feet, the Broussard is a relatively petite 45 feet.  The Space Shuttle riding …

Elektra One Has First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The brief press release and single photograph from PC-Aero says it all: “ELEKTRA ONE from PC-Aero performed successfully its First Flight for about 30 minutes. Using only 3 kWh of energy. “The internal First Flight was performed by the well known testpilot Jon Karkow.  He did the first check for the flight performance and characteristics of the electric aircraft and briefed the german testpilot Norbert Lorenzen for the next official First Flight.” Although static tests were completed late last year, speculation that Germany’s tough certification laws held up test flights ran through some of the aviation press.   The angle of the photograph makes it difficult to tell whether the center-line landing gear was retracted or not, but the low energy …