It’s (Green Aviation) Giving Tuesday, 2014

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

If you’ve managed to survive Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and a weekend of NFL games stuffed with blandishments to entice you to the nearest mall (Thanksgiving happened in there somewhere), you’re forgiven if you flinch at yet one more presumptuous tug at your purse strings.  But we’re talking about helping pioneers on the edge of green technology, crafting the stuff dreams are made of – and making those dreams a reality.  On this Giving Thursday, think about contributing to the dream makers who are taking us into a better future of flight.   We share a few suggestions here. Solar Flight Eric and Irena Raymond are the first family of solar-powered flight, now cruising Italian skies in the world’s first two-seat …

Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

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

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

Kickstart Kicks John McGinnis to Announce New Goals

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A few minutes ago, John McGinnis, designer and ongoing builder of Synergy, released the following announcement.  It is based on the 385 supporters who have contributed 81 percent of the initial $65,000 goal to complete the first phase of construction on this envelope-exploding aircraft. “We are thrilled to report that Synergy is on track to become the first crowdfunded aircraft of the Internet era. Thank you to all contributors, large and small. You have really gotten behind us and the power of your enthusiasm is both contagious and humbling. “What does this mean? Well, unless something goes terribly wrong (and it could, we’re not funded yet) it looks like there is support for us to complete this phase of our …

Kickstarter Kicks Off Synergy Fund-Raising Drive

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

John McGinnis, designer and promoter of the Synergy aircraft, had a brief twinge of regret when Kickstarter, the crowd source funding site, turned down his project for inclusion in their site.  Luckily, the gloom was dispelled when friends and supporters prompted Kickstarter to change their mind.  A great deal of this was brought about by the eloquent efforts of Patrick Panzera of Contact Magazine, Howard Handelman, a friend and supporter of John’s, and Brian D. Wendt, Aeropunk.com blogger. John’s press release, issued today, spells out the importance of Kickstarter’s decision. “Kalispell, MT, May 16, 2012: “Since its unveiling last year, John McGinnis’ award-winning1 Synergy aircraft project has garnered a lot of critical attention for its advanced aerodynamics, but its sexy looks …

Want a Ride in Synergy?

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Howard Handelman, a regular reader and observant critic of the CAFE Blog, and Patrick Panzera of Contact magazine fame, are soliciting support for an effort to help John McGinnis finish his Synergy aircraft, unfortunately unable to make its Green Flight Challenge date, but nearing the finish line, none the less. Kickstarter.com recently rejected John’s attempt to raise funds for the nearly complete aircraft, a radically new and somewhat controversial approach to obtaining high performance on relatively low power.  John has shared his insights into the aerodynamics of the project and invited a lively discussion (now closed) on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s forums pages. Synergy under construction – an imposing sight The Internet has made possible fund-raising “crowd sourcing” in which …

David Birkenstock and Ultimate Efficiency

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

According to his biography on Airliners.net, “David Birkenstock is a pilot for an east-coast charter and management firm, flying the Turbo Commander 690B and the BeechJet 400A. When he’s not flying, he’s working on modifying a light sport airplane for pressure thrust, hoping to enter it into the NASA Personal Air Vehicle Challenge. He has posted more information about pressure thrust at PressureThrust.com.” Birkenstock’s presentation at the fifth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa, California on April 29, 2011 extended his thoughts on pressure thrust, an outgrowth of Fabio Goldschmied’s theories that are well represented in the CAFE Foundation’s library. Most surprising (or maybe not surprising at all) in his talk were comments by major players in the aerospace …

Synergy: A Practical Lightplane for the New Century

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

At EAS V, Synergy Chief Operating Officer John Paul Noyes framed his presentation of the Synergy aircraft by showing a picture of a 1973 portable telephone, then comparing it to a current model.  The clunky size, heft and limited utility of the former compared with its slim, feature-laden modern counterpart tells a story of intense design improvements, quantum increases in capabilities and far lower costs for a significantly better product – something usually anticipated in the history of modern products. Along with that historically comparative pairing, though, he showed pictures of a 1973 Cessna 182 and its Lycoming engine along with shots of modern examples of the two.  Not much other than the paint scheme distinguishes today’s Skylane from its …

Lucky 13 to Fly in Green Flight Challenge

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Following rigorous evaluations of all aircraft to ensure they meet all standards for the contest, Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, announced the 13 entrants who will compete in the Green Flight Challenge at Santa Rosa, California between July 11 and 17, 2011.  This exciting event will offer the public a first view of some incredible designs and resourceful competitors.  Since the minimum performance required for consideration includes things such as the ability to fly a 200 mile course at 100 mph or better average speed, the ability to clear a 50-foot barrier on a 2,000 foot runway during both takeoff and landing, and the efficiency to attain at least 200 passenger miles per gallon during the overall flight, all aircraft are obviously the most …

Green Flight Challenge: Six Steps to Synergy

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Conventional wisdom says that an airplane is a collection of compromises – a premise seemingly borne out in practice.  Bigger wings mean slower speeds, but more lift.  Smaller engines mean less performance, but better economy.  Roomier cockpits mean lower fuel mileage and reduced cross-country range.  Everybody knows these things. But what if, applying the Firesign Theater’s comedic dictum, “Everything you know is wrong,” someone shook those bits of conventional wisdom and sorted out a new way of looking at an airplane?  It’s been done before.  Burt Rutan’s wildly creative approach to seeing past convention gave us the Varieze, Catbird, Boomerang, Proteus, Voyager, and Spaceship One, among others.  Because such creations don’t follow the usual scientific method of changing one variable …

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 …