Two Battery Fires in Self-Launching Sailplanes

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Klaus Burhard publishes a wonderful news and blog site promoting ultralight sailplanes.  His German site has been the source for many blog entries by yours truly, and the latest items from Klaus are of concern to anyone involved with electric aircraft. He has reported in the last week on a disturbing incident with a UK-based HPH glass-wing 304eS/Shark FES “self-starter,” or self-launching sailplane.  The airplane is a standard-class 15 meter (49.2 feet) wingspan plane.  As seen in the video below, The FES (Front Electric Sustainer) motor on the nose swings a propeller which folds into the front contours of the sailplane when not powering the plane.  When a pilot engages power, the rotation of the motor pushes the propeller blades …

Equator P2 Assembled, Ready to Go

Dean Sigler Batteries, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Exciting new pictures from Tomas Brodreskift show that his nearly decade-long project has reached a happy completion.  The Equator P2, born in the mind of a talented industrial designer, seemed like a nice dream when your editor first saw it in renderings.  As one would expect from an accomplished product designer, the aircraft looked wonderful, set in inspiring backgrounds. A Man, A Plan, An Airplane As Tomas’ web site explains, “In 2008 the two Industrial Design students and pilots Tomas Broedreskift and Oeyvind Berven started work on the new EQP2 Xcursion, Equator’s first attempt on the light aircraft market. In this start–up phase the Equator team are working on making project assignments, design briefs, and specified diplomas that can be …

Kokam Introduces Bullet-Proof Battery

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lithium battery puncture tests have provided many time-wasting moments on YouTube, presenting pyrotechnic displays in many versions.  Most are explosive and fiery examples of what is referred to euphemistically as “rapid deconstruction.” What if a battery could take a bullet and still offer superior energy, power and reliability?  Kokam answered this question for the military, showing that its new NANO battery technology “do[es] not experience thermal runaway when… shot,” according to a June 13 announcement. Intended “for the defense industry for use in submarines, support vehicles, armed fighting vehicles, and unmanned systems,” the battery combines three lithium-ion chemistries – Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) – into a single battery, Battery University explains …

Solar Impulse Down, But Not Out

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Following its cliff-hangar five-day flight from Nagoya, Japan to Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii, Solar Impulse is undergoing an extended period of tender loving care, dedicated rebuilding of its battery packs and insightful reflection on how to avoid future issues. Landing July 3, 2015, Pilot André Borschberg broke the world records for distance along a course (6,825.4 kilometers – 4,231.5 miles), Straight distance, and Duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (80 hours and 5,663 km. – 3,511 miles), according to the Solar Impulse web site. If all had gone according to plan, Bertrand Piccard would have hopped on board a few days later and headed for the United States on the second leg of the …

Solar Impulse – Tougher than it Looked

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The record-breaking flight from Nagoya, Japan to Kalaeloa, Hawaii by Andre’ Borschberg in Solar Impulse had more difficulties than were immediately apparent to even the most involved observer.  During the first climb out of Nagoya, some of the cells mounted behind each motor experienced overheating, now attributed to over-insulation.  High-density foam packed around the cells was apparently too effective for even the freezing temperatures at altitude and caused the batteries to become warmer than desired. As explained on the Solar Impulse web site, “The energy collected by the solar cells is stored in lithium polymer batteries, whose energy density is optimized to 260 [Watt-hours per kilogram]. The batteries are insulated by high-density foam and mounted in the four engine nacelles, …

South America’s First Manned Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Brazil and Paraguay join the few nations which have sent an electric aircraft into flight with the introduction of the Sora-e, an attractive two-seat light sport aircraft.  The 8 meter (26.25 feet) wingspan plane incorporates a Slovenian motor, Korean batteries and an American propeller, giving it a truly international flavor.  The two countries share a joint venture firm, Itaipu Binacional, building and developing the airplane and its future variants. Pesquisa FAPESP (Investigation Sao Paolo Research Foundation), an online magazine dealing with various sciences, announced the first flight of a new, two-seat, electric-powered airplane.  The Sora-e’s initial flight will lead to a testing program that will eventually have the plane up for 90 minutes and reaching a cruising speed of 190 …

Batteries, Fuel Cells – or Something Else?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re coming to a parting of the ways in energy storage development for electric cars.  Or we may be coming to a joining of technologies in new and previously unimagined ways.  One side, led by Elon Musk and his Tesla Empire, promotes battery power and development.  Yet, in Tesla’s home state of California, government and private investments in hydrogen vehicles is growing.   Several Asian and European automakers are bringing out fuel cell powered vehicles in the face of low numbers of existing fueling stations.  For all the promotion from either side, future “green” cars may become too expensive for private ownership, and various approaches to providing personal mobility may replace the traditional owner-driver model.  Regardless of the outcomes or market …

Silent 2 Electro Certified in Germany

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Luka Znidarsic shared this happy message this morning. “We are very proud to inform you, that the SILENT 2 Electro, equipped with our FES system, has been awarded Type Certification by the German Aero Club (DAeC). “This is the very first electric powered Ultralight sailplane certified, by DAeC. This represents a significant milestone in gliding history, which marks a new age of technology!” We hope this breakthrough in Germany encourages our own Federal Aviation Administration to review their schedule for electric aircraft certification.  Such rule making would allow sales of existing electric motorgliders and   light aircraft and encourage others to step up development of these alternatives to fuel-burning lightplanes. The Type Certificate gives some clear ideas of the technology incorporated in the very …

A Fix for Dreamliner Battery Woes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

With Boeing facing financial doldrums because of its ongoing grounding and resulting slump in sales of the 787 Dreamliner, the stakes are high for the company.  That makes today’s Reuters’ report that the manufacturing giant may have found a “way to fix battery problems on its grounded 787 Dreamliner jets” good news for not only Boeing, but for electric aircraft in general.  Readers should read these findings with some caution, though, since another report from Japan gives a different possible cause for the problems.  That said, the two reports might not be mutually exclusive. Many electric light aircraft developers use spacing between cells and some method to circulate cooling air over them.  In Boeing’s two 787 lithium battery packs, eight …

32 and Counting as E-Spider Lifts Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Anne Lavrand, founder and head of Electravia in Sisteron, France, emailed to tell of her latest creation before packing up to attend the Basse-Ham, France powered paraglider meet and airshow, the Mondial de Paramoteurs.  She wrote, “I hope this new realization will have some success there!” She announced “first flights of the E-SPIDER, the first 2-seater electric powered paraglider in the world.”  The 32nd aircraft flown with her power system attached, it reflects what this hard-working woman has been able to accomplish since 2007, with customers in Europe, Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, the USA and Canada.  It joins an array of single and twin motor ultralight aircraft, motorgliders, trikes, hang gliders, and paramotors electrified by Electravia.  Anne’s team has even …