The I.D.E.A.L. Becomes Real with JabirWatt

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, SAS, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. David Ullman taught mechanical engineering and project management for over three decades, and his books on the mechanical design process are consistently sought after.  His current project, JabirWatt, is hangared at his home in Independence, Oregon, and combines the internal combustion propulsion of its Jabiru engine with the lift-enhancing addition of four electric ducted fan motors on the wings.  A project partner, Vince Homer, lives nearby on the airport.  Both have hangars filled with things of genius, including the well-instrumented wind tunnel on which David tests his ideas (or I.D.E.A.L – Integrated Distributed Electric-Augmented Lift). Slightly different from the approach promised in his presentation at last year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium, the modified Jabiru sacrifices its rear seat for a …

Berkeley Achieves New Highs in Thermophotovoltaic Efficiency

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Researchers at University of California at Berkeley announced a record in thermophotovoltaic efficiency, now at 29 percent, but with a few tweaks, soon to be at 50 percent.  This is great news for small drones, which could stay up for days, but possibly not a be-all, end-all for larger, more conventional electric aircraft.  Let’s examine the potential and the pitfalls involved. The researchers’ “groundbreaking physical insight” and “novel design” applies thermophotovoltaic principles that are “an ultralight alternative power source.”  Eli Yablonovitch, professor of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), wrote in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ““Thermophotovoltaics are compact and extremely efficient for a wide range of applications, from those that require as …

The Third Electric Airplane to Fly in Oregon

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Martin Koxxy, a mechanical designer for a micro-electronics firm in Beaverton, Oregon, has crafted his e-Gull, a design by Mark Beierle, over the last two years.  The airplane reflects Martin’s care and skills, with simplicity and attention to detail that makes it an airworthy jewel.   The paint lines on the fuselage roll neatly into the door flanges, both on the fuselage and on the door, for instance. Showing his expertise with electronics, Martin’s all-glass cockpit includes a moving map via a Samsung tablet, a miniature EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) by GRT Avionics, and a Cycle-Analyst, a device normally used by bicyclists with electric motor assist.  It monitors battery, motor and controller status among other things.  The latest version is priced at …