Zeppelins, Blimps and Plimps

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

How about exploring a softer, gentler form of flight?  Certainly, gas-filled envelopes provide a large way to transport goods and people, but for a variety of reasons, have fallen out of favor in recent years.  Several entrepreneurs are trying to revive an old idea. Hanging Over Our Heads One threat hanging over our heads is that of plummeting drones, either having exhausted their short-range batteries or banging up against a tall building.  The infamous video of a drone falling onto a woman in Seattle has been removed from YouTube, probably for legal reasons, but an abundance of others are there for your viewing pleasure. Maybe More Truth than Poetry Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a prescient bit of poetry in 1835, …

Elytron Shows Off POC Demonstrator at Heli Expo 2015

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

 Since last August at AirVenture 2014, Elytron Aircraft, LLC has made great progress.  The aircraft on display at Oshkosh last year was promising, but about half finished.  The completed two-seat, proof-of-concept (POC) airframe shown March 3rd through 5th this year at the HAI Heli Expo in Orlando, Florida seems ready to go and remarkably light at its 1,100 pound design goal. Elytron lists the following component advances for the last seven months, including completion of:  All carbon fiber work for the fuselage as well as the joined wings. The patented center wing, now fitted with its tilting mechanism and vertical flight control surfaces. All systems required for ground movement (taxiing). Installation and run-up of the turbocharged 450 sHP engine. Installation …

Solar Impulse Makes It to New York Early

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe that the Solar Impulse has been on its Cross America tour since May 3, but its early touchdown at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport late Saturday night was cause for elation on at least two counts. First, as the Solar Impulse team points out, “For the first time a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the West to the East Coasts without using a single drop of fuel.”  As we love to point out, though, it’s not the first time a solar-powered airplane has made the trip.  Eric Raymond did it in 21 hops in 1990 in Sunseeker 1, using the technology …

Solar Impulse Lifts Off on First Leg of Cross America 2013 Tour

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Bertrand Piccard at the controls, Solar Impulse completed its motor runups a few minutes before its scheduled 6:00 a. m. PDT takeoff.  The project commentator in Switzerland noted that Piccard looked “a little pensive” in the minutes leading up to the historic departure from Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. The first leg of the trip involves a stepped climb – first to 5,000 feet for about two hours, then to a little over 20,000 feet until about 7:00 p. m. , when the craft will begin a stepped descent for the next several hours and arrive over Phoenix near midnight. As cars whizzed by on the nearby Highway 101 linking San Jose and San Francisco, Solar Impulse’s crew …

Solar Impulse is Here

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solarimpulse.com reports, “The Boeing 747 landed at Moffett Airfield in San Francisco at 1:13 PM (UTC-8) on Thursday 21 February.  HB-SIA was immediately unloaded and, in the coming days reassembly will begin.” Almost immediately, crews will assemble and test fly the already intercontinental solar-powered aircraft in preparation for a flight from the Bay Area to the East Coast.  Having conquered the gap between Europe and Africa on its trip to Rabat, Morocco and on to Quarzazate, HB-SIA braved turbulence and gusting that caused it to turn back on its initial foray into the desert.  Its final arrival at a gigantic solar energy plant in Morocco’s interior was a symbol of what clean energy can accomplish and a tribute to Solar …

A Seraph in the Earthly Sphere

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

A Seraph is a six-winged angel in the first sphere of the celestial hierarchy, and while the earthly form in Richard Ike and Ira Munn’s vision may have fewer wings, it is no less inspired. In part, it’s inspired by biomimicry, imitating nature in its forms and even its structure.  The  airfoil-shaped profile of the fuselage “reduce[s] drag and optimize[s] aerodynamic efficiency, the blended-wing-body and lifting body (flying fuselage) maximize lift and produce minimum drag, according to Seraph’s web site. Seraph explains, “Flight with the Seraph will be made possible by two factors, lift generated by airfoil and lift generated by vortex.  The later factor is a return to a principle originally explored by Leonardo Da Vinci.”  Their site further …

Matters of Note for the Green Flight Expo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One humanitarian business organization that will display at the Green Flight Expo following the completion of that seven-day event uses the type of technology the CAFE Foundation espouses for carrying medicines and supplies to remote parts of the third world that otherwise do not easily permit transport of any kind. Matternet’s slogan, “Lifting the Rising Billion” refers to those living primarily in Africa and is explained in their statement of belief.  “By increasing the access to reliable transportation for people living in poverty, we will enable them to find a sustainable path out of poverty. “We will connect people from geographically isolated communities to local and global markets through the Matternet.”  This credo applies to poor communities throughout the world, …

The G4 Gets Off the Grass

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel had a good week at Oshkosh.  Shortly after its G4 placed ninth in the Dead Grass Awards, an indication of the number of spectators who tramped around the perimeter of the displayed aircraft,  the company could announce the first test flight of the four-seat electric motorglider. “We are pleased to announce that after long and demanding work nearly of a nearly 30-member team of developers and constructors from Pipistrel’s R & D Institute the first 4-seat electric aircraft in the world took off this morning [August 12, 2011] at 7 AM local time.” Pipistrel overcame several difficulties in achieving this milestone.  Developing the electric power system, the most powerful currently in an aircraft, and importing the 450 pounds of …

If You Can Draw It, We Can Print It – In 3D

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Students and faculty at the University of Southampton on the southern English coast have created an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in just a week, from the initial design to the finished, flying object. “Printed” from nylon on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, the plane emerges from the device in successive layers and comes with hinges already in place, emulating the bearings, crank and headset-in-place bicycle recently produced by EADS (Airbus) using similar technology and materials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFFiB_if18 Part of a “ground-breaking” course of study “which enables students to take a Master’s Degree in unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) design,” the Southampton University Layer Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) can be snap-fitted together in minutes without tools. SULSA has a 2-meter (6.4 …

Google to Sponsor Green Flight Challenge

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

Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google to bring historic firsts to aviation Aviation’s largest ever prize to be awarded at Moffett Field October 3 during exposition hosted by NASA SANTA ROSA, CA (July 29, 2011) – The CAFE Foundation announced today that Google will sponsor the NASA Centennial Challenge flight competition known as the Green Flight Challenge (GFC). CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) will conduct the event from September 25 through October 2, 2011 at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  The NASA-funded prize purse of $1.65M makes this the largest ever prize for aviation.  Competing aircraft must demonstrate at least 100 mph and 200 passenger MPG on a 200 mile flight.  The aircraft in the Green Flight Challenge sponsored …