Volocopter Starts Autonomous Air Service Trials in Dubai

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In June, Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority (RTA) announced its plans to test fly Volocopter’s 200 over the country by the last quarter of this year.  The government and Volocopter have succeeded in meeting that timeline, with demonstrations this week of Volocopter’s quiet ability to fly autonomously (although without passengers so far).  Aerial transit will be a small part of a much broader scheme, the government intent on providing excellent public transportation, as shown in this well-produced video. To ensure meeting Dubai’s ambitious goal, Volocopter’s designers tested the machine thoroughly in German skies.  Note the Grob Strato 2C by one of the hangars, the twin-engined airplane in which Einar Enevoldson, founder of the Perlan Project, set the still extant world …

EAS IX: Calin Gologan Talks SolarStratos 

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Calin Gologan, founder and CEO of PC-Aero GmbH, has many electric and solar-assisted aircraft flying right now, and is responsible for the design the Aero Electric Aircraft Company’s SunFlyer training airplane, 20 of which have been ordered by Spartan Aeronautical University.  The initial Elektro One has flourished in a number of variants, including the SunFlyer, a two-seat, side-by side trainer developed with George Bye in Colorado. Another variant of that original design, Solar Stratos is destined to combine record-setting altitudes with scientific research.  Its banner, “Manned Flight at the Edge of Space,” highlights the craft’s intended mission to reach 80,000 feet as its initial goal, a record that will be hard to beat.  Its mission is also a research venture, …

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 …

SolarStratos Construction to Begin in January

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Just as we have competing teams working out their plans to cross the Atlantic on electrically-powered wings, several projects are aiming high, attempting to reach altitudes normally achieved only by SR-71 pilots.  With balloon jumps topping 130,000 feet and the Perlan Project in final stages of construction for test flights early next year, the latest entrant in stratosphere-busting climbs will attempt the mission on batteries and solar power. Raphael Domjan, a self-described “eco-adventurer” and founder of Mission SolarStratos, will attempt by 2017 to top 80,000 feet in a two-seat, twin-motored craft designed and built by Calin Gologan and his PC-Aero team.  The airplane, a long-winged derivation of Gologan’s Elektra Two Solar, will rely on recent developments between Gologan and his …

Reaching for the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

SolarStratos, a two-seat, solar-powered airplane, is being readied for record flights in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, just a 25-minute drive from the Solar Impulse hangars in Payerne. Its makers claim that it is the first commercial solar two-seater aircraft in history, and will be the first solar-powered airplane with a pilot to enter the stratosphere.  These heady claims are described on the project’s web site as a “crazy bet,” but it’s too early to make such judgments.  Calin Gologan of PC-Aero GmbH designed the base craft, an expansion of his earlier ultralight electric aircraft, Elektra Two.  The “Record” version of this craft, despite SolarStratos’ extended 20-meter (65 feet, 7 inch) wingspan, weighs a feathery 140 kilograms (308 pounds) empty, and only 350 …

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 …

Perlan Project Gets Good Press in the New York Times

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Science reporter Matthew Wald visited the Perlan Project in Bend, Oregon recently to see for himself an aircraft that just might conquer the heights – 90,000 feet – in a world-record attempt that will investigate the polar vortex and the ozone hole. His report in the October 21 New York Times highlights the intellectual investment in the project, with extremes of aircraft design reaching toward extreme goals.  Perlan II will fly higher than any powered or unpowered aircraft in a sustained fashion.  Zoom climbs in which American and Russian fighters emulated rocket ships to reach altitude records were more ballistic than controlled.  Those who recall The Right Stuff will remember Chuck Yeager’s frantic and finally unrecoverable tail slide back from …

Albatross, Dragonflies, and Hummingbirds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor took a trip to Tehachapi, once home of the infamous California Women’s’ Correctional Institution, mentioned in no less than three 1940’s films noirs.  (It’s now a gray-bar hotel for bad boys, not bad girls.)   Lesser offenses were in mind, though, since Labor Day weekend has been the time for 31 meetings of the Experimental Soaring Association’s Western Workshop.  The group, devoted to improving sailplanes and testing the limits of soaring technology, has been in the forefront of many significant developments, and its members include many record holders and aerodynamics experts. This year’s convocation included talks on birds, dragonflies (the Libelle sailplane), and even a demonstration of Aerovironment’s spy hummingbird, a camera-toting drone no larger than a 90-percentile member …

PC-Aero Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A Green Flight Challenge entrant, PC-Aero’s Elektra One, has won the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award at AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, becoming the latest winner of this important award for innovation in the pursuit of “green” aviation. Past winners of the Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft include: Pipistrel: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best  Electric Aircraft LZ Design: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best  Electric Propulsion System Solar Impulse: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen  Outstanding Achievement Award Yuneec International: 2010 AirVenture Best  Electric Aircraft Sonex: 2010 AirVenture Best Electric Aircraft  Subsystem Lange Aviation: 2010 AirVenture Individual  Achievement Award According to Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh and founder of LEAP, the organization’s, “Programs recognize, inspire and incentivize the innovation that drives our culture, economy and future.  The LEAP …