HY4 Makes First Public Flight – Your Editor Rides EAA’s Ford Trimotor

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A day after Pipistrel, the DLR and associates flew the first public demonstration of their four-seat hydrogen-powered HY4, your editor and a friend took a brief hop around the Aurora State Airport in Oregon in EAA’s Ford Trimotor, the first certified airliner in America.  The two events, roughly equal in duration, if not in historicity, demonstrate a readily observable progress in aeronautics. A quickening of design and technology 14 years after the Ford 5AT first flew on a scheduled route that took 51 hours total time to cross the United States (and split transport duties with trains), your editor’s father was whisked nonstop by Army Air Corps C-54 across the Atlantic to Shannon, Ireland, and then to Bobbington and Newquay, England …

G4 to HY4 – Swapping Batteries for Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The University of Stuttgart and Pipistrel started down similar paths around 2007, with the Stuttgarters attempting a hydrogen-powered two-seat aircraft, the Hydrogenius; and Pipistrel developing a self-launching craft with either two-stroke power or an equivalent electric motor. The two groups came to rely on one another, with hydrogenius using the forward fuselage and wings of the Taurus G2 with hydrogen tanks in the fuselage and a Sineton motor on the tail.   On February 27, 2008, Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, the father of the solar powered aircraft Icare 2 and the unofficial World Record holder for distance flown in a solar powered aircraft, along with dipl. ing. Steffen Geinitz and dipl. ing. Len Schumann met with Pipistrel leaders, including CEO Ivo Boscarol and …

Avoiding Propeller Strikes on Electric Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At last year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium, Ron Gremban, developer of the Prius plug-in hybrid, shared several questions about promoting safety in electric aircraft.  One aspect that provoked deep thought was that of safety for those working around an electric airplane, whose propeller could start quietly and possibly strike an unaware bystander.  During the Green Flight Challenge, it was noteworthy that unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts which idled while awaiting takeoff, the Pipistrel G4 and e-Genius awaited their turn to launch with propellers at rest, only spinning when commanded – and very quietly at that. The question of avoiding prop strikes found at least one answer at EAS VII.  Karl Kaser demonstrated, in model form, his ePropeller Safety Device (eSD), noting “the …

Pipistrel,PADA, and “Gus” Raspet

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistel, the innovative Slovenian company that won the Green Flight Challenge with its G4 electric four-seater, continues to earn plaudits from the aviation industry. At this year’s AirVenture, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual gathering at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the company was honored with the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award and original and pace-setting design work exemplified in Pipistrel products. The Exerimental Aircraft Association has awarded the “Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award” annually since 1960 “to a person who has made outstanding advancements in the field of light aircraft design and the Experimental Aircraft Association.”  John Thorp, Lockheed engineer and designer, was the first recipient, with those following including Curtiss Pitts, Burt Rutan, Alan and Dale Klapmeier and Gordon Pratt. Taja Boscarol, …

Annual Personal Aircraft Design Academy Dinner and Presentation at AirVenture 2012

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, and Program Chair for the Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA), announces that the group’s catered buffet “networking” dinner will be followed by a special meeting for top aircraft designers, enthusiasts and aero engineers as part of AirVenture 2012 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. His announcement highlights the following: “The dinner will be at 6:15 p. m. on Friday July 27 at the Memorial Wall Tent near the Air Academy Lodge, with the PADA meeting following at 7:30 PM in the air-conditioned Vette Theatre inside the AirVenture Museum, a short walk from the tent. “This year, we’ve made it easy to register online in advance for the limited seating available. Please visit this site now …

AVweb Talks to Dr. Seeley About EAS VI

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The sixth annual Electric Electric Aircraft Symposium, CAFE’s premier event, got a lot of press attention this year, including lead story status from AOPA and acknowledgement from Engadget and AVweb.  We’ll start with the one that’s most fun to listen to – a podcast from AVweb. Mary Grady of AVweb interviewed Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, about the just completed Electric Aircraft Symposium at Santa Rosa, California, which drew participants from at least eight countries and 10 multi-national corporations.  With Federal Aviation Administration representation and a former Environmental Protection Agency head signed up to attend, the Symposium drew some high-level attention this year. Dr. Seeley was enthusiastic about the rapidly maturing technology and industry, with Tom Gunnarson …

Dr. Jack Langelaan and Heuristic Navigation Techniques

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

“Heuristic: involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods ; also: of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance ”  m-w.com (Merriam-Webster online)  Dr. Jack Langelaan’s talk at the fifth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium was one of at least two to use the term, “heuristic,” and sent this writer scrambling for the dictionary. His presence in Santa Rosa, four months ahead of his return with the Green Flight Challenge winning Pipistrel G4, showed at least one of the facets to the planning that would make the G4 victorious. Careful flight planning, as any flying instructor will gladly inform you, is …

Better Batteries: Enviable Achievement from Envia

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Envia, a startup battery company in Newark, California, has announced a much-anticipated breakthrough in lithium-polymer storage cell energy density. Although tested to 300 charge/discharge cycles, the new battery should show at least 1,000 successful cycles before we get too excited. Excitement will build, though, as the announced 400 Watt-hours per kilogram doubles the current energy density standard for lithium batteries. This would reduce a Leaf’s battery pack from about 600 pounds to 300 pounds, or keeping the same weight, double the car’s range to about 250 miles. Dr. Brien Seeley points out that the Green Flight Challenge-winning Pipistrel G4 could have traversed 400 miles with a reserve on such batteries. According to Envia, quoting from the official report, “’The Naval …

Pipistrel G4 Nominated for Collier Trophy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Taja Boscarol, Public Relations Manager for Pipistrel, sends this news today: “The Pipistrel Taurus G4, world’s first 4-seat electric aircraft, was nominated for the prestigious Collier Trophy. “The Collier Trophy, the ‘Greatest Award in Aviation,’ has been the benchmark of aviation and aerospace achievement for over 100 years.  Awarded annually, ‘…for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America,’ it has been bestowed upon some of the most important projects, programs, individuals, and accomplishments in our nation’s history.” Collier-winning individuals have included the crews of Apollo 11 and 8, Mercury 7, Scott Crossfield, Elmer Sperry and Howard Hughes.  Projects and Programs have included the B-52, Polaris Missile, Surveyor Moon Landing Program, Boeing 747, Cessna Citation, Gulfstream V, the F-22 …

A Weighty Matter

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Several readers have asked for the weights of the Green Flight Challenge competitors.  Here they are, pound for pound, among the most efficient flying machines on the planet. Those who wish can calculate different takes on that efficiency, including overall glide ratios for the course, ton-miles per gallon energy equivalent, or more exotic parameters.   Empty Weight Takeoff Weight in Competition   Pounds Pounds e-Genius 1670.2 2070.2 Pipistrel   G4 2491.0 3294.1 Embry-Riddle 1970.0 2370.0 Phoenix 754.0 1199.7