Pipistrel G4 Nominated for Collier Trophy

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

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  

NASA Adds Some Numbers to Green Flight Challenge

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

NASA’s Mark Moore sends this link to NASA’s press release on the recent NASA Centennial Challenge Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google.  The CAFE Foundation organized and managed the event. “Today we’ve shown that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now in the realm of practice.” – Chief technologist at NASA Joe Parrish. The lead quote is informative, as are some figures from the release.  “The competition resulted in the world’s most efficient aircraft, beating the state of the art of approximately 100 pmpg (passenger miles per gallon) which is achieved by the newly released Boeing 787 airliner.  Essentially this contest showed the ability of small aircraft to achieve twice the efficiency of the most efficient production automobiles today, …

Green Flight Challenge Winners

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday, October 3 was the second day of Nobel Prize announcements, but also marked the Green Flight Challenge Expo, sponsored by Google and staged under the control tower on Moffett Field, home of NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California. The four airplanes that flew in the Challenge at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma Country Airport in Santa Rosa, California were joined by Greg Stevenson’s full-size mockup of his GFC design and a Pipistrel Virus that had won an earlier NASA/CAFE Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge.  Stevenson’s airplane was a reminder that there were numerous entrants that, for a variety of reasons, could not attend.  There is a huge number of aircraft in the wings, so to speak, that will fill these …

Green Flight Challenge – Days Three and Five

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

As if in answer to the most fervent prayers by CAFE Foundation organizers, Tuesday, September 27 dawned as a bright, windless morning, perfect for the planned 200 -mile aerial trek that each of four teams would undertake in the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. Each would fly a large, tightly-followed out-and-return loop around the Sonoma Valley, reaching the radio tower array on the peaks north of Geyserville, then returning for one of three passes (the fourth being the descent to land) over the CAFE Foundation hangar at the west end of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  Each would have to reach at least 4,000 feet at the end of a 17-mile climb and would need to track within …

Green Flight Challenge – Day Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday morning, September 26, many of us had our first view of an electric airplane in flight. After the weighing team rolled Jim Lee and Jeff Shingleton’s Phoenix motorglider from the hangar onto its impound location and completed initial weigh-ins for the remaining three aircraft, the airplanes were staged for the first flying event of the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. With technical inspections and weighing completed, the four airplanes lined up to check their noise levels and their ability to clear an imaginary 50-foot barrier atop a cherry picker  2,000 feet from the top of the number “9” on runway 19 at Santa Rosa, California’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  As each aircraft rolled out to their …

Green Flight Challenge – Day One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation

  Sunday, September 25 marked the kickoff of the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google, a NASA Centennial Challenge managed by the CAFE Foundation, with a thorough technical inspection for each entrant, followed by a weigh-in.  Held at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, the event is an event of international importance, despite the small turnout. With only four entrants making an appearance out of the original 13 that had announced and made it through the rigorous design review, there might be cause for disappointment. Consider, though, the Berblinger competition held in April at the Aero Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany. 36 teams signed up, 24 made it to the Expo, 13 started the course and eight finished. The GFC has a comparable start-finish …

The G4 Gets Off the Grass

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

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 …

Pipistrel’s Four-seat, Side-by-side Electric Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

One of the most anticipated presentations at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa, California, April 29th and 30th, was that of the CAFE Foundation’s Vice-President, Larry Ford.  He had the enviable task of unveiling the contenders in the Green Flight Challenge – a mix of conventional aircraft powered by unconventional means, unconventional craft being sent aloft by a variety of the mundane and the exotic, and wildly unconventional concatenations of technologies. Pipistrel’s G4 turned out to be simple math: G2 plus G2 equals G4.  The configuration could hardly be preconceived, though.  According to Pipistrel USA’s Michael Coates, “This unique design has come about by grafting two Pipistrel Taurus aircraft together with a center section which is some 5 meters (16 …