Swapping Rather Than Recharging

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Tesla now promising 90-second battery swaps, a “recharging” tactic first tried by Shai Agassi’s A Better Place, an Israeli company now in bankruptcy, the long recharging period for electric vehicles may be overcome.  Car companies, though, are not the only entities looking for ways to get unplugged. Presented at the 20th Congress of the “Club des Villes et Territoires Cyclables” in Nice, the Alter Bike is a collaboration of three French companies: Cycleurope, a specialist in bicycles;  Pragma Industries, a specialist in hydrogen; and Ventec, a specialist in battery management. They tout the advantages of this different approach to electrifying two-wheelers – an approach that seems to have applications even in electric flight. “No more charging time, no need …

Pipistrel Shares Three New Products and Springs a Surprise

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Slovenia, a tiny country which can be seen in its entirety from a light airplane, makes an astonishing array of such vehicles at the Pipistrel factory, awarded a European Union prize as the epitome of green manufacturing facilities. The company uses solar energy to power its operation and reports the number of kilowatts flowing through its plant on its web site. Naturally, we’d expect an environmentally responsible firm to build environmentally responsible products, and Pipistrel is committed to going green.  Dr. Gregor Veble, Head of Research in the Research and Development Department; and Tine Tomažič, researcher and designer, shared a multiplicity of new products and gave an all-too-brief glimpse of a surprising future project with participants at the seventh annual …

Panthera rollout and first engine start

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On March 28, Pipistrel rolled out its prototype Panthera, a sleek four-seat cruiser destined to be the first production hybrid aircraft and eventually, Pipistrel’s second four-seat electric airplane. It is currently powered by a Lycoming IO-390, 210 horsepower engine.  At Pipistrel’s factory in Ajdovscina, Slovenia a team of engineers and technicians fired up the engine for the first time and performed ground runs, “verifying design parameters and engine operation.” Pipistrel’s press release quotes Ivo Boscarol, their CEO: “It is very exciting to witness the tests and see the aeroplane come to life for the very first time. This is definitely a very important milestone in the development of Panthera. We look forward to the continuation of tests and the first …

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 …

Pipistrel’s Panthera Pounces

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Aero, in Friedrichshafen, Germany gets a little more electric every year, with one of this year’s highlights being Jean-Luc Soullier’s flight in his Colomban MC-30 E, setting records for speed and altitude in its class. Another highlight, for a very different class of aircraft, was the unveiling of the Pipistrel Panthera – made even more exciting by the company’s decision to create three powerplant options for the airplane – an internal combustion IO-390 powered speedster, a hybrid engine/motor cruiser, and a battery powered electric version that essentially gives up performance for economy.  The airplane was shown only in large model form at the company’s announcement, but Pipistrel has provided full performance data, an attractive brochure (see the site above), and …