A Ride in the Pipistrel WattsUp

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel has built what looks to be, at least in the video below, an attractive and highly functional airplane in the WattsUp, an electronic conversion of their Alpha Trainer high-wing training aircraft. In the video, Tine Tomazic, responsible for electric aircraft design at Pipistrel, shows the ease of making battery swaps on the airplane, similar to those of electric motorcycles or scooters, and takes photojournalist Jean-Marie Urlacher for a ride around what your editor assumes is Pipistrel’s Ajdovscina, Slovenia factory and field. Note the conversational tone in the cockpit and the lack of headphones, one benefit of electric aircraft that would lead to their being great training aircraft.  Aerobuzz, a French aviation blog, though, does lodge a complaint about the …

WATTsUP at Pipistrel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

No, that’s a statement and not a question.  Taja Boscarol of Pipistrel sent the following announcement this morning.  WATTsUP, their new two-seat electric trainer took its maiden flight on August 8th.  As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, Pipistrel will display the airplane at the Salon de Blois airshow, France, on 30-31 August 2014. This is the third announcement of an electric trainer by a major aircraft manufacturer, counting Airbus with its anticipated e-Fan developments and American Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC) with its Sun Flyer.  We could count four with Adventure Aircraft’s EMG-6 under development in California for the ultralight market.  This would mark a potentially historic turnaround for General Aviation, with promised operating costs significantly lower than for internal-combustion …

EAS VIII: Pipistrel’s Certifiable Hybrid Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

No hype, Pipistrel’s Hypstair (hipster) was introduced by Tine Tomazic and Gregor Veble at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium.  The attempt to bring the world’s first certified hybrid aircraft to market is a joint venture by Pipistrel with partners Siemens, the University of Maribor, the University of Pisa and MB Vision, a specialist in providing visual information. Siemens, as might be imagined, is providing an “ultra-light weight integrated drive train” for the aircraft,”  Slovenia’s University of Maribor the HIL (hardware in the loop) evaluation for electric motor control testing and dynamic emulation of mechanical loads, Italy’s University of Pisa for evaluation of hybrid technology advantages, and MB Vision for development and integration of the aircraft’s interior and human machine interfaces …

EAS VIII – A Day and a Half You’ll Never Forget

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Who would pass up a chance to stay at a nice resort, attend lectures that challenge and inspire, and meet at poolside with speakers who bring some of the sharpest minds in the world to bear on some of the biggest problems we all face?  Let’s face it.  Global warming probably won’t be going away anytime soon, and aviation seems destined to play a bigger part in polluting our otherwise near-perfect atmosphere. Unless…we learn how to make our favorite activity (in the top five for most of us, anyway), into a more responsible way to travel and recreate.  Since solving the problems which go with that responsibility will involve the best in aerodynamics, power systems and new, efficient technology, the …

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 …

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, …

Pantera Rollout at Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Friedrichshafen is the place to be for new aircraft announcements, with PC-Aero yesterday and Pipistrel today showing off new aircraft. Pipistrel, having won the Green Flight Challenge in September, could not rest on its laurels, today sharing the news that, “The revolutionary 4-seat all composite design, featuring retractable undercarriage, 200 kts cruising speed, 1000 NM range, comfortable cabin and a choice of three powerplants – conventional/hybrid/electric – is presented to the World for the very first time.” Those lucky enough to be at Aero 2012 , hall A5, will doubtless flock to see the Pantera, a graceful design that does 200 knots (230 miles per hour) on its 200-hp, Lycoming IO-390 engine while burning 10 US gallons per hour.  This …

Paint Me – Win 1,000 Euros

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Tine Tomazic sends the following invitation. Pipistrel has published a unique design contest for Design of Livery for the Panthera, our brand new aeroplane to be presented in 2012. Anybody can  participate! Prize is 1000 EUR ($1,350) and author’s signature on the aeroplane itself! The recognition may well be worth more than the prize money for the budding artist.  The airplane will be featured at major airshows worldwide and in masses of mass media.  All an aspiring illustrator has to do is capture the spirit of the sleek craft and create a livery “which will enhance Pantera’s unique lines and characteristics.” Connect with Pipistrel’s Facebook page to get all the particulars.  There, you’ll learn about the luxury, sportiness, speed, efficiency/environmental friendliness and …

Green Flight Challenge Final Results

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 15 Comments

Steve Williams, CAFE Foundation board member and e-totalizer guru, released the final results for the NASA Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google, held at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport from September 25 through October 1, 2011.  Figures show a profound difference between the two electric winners and the two gas-powered and hybrid runners-up. All competitors flew extremely clean motorgliders with demonstrated lift-to-drag ratios between 25:1 and 35:1.  Possible explanations for the large differences in energy use include low cooling drag for electric aircraft and the efficiency of electric motors – but the differences are still surprising. Note that a little over 11 US gallons of gasoline (energy equivalent) were used to fly seven people (Embry Riddle’s Eco-Eagle flew with only one pilot) over …

Pipistrel Preparing for Green Flight Challenge

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Michael Coates, American distributor for Pipistrel, shares some pictures and videos of the G4, four-seat, twin-fuselage electric motorglider a “technology demonstrator” for the company and its entry in the Google/NASA/CAFE Foundation Green Flight Challenge, which starts Sunday, September 25 in Santa Rosa, California.  The Pipistrel team, headed by Jack Langelann of Pennsylvania State University, is working out Hollister, California’s airport, about 70 miles south of San Francisco and 150 miles from Santa Rosa.  The team expects to fly to Charles M. Schulz field on “Friday or Saturday of the this week” for the competition. Pilot Robin Reid guided the big bi-fuselage craft through its paces and brought back this in-flight video, which shows the visibility is better than one would …