A Lighter, Zippier Tire for Electric Airplanes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Tires are not usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of airplane design.  On most aircraft, the landing gear is an awkward necessity, something to help one get airborne and settle on after committing aviation.  Our future electric aircraft might have power-driven wheels to shorten takeoff and landing distances, making them less inconvenient and more beneficial. Conventional rubber tires and wheels are heavy, though, and reducing their avoirdupois would enable better performance from a lighter airplane, or allow more batteries for longer range or better performance.  Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, wants to visit the best of all possible tire worlds by exploring the potential of polyurethane tires, reducing the need for …

EAS IX: Dr. Seeley’s Magnum Opus

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor first met Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, at the Western Workshop for the Experimental Soaring Association in 2007.  Dr. Seeley spoke about the CAFE Foundation and its many areas of research, including its first two Electric Aircraft Symposiums.  Seven years later these events and this blog are among the few resources for people seeking information on this developing field. He spoke then about a novel idea, an aerial taxi service that would eventually become fully autonomous, hauling people on short-to-medium range trips in small, electric aircraft that would fly out of very small airports.  This seemed a bit of science-fiction at the time, but Dr. Seeley has continued to promote this idea, gaining …