Dale Kramer’s VLazair – Swinging a Different Way

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dale Kramer’s Lazair was one of the most popular ultralights in the 1980s, selling over 1,200 units.  He re-engineered it a decade ago and flew the electrically-powered version in both land and amphibious versions.  Appearances at AirVenture saw him making daily flights over the area.  Your editor was privileged to visit Dale’s home, once owned by Glenn Hammond Curtis in Hammondsport – who also flew his creations from Keuka Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes for which the region is named. Ever an inventive soul, Dale has returned to the drawing board, in his own way answering the question of how to perform vertical takeoffs and landings in a small, light, personal aircraft.  To overcome pilot’s getting cricks in their …

Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

Dr. Seeley at AirVenture 2013

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Imagine being able to walk one morning from your front door to a nearby small airport, step into an electrically-powered small airplane, point to a destination on an illuminated map on the airplane’s display screen, and be whisked to your destination so quietly that your passage overhead will not wake your neighbors.  This is part of the dream that Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, presented to an appreciable and appreciative crowd on Friday, August 2 at the Rotax Pavilion during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013. His talk, “The CAFE Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge Program: Toward a New Transportation Mode,” was a roadmap to how the CAFE Foundation, NASA and corporate sponsors will present five …

How Many iPods in a BiPod?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

David Bettencourt, a defense attorney in Hawaii and a regular reader of the blog, sent this note about Burt Rutan and his early interest in hybrid power for aircraft.  According to David, “A July 2000 Road & Track interview of Burt Rutan regarding the hybrid Honda Insight might be of interest.  It stated: “Does he see any application of hybrid propulsion for airplanes? An innocent question, although it leaves Rutan unusually silent. ‘Gee, maybe I shouldn’t disclose this in Road & Track. But at the risk of someone else doing this first, let me tell you about an airplane that would be really interesting to do.  This is fascinating….’ “Rutan leans back and stares into middle distance.  ‘Visualize an electric …