Belite – Going Electric?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Even to the casual observer, interest in electric flight is growing.  Major news outlets followed Solar Impulse, especially as it began its journey from Japan to Hawaii.  The fluster of cross-English-Channel attempts combined daring and rivalries – great for a public appetite voracious for sensation.  With big companies investing significant sums in the new technology, and with demonstrated efficiency of small craft that won 2011’s Green Flight Challenge, designers can’t help but respond to the ongoing challenge. James Wiebe, founder and owner of Belite Aircraft, has a response that will be welcomed by aviators who might not be able to fly because of their budget.  He’s introduced the SkyDock low-wing ultralight at Oshkosh’s AirVenture 2015 this week at an introductory …

Motorcycle Motors as Powerplants for Experimenters

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A frustration borne by homebuilt aircraft designers for years has been that of finding an appropriate, reasonably-priced powerplant for aircraft in the single and small two-seat range.    Early experimenters often converted motorcycle engines to their ultralight needs.  Continentals, Lycomings, and Franklins filled those needs in the 1930s and ‘40s, and other than Rotax and a few smaller manufacturer’s offerings, there really haven’t been any replacements since then.  Electric powerplants, however, can be found in the motorcycles being produced by many American and foreign companies now, with more to come from Europe and Japan. Designers looking for available electric motors and “plug-and-play”* complete systems may want to look at the 2015 Zero Motorcycle lineup.  Since one Zero motor has flown at …