Geely Looks Skyward, Buys Terrafugia

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Geely is a huge enterprise, and while not the largest maker of electric cars in China, sold 766,000 gas and electric vehicles in 2016, growing 50 percent over the previous year.  Its profits grew 126 percent last year, primarily due to sports utility vehicle (SUV) sales.  As EV Obsession reports: “The 351,861 electric car sales registered in China during 2016 represent approximately 46% of ALL plug-ins sold worldwide this year, with Chinese carmakers responsible for 43% of all EV production in 2016.” Geely, surprisingly, owns Lotus, Malaysia’s Proton Motors, the firm that makes London’s iconic taxis, and Volvo.  Volvo just announced that all its cars will be electric or hybrid starting in 2019.  Fortune reports that the company has become highly …

Eurosport Exploring New Configurations

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Unhappily, we missed seeing Tom Leite at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium. Happily, he was at Eurosport Aircraft, his company in Portugal, working on innovative new approaches to making electric and hybrid motor-gliding a reality. He also has a speedster that would give those who desire rapid transit a high-style alternative. As shown in the video from Aero Friedrichshafen, the Crossover will probably trend toward a simpler wing configuration, with a fixed span of 18 meters (59 feet) and flaperons that will replace the multiple flaps on the current short-span version being flown in test flights. It’s uncertain whether the current twin-motors that pop out of the sides of the extremely slender fuselage will be retained, but a new version …

Solar Ships – A Different Kind of STOL

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

A good many good ideas for aircraft seem to come from good ideas for serving mankind – with many aircraft and performance-enhancing features coming from the humanitarian or missionary world. A particular need for jungle aviation, or bush flying anywhere, is the capability to make short takeoffs and landing s (STOL).  Jungles and mountain passes often present limited options for setting down, and being able to clear trees and pinnacles can be a life-saving necessity. Solar Ship advertises itself as an ultimate means of penetrating the wilderness.  “No roads.  No fuel.  No infrastructure” sounds like a pipe dream, but seems to be heading toward practical reality, with test flights continuing on at least two prototypes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awAAmwpdV70 Jay Godsall, CEO and …

Hydrogen Scooters – A Possible Power Source?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Amateur aircraft builders, like Francis Marlier of the ULM Club in Alsace, France who recently converted his Exelec to a Sunexelec with the addition of solar cells, are always looking for reasonable options for powering their airplanes. Perhaps they could turn to fuel cells as a range extender. Several motor scooter makers are bringing out fuel-cell powered models that show some promise despite limited performance and high prices so far. Intelligent Energy, an English company, demonstrated a fuel cell scooter in 2005, and a number of aircraft developers, including Boeing, have crafted fuel-cell-powered vehicles. Intelligent Energy’s ENV was reportedly the world’s first purpose-built fuel cell motorbike, and Top Gear’s James May enjoyed the quiet ride, if only moderately endorsing the …

A Comparison Too Far

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation 7 Comments

A recent entry comparing the German Carplane® and Burt Rutan’s BiPod has prompted a response from John Brown, who found the posting of concern for the misapprehensions it might cause in readers. He notes, for instance, “Your current article portrays us as a large Govt. Co. (we got a small subsidy) going up against a ‘charity’ organization (Northrop-Grumman’s subsidiary, Scaled Composites) in whose name the BiPod is registered at the FAA – as a glider; “It compares us to 1930s modular concepts where actually the BiPod’s wings are screw-on/screw-off ‘modular’ and use that older concept; “It attributes a commuter ‘pitch’ to us where, in fact, we’re not aiming for that market at all. [Thanks for your apology. However, the world …

Paris-Madrid Air Race 1911-2011

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

100 years ago, the idea of flying an 800-mile cross-country anywhere was a grand and dangerous adventure.  With aerodynamics not yet a science and aircraft powered by the self-destructive engines of that day, it took a brave pilot to even make the attempt.  The Paris-Madrid race of 1911 was a disaster from the start, and yet one man managed to achieve triumph despite the tragedy. 21 aviators were motivated to sign up in hopes of winning the 200,000 franc prize, but between May 21 and May 26, 1911, only six actually started, and only one flew the entire course. According to Transpress, a New Zealand blog, “After a full year of airshows, advertisers had become bored with seeing flying machines going …