SmartFlyer Challenge: Electric Airplanes Fill Swiss Skies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

There are few times one will see more than one electric airplane at the same place – outside of perhaps, Friedrichshafen’s e-Flight Expo every year.  But to see them flying at the same field on the same day is an even grander delight.  That happened September 9 and 10 at Grenchen, Switzerland.  Grenchen hosted the world’s first all-electric fly-in – the SmartFlyer Challenge.  It drew an appreciable number of electric aircraft of all sizes and types despite the clouds and rain that kept some from scaling the mountains. An Electric Three-Plane Formation Flight The Siemens-powered Magnus e-Fusion from the Czech Republic, the electric Phoenix motorglider, and Stuttgart University’s e-Genius all flew formation with a Piper L-4, a World War Two …

Siemens-Powered Extra 330LE Makes a Great Tow Plane

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Already proving its ability to climb at a great rate on its own, the Siemens-powered Extra 330LE towed an LS-8 sailplane to 600 meters (1.968 feet) in a mere 76 seconds.  This alone could be a gift to soaring. Sitting at the controls of a sailplane being towed aloft behind a conventionally-powered tow plane proves taxing, for the many minutes it takes to gain a release height of 2,000 or 3,000 feet can seem somewhat endless.  It’s also expensive for the gliding club or commercial operation.  The soaring club in which your editor was a member calculated the average tow for a Piper Pawnee or Cessna AgWagon consumed around 2.7 gallons to 3.0 gallons of $5.00 a gallon avgas.  Twenty …

Siemens 260 kW Motor First Flight, and a Siemens at the 2016 SAS

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Siemens Motors announced the first public flight of their SP260D motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft – although the motor had made its maiden, but not so public, flight on June 24.  Putting out 260 kilowatts (348.5 horsepower) in near silence according to Siemens, the motor will certainly be capable of putting the Extra through its paces. The motor weighs only 50 kilograms (110 pounds), and with its Siemens inverter adds little weight to the nose of the Extra.  Pipistrel-designed battery packs grouped behind it push the power-pack weight toward the center of gravity, which should enhance handling qualities. As Electronics Weekly reports, “Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminum ‘end shield’, for example, …

Hungary Scores an Electric First

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Thanks to Richard Glassock, we have news of the first electric airplane to fly in Hungary.  The Magnus eFusion made its maiden flight at the Matkópuszta airfield in Kecskemet, Hungary on April 11. A two-seat, side-by-side, low-wing monoplane, eFusion is an all-composite craft with fixed tricycle gear.  Its 410 kilogram empty weight includes batteries and a ballistic recovery system. With a maximum takeoff weight of 600 kilograms, the airplane normally flies with a Rotax 912 or UL Power 260 iSA, both four-cylinder, four-stroke units meant for the Light Sport Aircraft market. A fusion of the Corvus Racer 540, a high performance aerobatic aircraft flown in the Red Bull Air Races and the Corvus Phantom, a Light Sport Aircraft, the Magnus …

Diamond’s Hybrid-Electric Tiltrotor

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

Diamond Aircraft of Austria gave Flying magazine news of its hybrid-electric tiltrotor project – something not announced on Diamond’s own web site.  According to Flying, Diamond will partner with an unnamed “major industrial partner.”  The airplane could become certified within seven years, enabling customers to own a six-passenger vertical takeoff and landing vehicle with ostensibly high speed and the ability to set down virtually anywhere. Diamond founder and CEO Christian Dries says the craft will be powered by two high-output Siemens electric motors with power to recharge the batteries in flight supplied by a pair of Austro diesel engines.  Since there are four propellers, the motors’ outputs would probably be split fore and aft to a pair of rotors. The …

Electric Cri-Cri Crosses English Channel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Michael Coates, the U. S. General Distributor for Pipistrel Aircraft, sent the following missive from Ivo Boscarol, General Manager and Founder of the Slovenian company, now in its 26th year. “Dear All, “It is my pleasure to inform you that our friend Hugues Duval after reading the information that Pipistrel was blocked in flying across the English Channel today became the first electric aircraft to cross the English Channel in his CRI-CRI E-Cristaline Electric aircraft. “As Duval already had the permanent permit to fly his aircraft there was no need to ask for a permit to fly over the English Channel, but only to fill the flight plan. It was possible to keep the flight information secret up to the …

Diamond Hybrid Drive – One Engine, Two Motors

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Diamond aircraft seem to have been the go-to choice for electrification, with Boeing and Airbus fielding different versions powered by an array of powerplants.    In 2008,Boeing’s fuel cell-powered craft, a DA-36 Dimona motorglider, “was modified by [Boeing Research and Technology Europe] (BR&TE) to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.”  Airbus’ 2011 DA-36 “E-Star’s” propeller was powered by a 70kW electric motor from Siemens, with electricity supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator functioning solely as a power source.  In 2014, Airbus showed an improved version of this craft at the Paris Air Show.  Erik Lindbergh chose the Diamond HK-36 for …

EAS IX: Airbus Looks to a Light Electric Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Ken McKenzie, listed as Deputy Chairman of Airbus US, has served as Vice President for Airbus Customer Services and as Chief Operating Officer for Airbus Americas, Inc.  This high-powered individual comes across as a relaxed, congenial soul, though, and led attendees at the ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium through an overview of developments in light electric aircraft to come from the aviation giant. The e-Fan is the most visible effort for Airbus’s electric aircraft work so far, but the company is intent on carrying out a full E-aircraft program as part of its commitment to the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 program,. which bullet-points these important goals for the next 35 years: “1. In 2050 technologies and procedures available allow a …

Making the Siemens Motor Light and Powerful

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Siemen’s recently-announced 260 kilowatt (348.5 horsepower) motor has brought several comments,  one from a skeptical blog reader who asked some interesting questions. “VO” or “Volker” comments on Siemen’s claims for the motor, and throws in speculation as to the company’s veracity.  (Note to readers who submit comments: please don’t attribute conclusions not intended by the editor, as in the last sentence of VO’s comment, and avoid speculating on the honorable intentions of those who announce new concepts or projects.) “The first three you mention are kind of concepts but with reasonable or high efficiency. What is the efficiency of the Siemens motor? And whose tech are they using? They have been circling the makers you mentioned for years. Did they …