Paris-Madrid Air Race 1911-2011

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

Pipistrel’s Hybrid Cruiser

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

The Pipistrel folks in Slovenia have been producing some suprising aircraft with surprising names for the last two decades.  Their Virus and Sinus motorgliders are well-traveled and well regarded, having won honors in the 2007 Centennial and 2008  General Aviation Technology Challenges sponsored by NASA and managed by the CAFE Foundation.   The firm recently announced that it won the European Business Awards prize as the Most Innovative Company in Europe – out of 15,000 entrants.  Indeed, their real-time posting of their solar-powered factory’s electrical output is a strong reminder of that drive to create new paths to the future. Another reminder of Pipistrel’s creative juices is the picture of their four-seat hybrid aircraft, which should be flying in the new year, according …