Airbus’s Aerial Commuter of the Future?

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Airbus and its partner Local Motors have just finished a successful design challenge for delivery drones that can carry things like emergency medical supplies to selected destinations.  Recent announcements and the release of a patent drawing show Airbus is doing serious work toward delivering humans to their selected destinations in a scaled-up version of such drones.  Many brilliant people have tried to combine the benefits of ground and air transport over the years, including Molt Taylor, designer of the rightly famous Aerocars.  The example at Seattle’s Museum of Flight causes docents to lower their voices out of respect for the accomplishment. That’s certainly a concept promoted for last decade by Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and …

Why It Might Be a Good Idea to Register Drones

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At some point in the not-too-distant future, all those Christmas-gift quadrotors and Star Wars replica drones will be joined by medium-size burger bombers and two-hour-guaranteed delivery aerial vehicles for fast food restaurants and on-line retailers sending their wares to a landing zone near your front door, or perhaps the roof of your apartment.  This probably isn’t what Alfred Lord Tennyson had in mind when he wrote: ” For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be; “Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;”   (From Locksley Hall, 1835) There are already rules …

EAS IX: David Calley’s Innovative Design and Use of Electric Motors

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

David Calley is  member of the CAFE Foundation Advisory Board, with a great deal of technical expertise to offer.  His small wind turbine sold over 150,000 units.  His patented design for the TrailerTail® increases fuel economy on semi-trucks and trailers by 5.4 percent at 65 miles per hour, according to SAE tests.  Last year at EAS VIII, he showed the potential for small motors with incredible torque that could power Sky Taxis. At this year’s EAS IX he described, in depth, the type of motor design he has been developing to power things like his three-wheel electric/pedal-powered commuter vehicle and landing-gear wheels on Sky Taxis and even rocket fuel pumps. He asked the not-too-rhetorical questions, “How high can electric motor …

A Lighter, Zippier Tire for Electric Airplanes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Tires are not usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of airplane design.  On most aircraft, the landing gear is an awkward necessity, something to help one get airborne and settle on after committing aviation.  Our future electric aircraft might have power-driven wheels to shorten takeoff and landing distances, making them less inconvenient and more beneficial. Conventional rubber tires and wheels are heavy, though, and reducing their avoirdupois would enable better performance from a lighter airplane, or allow more batteries for longer range or better performance.  Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, wants to visit the best of all possible tire worlds by exploring the potential of polyurethane tires, reducing the need for …

EAS IX: JoeBen Pulls off a Hat Trick

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

JoeBen Bevirt, founder and head of Joby Aviation and Joby Motors , is obviously a workaholic, and not only gave a talk at EAS IX, but had an example of his Lotus unpiloted aerial vehicle at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on the same weekend. Two weeks before that, his demonstration wing for the LEAPTech program was speeding across the desert at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), Edwards Air Force Base in California. JoeBen told Symposium attendees all about his S2 personal aerial commuter and LEAPTech, a joint development with NASA. Part of the LEAPTech program has included building a truck platform for testing the 18-motor wing.  This is a fascinating bit of engineering …

EAS VIII: Making Small Airplanes Ride Smoothly

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. C. P. (Case) van Dam of the University of California at Davis provided some counter-intuitive pointers on making small airplanes ride more smoothly to participants at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in late April.  His solutions for ride quality enhancement in small airplanes are an essential ingredient in making electric Sky Taxis a plausible reality.  Because at least initially many electric aircraft are constrained to long wing spans and light wing loadings, they are subject to “perturbations of significant magnitude to be unacceptable.”  These disruptions of the intended altitude and direction of the aircraft can be more upsetting to passengers than to the aircraft itself, but van Dam had several suggestions to alleviate the vertical and lateral accelerations …