A Ride in the Pipistrel WattsUp

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel has built what looks to be, at least in the video below, an attractive and highly functional airplane in the WattsUp, an electronic conversion of their Alpha Trainer high-wing training aircraft. In the video, Tine Tomazic, responsible for electric aircraft design at Pipistrel, shows the ease of making battery swaps on the airplane, similar to those of electric motorcycles or scooters, and takes photojournalist Jean-Marie Urlacher for a ride around what your editor assumes is Pipistrel’s Ajdovscina, Slovenia factory and field. Note the conversational tone in the cockpit and the lack of headphones, one benefit of electric aircraft that would lead to their being great training aircraft.  Aerobuzz, a French aviation blog, though, does lodge a complaint about the …

Pipistrel Shares Three New Products and Springs a Surprise

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Slovenia, a tiny country which can be seen in its entirety from a light airplane, makes an astonishing array of such vehicles at the Pipistrel factory, awarded a European Union prize as the epitome of green manufacturing facilities. The company uses solar energy to power its operation and reports the number of kilowatts flowing through its plant on its web site. Naturally, we’d expect an environmentally responsible firm to build environmentally responsible products, and Pipistrel is committed to going green.  Dr. Gregor Veble, Head of Research in the Research and Development Department; and Tine Tomažič, researcher and designer, shared a multiplicity of new products and gave an all-too-brief glimpse of a surprising future project with participants at the seventh annual …

Solar Flight on a Winter Wave

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond sent the following today. “Had a nice SUNSEEKER flight today, 3 hours, and as usual I could have stayed up into the dark, even in January!  This time there was wave lift, but very weak, despite 30 knot winds at 6700 meters (21,500 feet). “In the pictures you can see the inversion clearly, and the Adriatic covered in a blanket of clouds. “My batteries are very old and cold, but I still got high enough to connect with the wave, which went on forever. “Taxing was tricky because of big lumps of snow, so I landed downwind, as the taxiway is not cleared. Both his Solar Flight website News and Blog show more, including the construction of the Sunseeker …

Small car, Small motor, Big Launch

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

This recent video from FES (Front Electric Sustainer) in Slovenia shows a relatively low-budget way to launch and sustain a sailplane in flight.  This was uploaded to YouTube by Lumakaja on September 27, with the following commentary. “This way of sailplane start, can make gliding much cheaper! Idea is simple: Use of FES after being airborne with help of auto-tow. Only a few sailplanes have high enough landing gear, so that propeller clearance on grass is not too small for safe self-launch. With minimal help of auto-tow than all FES equipped sailplanes would not need towing plane or winch any more to become airborne. All you need is FES equipped sailplane, usual car and about 120 meters (384 feet) of Dyneema rope. Such …

Power Up Front

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

Luka Znidarsic and Matija Znidarsic, both experienced sailplane pilots and mechanical engineers in Slovenia, have developed a Front Electric Sustainer, a power system that provides a climb of 1.5 meters per second (198 feet per minute) for their prototype configuration on an 18-meter LAK 17.  They designed their own motor and controller for the application.  The motor is 5 kg (11 pounds), and puts out 15 kW (20.1 horsepower) at 85 Volts.  Total weight for the power package is 35 kg (77 pounds), with batteries in two packs behind the rear spar, balancing the weight of the motor and propeller in the nose. “Front” refers to the motor’s location, right in the nose of the sailplane.  A 0.9 meter (35.4 inches) …