A Different Kind of Hybrid

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In the Innovation Pavilion at Oshkosh’s AirVenture 2013, Joseph Hutterer quietly drew people in with a model and an interesting approach to a single-fuel type of hybrid.  Take the twin engines off the wings and place one of them in the modified tail.  Now put a small turbojet in a retracting pod in the nose.  Taxi out to the end of the runway and use both engines to take off and climb, then shut the nose jet down, retract that, and cruise on the single rear engine. Hutterer, with an Aeronautical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota, FAA commercial pilot’s license with single-engine, multi-engine, instrument and glider ratings, and 42 years of engineering and marketing experience in the general …

Solar Impulse Makes It to New York Early

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe that the Solar Impulse has been on its Cross America tour since May 3, but its early touchdown at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport late Saturday night was cause for elation on at least two counts. First, as the Solar Impulse team points out, “For the first time a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the West to the East Coasts without using a single drop of fuel.”  As we love to point out, though, it’s not the first time a solar-powered airplane has made the trip.  Eric Raymond did it in 21 hops in 1990 in Sunseeker 1, using the technology …

What a Month This Will Have Been

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Solar Impulse descending on Washington, D. C., the Cross USA flight reached a symbolic conclusion, bringing the future to a capitol that seems resistant to even modest change, let alone radical departures from current, conventional reality. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n64tAJs_c8w With one hop to go in its journey, Solar Impulse has spread the message of what might be if we have the will to overcome the inertia brought about by our well-lobbied legislature. Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard have one more opportunity to challenge the world to adopt green energy when Solar Impulse goes to New York City. Monday, they met with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, with whom they participated in an energy roundtable and news conference about the technology that made …

Sunseeker Duo Shows Completed Form at Friedrichshafen, Moves to Italy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Erik Raymond is moving his shop and Sunseeker Duo project to Voghera, Italy, nestled in Northern Italy between Milan and Genoa.  He showed the completed airframe at this year’s Aero Expo at Friedrichshafen, Germany and discussed, no doubt, the future of electric aviation with Axel Lange, the CEO of Lange Aviation.  Lange has developed the Antares and Arcus electric motorgliders, both outstanding designs. Following the Expo’s finale, Erik and his wife Irena drove south to Italy, where their enterprise will complete work on the Duo and plan for their proposed trips in unexplored realms– all on solar power. With Solar Impulse crossing the United States (which Erik did in 1990 in Sunseeker I) and more flights planned by other participants, …

Solar Impulse Lifts Off on First Leg of Cross America 2013 Tour

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Bertrand Piccard at the controls, Solar Impulse completed its motor runups a few minutes before its scheduled 6:00 a. m. PDT takeoff.  The project commentator in Switzerland noted that Piccard looked “a little pensive” in the minutes leading up to the historic departure from Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. The first leg of the trip involves a stepped climb – first to 5,000 feet for about two hours, then to a little over 20,000 feet until about 7:00 p. m. , when the craft will begin a stepped descent for the next several hours and arrive over Phoenix near midnight. As cars whizzed by on the nearby Highway 101 linking San Jose and San Francisco, Solar Impulse’s crew …

Solar Impulse Soars Over the Golden Gate

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

This photograph, by J. Revillard for the Solar Impulse project, speaks well more than a thousand words.  It exemplifies the aspirations those of us feel who want to see the skies filled with quiet, efficient aircraft.  If the individuals who’ve made this beautiful sight possible want to inspire others, they’ve succeed admirably. Follow the flight of Solar Impulse across America and see more pictures here.  

Solar Impulse is Here

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solarimpulse.com reports, “The Boeing 747 landed at Moffett Airfield in San Francisco at 1:13 PM (UTC-8) on Thursday 21 February.  HB-SIA was immediately unloaded and, in the coming days reassembly will begin.” Almost immediately, crews will assemble and test fly the already intercontinental solar-powered aircraft in preparation for a flight from the Bay Area to the East Coast.  Having conquered the gap between Europe and Africa on its trip to Rabat, Morocco and on to Quarzazate, HB-SIA braved turbulence and gusting that caused it to turn back on its initial foray into the desert.  Its final arrival at a gigantic solar energy plant in Morocco’s interior was a symbol of what clean energy can accomplish and a tribute to Solar …

Solar Impulse on 60 Minutes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Alexandra Gindroz, Media Relations Manager for Solar Impulse, shared this late-breaking development today. “60 MINUTES recently visited Solar Impulse, the first manned solar airplane able to fly day and night without fuel. Learn about this groundbreaking project widely recognized as a 21st century adventure with a real utility in promoting technological innovation on CBS 60 MINUTES Sunday December 2nd at 7 P.M ET.”   Even more exciting to alternative energy aviation followers, Solar Impulse plans on flying its airplane across the United States early next year.  “In the summer of 2010, Solar Impulse successfully conducted the first ever historical 26-hour flight bringing the notion of perpetual flight closer to reality. This revolutionary airplane is much more; it is an adventure that shapes tomorrow through …

The Green Speed Cup – Year Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

How economically can we fly, even with current technology? In its second year, the Green Speed Cup is an attempt to answer that question, provide some sporting competition and allow scientific research into the manner in which the greenest aircraft operate. Organizer Stemme’s newsletter explains the GSC, “Is a competition for any kind of two-seated aircraft. The target of the GSC is to fly as fast as possible while minimizing the consumption of fossil fuel energy. It is a direct comparison of technologies, machines, materials and the capabilities of the pilots. “The competition should help to find new ways and practical solutions for saving energy during powered flights. The aircraft that flies with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance …

Solar Impulse HB-SIA Returns Home, HB-SIB Under Construction

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse crossed from Toulouse, France to Payerne, Switzerland on July 25, completing an epic intercontinental voyage for the giant solar-powered craft. Its itinerary consisted of a flight from the Solar Impulse home base in Payerne, Switzerland to Madrid, Spain, followed by a jump across the Strait of Gibraltar, for the first time linking Europe and Africa by solar flight. Because of its light wing loading, the airplane is subject to the vagaries of wind and turbulence as the ultralight aircraft it truly is, and was forced to turn back after battling the elements for half a day on its attempt to fly from Rabat, Morocco to Quarzazate, the site of the Moroccan solar agency’s huge desert solar generating site.  A …