Recharging in Flight – Two Approaches

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Two videos made available in the last two days highlight  different approaches to recharging an electric airplane in mid-air, one for a full-size, trans-Atlantic flight attempt, and the other for a miniature drone which could fly persistently in a battle zone.  Both have been reported in this blog recently, but without the helpful animation. VIDEO WITHDRAWN BY REQUEST (PLEASE NOTE:  Chip Yates sent the following message today, August 23:  “The video of the mid air recharging was done without any involvement from us and by some unknown third party. We have no knowledge of how that video came to be or why the plane is flying backwards.  Please make it clear to your readers that this is an unauthorized video done by some enthusiast …

Keeping a UAV Aloft for 48 Hours – On Laser Power

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive recently managed to keep a drone, the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), flying for 48 hours on a laser-guided recharging system.  Its on-board batteries can maintain flight for two hours, so the demonstration improves endurance by 2,400 percent. Your editor admits to possibly over-healthy skepticism regarding transmittal of power to aircraft, remembering early NASA demonstrations that were noisy and more lightning-like than focused.  LaserMotive’s technology seems to overcome these objections. Stalker is described by Lockheed-Martin as “a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.”  The miniature plane  weighs a little over six kilograms (13.2 pounds) and has a wing span of three meters (9.84 feet).  As shown …