G4 to HY4 – Swapping Batteries for Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The University of Stuttgart and Pipistrel started down similar paths around 2007, with the Stuttgarters attempting a hydrogen-powered two-seat aircraft, the Hydrogenius; and Pipistrel developing a self-launching craft with either two-stroke power or an equivalent electric motor. The two groups came to rely on one another, with hydrogenius using the forward fuselage and wings of the Taurus G2 with hydrogen tanks in the fuselage and a Sineton motor on the tail.   On February 27, 2008, Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, the father of the solar powered aircraft Icare 2 and the unofficial World Record holder for distance flown in a solar powered aircraft, along with dipl. ing. Steffen Geinitz and dipl. ing. Len Schumann met with Pipistrel leaders, including CEO Ivo Boscarol and …

Powering Imagination at the Museum of Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Powering Imagination, a symposium devoted to that premise and to encouraging the development of electric aviation, achieved both goals on Saturday, February 28 at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.  Organized by Erik Lindbergh and Eric Bartsch, the gathering included two panel discussions and eight presentations that helped define where the world of electric flight might be heading.  Between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., presenters covered a lot of ground. Following Cale Wilcox, the Public Programs Coordinator for the Museum’s, introduction, Erik Lindbergh took the stage to explain the goals of the Powering Imagination organization, including making aviation clean, quiet, exciting and affordable.  This democratization of flight mirrors aspirations of the CAFE Foundation and is reflected in the educational efforts made by …

Green Flight Challenge – Day Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday morning, September 26, many of us had our first view of an electric airplane in flight. After the weighing team rolled Jim Lee and Jeff Shingleton’s Phoenix motorglider from the hangar onto its impound location and completed initial weigh-ins for the remaining three aircraft, the airplanes were staged for the first flying event of the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. With technical inspections and weighing completed, the four airplanes lined up to check their noise levels and their ability to clear an imaginary 50-foot barrier atop a cherry picker  2,000 feet from the top of the number “9” on runway 19 at Santa Rosa, California’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.  As each aircraft rolled out to their …

Klaus Ohlmann Sets New Solar Records

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

Klaus Ohlmann, 59-year-old soaring record holder, has set two new records in September, 2011, aboard Icare 2, Stuttgart University’s solar-powered sailplane. The 25 meter (82 foot) span aircraft weighs a mere 457.7 pounds empty, batteries, motor, propeller and solar cells adding another 152 pounds.  At 805 pounds with pilot, its 25 square meters (269.1 square feet) of wing area make it a “floater” in soaring terms, and probably not the “penetrator” that a good cross-country machine needs to be. This makes Ohlmann’s two records, the latest of 38 total, all the more remarkable.  Declaring his waypoints before each flight, he flew an out-and return flight of 384.4 (238.3 miles) kilometers on August 17, then topped that with a distance flight to three …

The Kindest Cut of All

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In 1811, an inventive tailor in Ulm, Germany attempted a hang glider flight across the Danube River.  He failed in the attempt, but it became the stuff of legend and at least one television commercial.  Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger (1770-1829) had wanted to be a watchmaker, but was consigned to become a cutter of fabric.  Despite this, he used his spare time to invent things like the first jointed artificial leg in 1808. Perhaps his skills with fabric led to his fabricating a pair of wings, essentially a hang glider, Shunned by his fellows for working outside the discipline of tailoring, Berblinger poured his resources into building and testing his glider.  Leaping from a scaffold built for the attempt by Prince …

A Record Book for the Filling

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), standards setter and record keeper for the aviation world, recently added new classes of records, including those for solar-powered airplanes (CS).  Such classes can be broken down by sub-class and category as necessary. Qinetiq’s Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) achieved several records in the UAV category in July, and these were made official December 23 by the FAI – a neat Christmas gift to the team.  As noted in Qinetiq’s press release: “The FAI has ratified three records which the QinetiQ HALE Team claimed following Zephyr’s long duration flight in July 2010: • Absolute duration record Unmanned – The longest flying UAV in the world (beating Global Hawk’s record by a factor of 11) at 336 hours …