Facebook Unveils a Very Big, Very Light Electric Flying Wing

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is intent on providing at least basic Internet services to everyone in the world, even if means creating his own air force to accomplish that lofty goal. March 27, 2014, he shared his overall plan, including a large fleet of airplanes that would loiter in the stratosphere, beaming high-speed Internet connections to one and all. Just a few days ago, Zuckerberg announced the completion of the first full-scale aircraft for this grand plan, the Aquila.  Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs in at around 400 kilograms (880 pounds).  Apparently built in England by his recently acquired team of aeronautical experts, Aquila will be able to stay in the air for months at a …

Fifth Anniversary for Electravia Ultralight’s First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Anne Lavrand, founder and head of Electravia, has over 35 different electric aircraft to her credit, having powered everything from paramotors to a world speed record-holding Cri-Cri  and a speed and altitude record-claiming MC-30. The story officially began five years ago today, though, with a 48-minute flight by an ultralight Souricette, a Michael Barry design with an Electravia-prepared Lynch brushed motor, golf-cart type controller and lithium polymer batteries . In an article from The Times of London, it was given credit as the, “First flight in a conventional light aircraft powered by an electric motor,” and as such a model of frugality.  Barry’s airplane, motor, and batteries might set an owner/builder back 10,000 to 15,000 euros ($13,000 to $19,500) and …

Sunseeker III Becomes the Duo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dropping a digit and its Latinate numeration, the recently renamed Sunseeker, a joint collaboration between Eric Raymond and a group of German, Swiss, Polish and Slovenian contributors, is showing progress towards its 2011 test flights. The 23-meter (75.46 feet) span solar-powered sailplane takes its wing from the Stuttgart Akaflieg Icare II, its fuselage from the Stemme basic profiles, is being built at least partially in Poland, and uses an electric motor designed by Slovenian native Roman Susnik, as noted in an earlier entry. The craft’s specifications provide evidence of the care employed in the design and construction of this lightweight marvel.  A 75-foot wing aircraft weighing 270 kilograms (594 pounds) empty and 470 kilograms ( 1,034 pounds) when carrying two in its …