A Hybrid Motorized Ultralight Sailplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Paul Robertson of the University of Cambridge has been sorting out the necessary components and relationships to make hybrid-electric-gasoline aircraft a practical reality for the last several years.  His Photonics and Sensors group at the University researches many areas of optics and electronics, including holography and “nano-photonic structures,” with hybrid flight last on the long list of studies.  The blog has been reporting on his aeronautical activities since 2009, including what turned out to be the second and third electric aircraft flights in England, and the first flight of an electric-gas hybrid in a modified Alatus motorglider. The current aircraft uses larger power components and is a bit more sophisticated.  In fact, an external view would not give away …

52 Years of Human-Powered Flight

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

This year’s Icarus Cup, a human-powered flight competition, was held at Sywell Aerodrome, about 75 miles and nearly two hours north of London.  The Royal Aeronautical Society hosted the first Icarus Cup last year, and explains its origins and purpose.  “In 2011, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first flight by a human powered aircraft. The origins of human powered flight begin in 1959, when the Royal Aeronautical Society Human Powered Aircraft Specialist group was formed. Two years later, November 1961 marked the first human powered flight by Derek Piggott. Since then, human powered aircraft enthusiasts have been competing for the Society’s Kremer Prizes . “One of the Human Powered Aircraft Group’s objectives is to promote human powered flight as a sport …

Launching on a Leaf Blower and a Hacker

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

Paul Dewhurst and Dr. Paul Robertson, chronicled in an earlier entry about their simultaneous electric ultralight flights last year, have created another first, a parallel hybrid motorglider launch. The truncated flight of their Alatus took place on September 9, 2010 at Sywell Aerodrome, between Coventry and Cambridge north of London. Dewhurst notes, “Flight was quite short though (around 1.5 minutes) after the controller suffered a bit of tantrum complete with sparks! Rework [is] in process and we hope to have a rather longer flight soon.” Replacing the Lynch unit normally used in the Alatus’s motorized version with an unspecified 76cc, 2.8 kilowatt (3.75 horsepower) internal combustion four-stroke leaf blower unit paralleled with a Hacker A200 12 kilowatt (16 horsepower) large model airplane …