Faster, Cleaner AND Less Pricey?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

University of Michigan Research Sprinkled with Optimism (or Not) Can electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) machines provide the swift crossing of  urban distances at a price that will attract the non-flying public? Can they do so while keeping pollution in check? A University of Michigan study, funded in part by Ford Motors, concluded that taking a short (depending on definition) trip in an autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing machine might not only be quicker than a ground-bound journey through gridlock, but might even be less expensive.  These two factors are important if we are clean  the toxic atmosphere that hangs over our major cities, at least partly brought about by the constant transit of personal automobiles, public buses, …

Metro Hop Leaps From Tall Buildings

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Metro Hop™ is an electric, conventional fixed wing, all-weather aircraft designed to operate within the urban air mobility environment, according to their web site. Different Design Philosophies Metro Hop is a unique view from the leaders of the CAFE Foundation, which is often allied with the Vertical Flight Society.  Metro Hop’s fixed-wing approach seems to fly in the face of the team’s normal affiliations. The Sustainable Aviation Foundation was established as a proponent of fixed-wing design by President Brien Seeley, and promotes “pocket airparks,” small urban and suburban airports that would distribute availability of short-range aircraft within walking or cycling distance for many urban dwellers.  CAFE would distribute spaces similar to heliports on rooftops or on specialized buildings such as …

Bell Nexus Debuts at CES 2019

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) had over 4,500 exhibitors, and one major aircraft company showing off its Bell Nexus sky taxi and its Autonomous Pod Transport (APT).  Fast Company reported that three major trends emerged: the thousands of devices that link to “virtual assistants” such as Alexa (28,000 apps), the introduction of a slew of Apple products, and the changes in transportation new technology will bring. Fast Company noted, “This long-term–and wildly futuristic–strategizing was on full display at CES. For starters, the Uber partner Bell showed off a second-stage concept of its flying car that both companies swear they will begin testing in 2020. (This has been on the docket for a while.) A full-scale model on the CES floor promised to …

Verdego Aero – Another Variant on VTOL Travel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A Controversy for Starters Skeptics abound concerning the current spate of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines.  The latest entry in the competition comes from the trio of Erik Lindbergh, Eric Bartsch, and Pat Anderson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Their Verdego eight-rotor machine looks a bit like the Airbus A3 Vahana, but has pusher, rather than puller, propellers on the rear wing. On his Linked In page, Bartsch jumps into an ongoing fray with his article, “The Inevitability of Short-Range Urban Aviation – Why I’m Betting Against the “Flying Uber” Skeptics.” It takes aim at the opposing point of view in “Going Direct: On the Insanity of Flying Ubers,” by Plane & Pilot writer Robert Goyer.  To shorten the two …

NASA’s Mark Moore Joins Uber

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

You must really be somebody when Fortune Magazine notices you’re taking a new job.  Mark Moore is indeed somebody, and remarkably self-confident in leaving a 30-year NASA career to sign on to a startup – even if it is run by Uber.  He will be Director of Aviation for the on-demand ride company, tackling the problems inherent in taking such services into the third dimension. His decade-long work in electric propulsion for aircraft has led him to conceive of some interesting possibilities for Personal Air Vehicles, a term he engaged early.  His Puffin vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, for instance, seemed to use elements of Lockheed’s XFV-1 Pogo and Aerovironment’s Sky Tote – both tail sitters.  Ben Rich’s book, Skunk …

Your Flying Car is on Its Way – How Soon?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Uber is projecting real-world approaches to personal transport in urban environments.  Their work with Airbus affiliate A3 could help unlock gridlock for all of us.  Gridlock wastes millions of hours of otherwise productive time, a key measure of “the good life.”  With eVolo having demonstrated that 16 rotors can carry the weight of two people, and eHang showing a drone-like device that can carry one passenger on a 20-minute hop, urban mobility may soon become less depressing and more uplifting.  Other vehicles wait in the wings, so to speak, with the main impediment being regulatory gridlock. Uber Elevates the Discussion Uber Elevate, a project on which Uber and Airbus are collaborating, published a 98-page white paper last November, Fast-Forwarding to …

EAS IX: JoeBen Pulls off a Hat Trick

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

JoeBen Bevirt, founder and head of Joby Aviation and Joby Motors , is obviously a workaholic, and not only gave a talk at EAS IX, but had an example of his Lotus unpiloted aerial vehicle at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on the same weekend. Two weeks before that, his demonstration wing for the LEAPTech program was speeding across the desert at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), Edwards Air Force Base in California. JoeBen told Symposium attendees all about his S2 personal aerial commuter and LEAPTech, a joint development with NASA. Part of the LEAPTech program has included building a truck platform for testing the 18-motor wing.  This is a fascinating bit of engineering …