Hydrogen Scooters – A Possible Power Source?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Amateur aircraft builders, like Francis Marlier of the ULM Club in Alsace, France who recently converted his Exelec to a Sunexelec with the addition of solar cells, are always looking for reasonable options for powering their airplanes. Perhaps they could turn to fuel cells as a range extender. Several motor scooter makers are bringing out fuel-cell powered models that show some promise despite limited performance and high prices so far. Intelligent Energy, an English company, demonstrated a fuel cell scooter in 2005, and a number of aircraft developers, including Boeing, have crafted fuel-cell-powered vehicles. Intelligent Energy’s ENV was reportedly the world’s first purpose-built fuel cell motorbike, and Top Gear’s James May enjoyed the quiet ride, if only moderately endorsing the …

Electrics Hit Their Stride at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Since Chip Yates hit the fastest time ever for an electric motorcycle up Pikes Peak last year, then pulled the UQM motor from the bike and installed it in his Long-ESA (Electric Speed and Altitude) record-setting flying test vehicle this year, other Pikes Peak EVs have demonstrated the benefits of their high torque power units.  Such performance shows the ready applicability of electric motors, with their uncompromised performance at altitude, as being great for hill climbers or aircraft. Toyota, Mitsubishi, and several private individuals entered the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, three finishing in the top 15 of all competitors. Scheduled for July, the hill climb had to be set back to August because of massive wild fires in the area. …

Chip Yates Becomes World’s Fastest Person in an Electric Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On July 19 at Inyokern Airport in California, Chip Yates and his Long-ESA electric airplane set an unofficial world’s speed record for battery-powered flight, hitting 202.6 mph just before a dead cell in the battery pack forced an emergency landing.  It was the airplane’s second test flight. Following a day of taxi tests, Chip, who has been taking flying lessons and recently achieved his Private Pilot’s license, set out to see how fast his 258-horsepower mount could go.  He has become the first person to break the 200 mph barrier for electric aircraft in level flight, beating the previous record by Hugues Duval at last year’s Paris Air Show in an Electravia-powered Cri-Cri.   Duval managed to hit 175 mph on …

An Off-the-Shelf Hybrid Power Package

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Andrew Frank of the University of California at Davis and Greg Stevenson of GSE, Inc. discussed Efficient Drive Trains at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 23, 2010.  Their detailed look at a 75-kilogram (165 pound), 36 kilowatt (48 horsepower) power system for a high-performance sailplane gave attendees a clear look at what can be accomplished with off-the-shelf components, especially if the shelf is in either presenter’s warehouse. Dr. Frank, teaching and mentoring in the University’s Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department, has been dubbed the father of the plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), and has fielded winning teams for the Shell Eco-Marathon, with lightweight cars that obtained up to 3,500 miles per gallon.  The base two-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine is …