MAGiCALL Motor/Controller Vies for Simplicity, Lightness

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

MAGiCALL, a California-based firm whose slogan, “Innovative Magnetics to Power Your Products,” covers everything from aircraft to medical applications, has introduced a combined MAGiDRIVE™ integrated motor and controller line of products.  These are of particular interest for electric aircraft designers, since the company has been picked to supply motors to the Airbus A3 Vahana project. Whatever else they may accomplish, the many multi-rotor sky taxis will create a demand for a great number of motors, controllers, and battery packs.  16 on every Volocopter, eight to 16 on every Ehang, and eight on every Vahana will promote mass production, perhaps leading to a Model T moment where such technology becomes universally affordable. What Ford did for automobiles, most of the current …

AirSpaceX is NOT an Elon Musk Company

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) is a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), and as far as this editor knows, not related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.  A little closer to earth, the planned low-altitude perambulations of its two creations reflect the growing interest in “sky taxis.” A Holding Company Brought Down by the Great Depression Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO, sees Detroit Aircraft Corporation as an attempt to return the Motor City to its former glory days as a leader in aircraft development.  He notes that for a few brief years, DAC held controlling interests in the Ryan and Lockheed Aircraft companies, and created the only metal-clad airship in aeronautical history, The ZMC-2.  He explains, “Back in the ’20s, Detroit …

Volocopter Starts Autonomous Air Service Trials in Dubai

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In June, Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority (RTA) announced its plans to test fly Volocopter’s 200 over the country by the last quarter of this year.  The government and Volocopter have succeeded in meeting that timeline, with demonstrations this week of Volocopter’s quiet ability to fly autonomously (although without passengers so far).  Aerial transit will be a small part of a much broader scheme, the government intent on providing excellent public transportation, as shown in this well-produced video. To ensure meeting Dubai’s ambitious goal, Volocopter’s designers tested the machine thoroughly in German skies.  Note the Grob Strato 2C by one of the hangars, the twin-engined airplane in which Einar Enevoldson, founder of the Perlan Project, set the still extant world …

Hoversurf – The Russians are coming with Flying Bikes

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hoversurf, a Russian flying motorcycle, has been getting a lot of press lately.  “Looks like a hell of a ride,” trumpets TheNextWeb.  Mashable headlines, “The first manned hoverbike could finally fulfill your ‘Star Wars’ dreams,” but points out, “Those dangerous-looking propellers spinning right next to the pilot’s legs.” New Atlas (formerly Gizmag) says it is, “Equally amazing and horrifying.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztr5eyASasQ Hoversurf’s Scorpion evokes Star Wars with its clean white gloss.  But like the movie’s speeder bikes flung about by heroes and villains alike, seems equally dangerous with its wooden propellers at two different heights – ankle-biter and knee-slapper.  Protective shields theoretically will prevent slicing and dicing, and future plans call for an enclosed cabin with the occupant more secure from …

Dynamic Flight Testing for Volocopter

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kathrin Mohr sent this interesting update on the Volocopter VC200 demonstrating its dynamic flight properties.  Testing took place a “special flight test area in Bavaria,” with the goal being to find out how the two-seat vehicle handles at higher altitudes and speeds. The first manned flight took place in Bruchsal near Karlsruhe this year at the end of March, with managing director Alexander Zosel at the controls – when he wasn’t showing how the machine could manage itself hands off. By flying at around 330 feet, well above ground effect’s added lift, the VC200 shows it can maintain stable flight with adequate power, and can maneuver at higher speeds, up to 51.1 kilometers per hour (31.7 mph) in these tests.   …

Quart in a Pint Pot

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Lilium is still in its incubator stage, but drawing a lot of interest for its radical two-seat, high-speed aerial vehicle. EIT Climate-KIC, one of the funding organizations helping underwrite this startup, includes some startling claims in Lilium’s description. “Lilium is designing the world’s fastest and highest-range electric aircraft that is commercially available. “The two-seated light aircraft consumes half the energy of today’s most efficient electric cars and is so quiet that it can’t be heard flying in 1 km (@3,300 feet) altitude. It is propelled by electric impeller engines and features an extensive safety concept comprising a 3-fold redundant fly-by-wire control system, 12 redundant batteries and engines as well as a parachute rescue system for the whole aircraft.” The ESA Business …

Volocopter VC200 Certified in Germany

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With China certifying its RX1E two-seat electric trainer recently, Germany beats the rest of the world to electric rotary-wing certification with its provisional certificate for the VC200 Volocopter as an ultralight aircraft – certificate number VVZ, registration D-MYVC.  This will allow the German Ultralight Flight Association (DULV) to continue testing the vehicle, a program in place since 2013.  Testing has been done on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure – a telling name for the organization since the German government feels a strong digital infrastructure is necessary to efficient operation of all transportation. Further testing will lead to certification of the VC200 as an ultralight prototype and, following successful completion of testing, to series production. Volocopter’s …

From Ultralight Sailplanes to a Miniatur-Wunderland

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor has several friends who lay claim to the appellation, “ferroequinologist,” (student of the iron horse), meaning they fancy miniature trains and the layouts that support them.  One friend helped construct a layout that takes up most of a good-sized building in Portland, Oregon – but even he would be dumbfounded by the massive installation in Hamburg, Germany – which includes an international airport in its midst that accounts for 180 takeoffs and landings per day and handles 1.2 million “passengers” per year. Blogmeister Klaus Burkhard oversees a wonderful web site based primarily on ultralight sailplanes.  His writings have alerted your editor to the twin-motor self-launching ultralight Holliday Obrecht and his compatriots are building at EAA Chapter 309 in …

A Snowstorm in Singapore

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Having worked on a three-week project in Singapore 10 years ago, your editor became accustomed to the daily temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and evenings at a temperate 80 degrees (which some locals described as a “cold snap”).  It makes one wonder where the name “Snowstorm” came from when students at the National University of Singapore worked two semesters to bring their mult-rotor recreational flying vehicle to fruition.  An eight-person student team working as “FrogWorks” started with a 1/6th-scale model, then scaled that up to something that could carry and be controlled by a single pilot. FrogWorks is a collaborative effort between NUS Faculty of Engineering’s Design-Centric Program (DCP) and the University Scholars Program (USP).  According to NUS, “FrogWorks engages …

The Proof is in the Piloting

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Helicopter flying has been compared to patting your stomach while rubbing your head, something few manage well, if at all.  Imagine trying to not only keep  the rudder pedals, cyclic and collective under control but also fiddling with 18 throttles.  Even a conventional helicopter is a handful with one engine or motor.  Maintaining level flight with multiple lifting points at different points around the central fuselage would add to that level of difficulty beyond most people’s mental processing levels. Luckily, someone at Volocopter has worked out a very clever and quick-witted set of algorithms to take the stress out of that high-risk conundrum, as proven by company CEO Alex Zosel’s recent flight – single-handed and even briefly hands-off.  Heike Blödorn, …