Zephyr Breaks Its Own Record – Again

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Royal Aeronautical Society, official record keeper for such things, announced in an August 8 press release, “Taking off from Arizona, US on 11 July, Airbus Defense’s solar-powered UAV (unpiloted aerial vehicle), the British-built Zephyr S, has smashed the existing endurance record for unrefueled, unmanned flight by staying aloft for 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes. This, the maiden flight of the production Zephyr S HAPS (high altitude pseudo satellite) for the UK MoD (United Kingdom Ministry of Defense), once verified, almost doubles the existing endurance flight record of 14 days, 22 minutes for UAVs, set by a previous Zephyr prototype in 2010. The solar-powered Zephyr UAV, which weighs less than 75 [kilograms – 165 pounds], flies at 70,000ft, …

Rolls-Royce Rolls a Few New Approaches

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

Rolls-Royce, famous for building engines such as the WWII Merlin that powered Spitfires, Mustangs, Mosquitos and Lancaster bombers, is engaged on three (or four) fronts currently, bringing hybrid electric transport to the skies. Hybrid Electric VTOL for Commuting Rolls is jumping into this crowded market segment with its concept for an electric VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) machine, powered by four electric motors on the wings and two on the tail.   With over 100 machines of varying configurations that might be the Uber rides of the future – according to Electric VTOL News, Rolls, normally a conservative company, is planning something a bit radical – even in this field. Rolls’ headline for this craft indicates a new direction for the …

Formula E, Complete with Obligatory Crash and a Glycerin Chaser

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

Aside from Lucas di Grassi  and Audi  Sport ABT winning the first Formula E race in Beijing, China over the weekend, it would have been almost unremarkable except for the last-lap, last corner collision between Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.  The spectacular crash was TV news worthy, and despite the initial friction during and after the crash, Prost and Heidfeld both sent mea culpa apologies to each other via social media.  Formula e races, so far, seem fairly civilized affairs. 35 of the other 40 starters, all essentially alike aside from their team paint jobs, crossed the finish line unscathed and having burned nothing but rubber during their 45 minutes around the 3.44 kilometer (2.13 miles) track.  Even the charger …