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 …

Magnax Motor Claim Impressive Power-to-Weight Ratios

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Echoing, in this editor’s mind, the collaboration between Oxford University and YASA motors, a recently announced motor from Belgium’s Ghent University and Magnax, makers of what they term an “axial flux machine.”  Similar to YASA’s products, the motors are yokeless, which the makers claim promotes lower weight and the shortest possible flux path. Beyond this feature, the motor/generators offer “A patented system for cooling the windings, for the lowest possible stator temperatures.”  According to Magnax, their Dual permanent magnet rotors give “the highest possible torque-to-weight ratio.”  Rectangular section copper wire fills more area than round wire and concentrated windings allow “the lowest possible copper losses (no coil overhangs).”  Grain-oriented electric steel lowers “core losses by as much as 85-percent.” The company’s white …

Britain Puts an Electric Nose on a New Zealand Carbon Fiber Falco

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

Richard Glassock, an Australian now working in Hungary, has been a presenter at an Electric Aircraft Symposium and received worldwide interest for his eight-passenger, open cockpit sailplane design a few years ago. He writes today to share news about a twin electric motor conversion for a Falco, the great, high-speed craft by Italian Stelio Frati. Originally designed for four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engines of up to 300 horsepower, the wood airframe was incredibly complex and required thousands of hours to construct. Signor Aldini reported taking 80 hours just to make the main spar’s jig – with four people needed to complete clamping before the glue set. With the increasing difficulty of finding aircraft-grade sitka spruce or aircraft-grade wood craftsmen, those who can replace …

Three Races Going Electric – or at Least Hybrid

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

Three major automobile and motorcycle races are adapting electric or hybrid power, and seeing winners in all categories.   The three take place in the month of June every year, making the month a showtime for innovation and a demonstration of incredible driving skills. Isle of Man Perhaps the most dangerous of all events, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle race covers 37 miles on public roads running through countryside and villages.  Over 200 riders have been killed on the course since the first race in 1910.  This doesn’t discourage over 100 riders from qualifying every year and hitting top speeds near 200 mph.  The winning gasoline-powered superbike this year averaged 128.749 during its six laps around the island. By …

PADA Lectures Highlight Innovation

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The 2014 Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA) dinner and awards ceremony, the latter held in the Vette Theater at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Museum, highlighted design innovation and the possible commercial exploitation of new technology.  Dr. Brien Seeley, Founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, hosted the evening and introduced your CAFE blog editor, who gave an overview of innovations in aircraft, avionics and powerplants he’d encountered on his daily hikes around Wittman Field. Dr. Seeley had the honor of presenting this year’s PADA trophy to John O’Leary, Vice President and General Manager of Airbus Americas Engineering (AAE), for the parent company’s development of the E-Fan, a twin-motored personal airplane that has been a highlight of the Paris and Farnborough …