Thomas Senkel and Electric Vertical Mobility

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Thomas Senkel was an early part of Volocopter, initially called e-Volo.  His first efforts resulted in a spider-like creation perched on an exercise ball.  It flew, seemed stable, and despite the placement of whirling propeller blades encircling Thomas during his test flights, proved not a hazardous as it looked. Explanatory material accompanying the video declared, “The first manned flight with an electric vertical take-off and landing multicopter (eVTOL) was performed by Volocopter. The flight lasted 90 seconds, after which the pilot Thomas Senkel stated ‘The flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot.’ The flight, which is a Guinness World Record, was performed on October 21st in 2011.” Although he helped …

Embraer’s Energia Family

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Coming up with a new airplane is a daunting task – but Embraer announced four new designs this week.  Ranging from nine to fifty passengers, Embraer’s Energia family are all electric or clean fuel redefinitions of regional air travel.  Luis Carlos Alfonso, Senior VP of Engineering, Technology Development and Corporate Strategy presented them in front of a socially-distanced crowd in Brazil. The presentation, which sent virtual representations of the four craft flying out into the crowd, took place to coincide with COP26 (the Congress of Parties) being held in Glasgow, Scotland.  Its choices of pure electric, hybrid-electric, hydrogen-electric, and in its 50-passenger model, hydrogen or SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) driving turbine engines are all moving toward a “net-zero” goal. Two …

ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines Power Up

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A Different Type of Kitplane Green Aeronautics are moving beyond small beginnings into grander realms through ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines. Gabriel DeVault has flown two different electric airplanes of his own, a converted EarthStar Thundergull and a Sonex eXenos (which seems to be his daily commuter between Hollister, California and his home in Watsonville).  Both have been featured prominently in his YouTube channel and your editor has written about them for Kitplanes magazine.  Now, Gabriel is working on a different type of Kitplane at a much large scale. Gabriel managed research and design for the motor and related systems on the Zero electric motorcycle.  The original unit has gone through several upgrades, and is now seen in variants from …

Electron: an Electric Kit LSA with Promise

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

Since we recently promoted a survey on interest in a kit-built Light Sport Aircraft that would be powered electrically, it’s interesting to see such a craft nearing first flight in Australia. Electron looks a great deal like Zara Rutherford’s record attempt Shark, a Slovakian European ultralight.  Even with fixed gear rather than the retractables on Zara’s Shark, the Electron still promises a cruise speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph). 75 kilowatts (100.5 horsepower) can urge the plane to that speed, considerably faster than a Cessna 150 on the same power.  Weighing less than 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), Electron is 280 pounds lighter than a 150 at full gross weight.  Its eight-meter (26.24 feet) wingspan and 9.29 square meters …

Recycling Lithium Batteries – Cheaper, Better, Greener?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We would all love less expensive batteries that are safe, reliable, and possibly even better performing than what we have now.  What if recycling our throw-aways gave us “new” batteries  with refined materials that improve their performance? A current paper from the Royal Society for Chemistry may hold a key to producing such cheaper, better batteries.  The complete entry expands on the idea of reclaiming materials in used batteries in an efficient, cost-effective way.  The findings come to light with good timing, considering recent concerns over lithium mining and availability. Conflicted over Conflicts Battery materials are selected for factors such as their inherent ability to shuttle ions between a cathode and anode, the positive and negative poles of a battery.  …

The TeTra Mk. 5

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The TeTra Mk. 5 is obviously not the first of its kind.  A little history shows its origins in the Boeing GoFly completion – in which the team won a $100,000 “Disruptor” prize from Pratt & Whitney, the long-time engine makers. As stunning, and confusing, the appearance of their GoFly entry was, it did not prepare your editor for the 32-rotor (plus pusher propeller) single-seater shown flying in California recently.   They flew SN2 of the Mk. 5 model in unpiloted mode, and will begin sales with serial number 3 at a yet unannounced price.  One can speculate, though.  Model aircraft motors such as the Hacker Q-100 cost 999 euros (about $1,163.00) each.  (The makers have cleverly taped over the …

Air Race E: the Vertical Class

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“The electric VTOL class is an entirely different category of aircraft altogether. Often referred as “flying cars”, this type or aircraft is at the forefront of electric technology in aerospace. Brace yourself for The World’s First Vertical Motorsport! This race format and its rules will be somewhat different than the airplane classes and will be revealed soon.”  Air Race E promotion. Possible Contenders The Alauda Airspeeder Two possible contenders (mostly) ready to race come to our attention.  The first is the Alauda Airspeeder, shown here in its Mk. 3 version. And by dint of the International Dateline, the craft’s most recent flight came to us the same day it was recorded. One may question how open-rotor racing at high speed …

Group 14: The Next Battery Innovation?

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

Tina Casey, writing in Clean Technica, reflects on the coming changes in the “gasmobile” to EV ratio.  “Somewhere in the outer reaches of talk radio, a ghost stalks the halls, mumbling of light bulbs and plastic bags and electric cars that won’t start in cold weather. Meanwhile, most automakers are not waiting around for the other shoe to drop. They have finally begun pivoting into the sparkling green world of zero emission personal mobility, even those once wedded to the idea of ‘clean diesel,’ and a new battery formula is here to help.” Her article, “Game Over For Gasmobiles: Electric Vehicle Batteries Just Keep On Getting Better,” describes efforts at Group 14, the second of two electric vehicle firms recently …

Following the Sky Taxi Money: eVTOLs

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

As though by magic, money from Wall Street, venture capitalists and other investors show a growing interest and cash flow in sky taxis.  It started on August 11 with JoeBen Bevirt of JOBY ringing the bell that starts trading on the stock market floor. As one web site points out, it’s up to the discretion of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as to who gets to ring the bell and, “Only those companies with stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed on the exchange can ring the bell.” We’ll look at a sampling of companies making electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles and selling in domestic and foreign markets for an overview of what’s hot.  Later, we’ll look …

Craft Aero’s 16 Motors and Diamond Wings

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Craft Aero, yet another newcomer in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, brings a novel 16 motor, diamond wing design to regional aviation. Laurie Foti writing for Tech Crunch, thinks, “Air taxis may still be pie in the sky,” but acknowledges Craft Aerospace for aiming to move the air travel industry forward, “with a totally new vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that it believes could make city-to-city hops simpler, faster, cheaper and greener.” She credits Craft for its “new” method of deflecting airflow downward to gain vertical takeoffs, something qualified by company co-founder James Dorris.  He notes that, “Our tech is a combination of both existing and novel tech.  The box wing has been built and flown; …