CAFE Makes the Top of Kitplanes’ Cover

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

 While at the local magazine store, or the proverbial fine book store, you’ll be able to spot Kitplanes’ August 2010 issue easily.  The yellow letters on the cover line above the magazine title pop with upper-case intensity: “FUTURE SHOCK: CAFE’S Electric Aircraft Symposium.”

Not only does the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium get pride of place on the magazine’s cover and in four pages inside, but Marc Cook, editor-in-chief for the publication, titles his “Around the Patch” editorial “Making Electric Aircraft Exciting,” and proceeds to share his surprised discovery of respect for the new Toyota Prius, and to praise the husband-wife team of Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, battery builder and racer, respectively, of Killacycle, the 0-60 in one second electric motorcycle.  At a less-fevered pace, he predicts, “Gone will be the days that we fly at maximum continuous power in cruise….Maximum range comes at lower airspeeds and higher altitudes, one place the electric motor shines…. This will, in effect, turbocharge electric aircraft performance, and suggest high-altitude, low-indicated-airspeed cruise for best efficiency.”

Elektra One, an example of the high-altitude, low-indicated airspeed cruiser Cook sees in the near future

The headlined article, “CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium IV, Expanding Current Technology,” extols the virtues of CAFE President Dr. Brien Seeley’s “utopian world,”  explaining its reliance on efficient aircraft, clean technology, and a thorough revision of the existing infrastructure.  Cook selects several speakers as his Symposium highlights, including CAFE VP Dr. Larry Ford, noting that Ford’s explanation of the testing techniques the Foundation has developed show that, “CAFE is positioning itself as a compassionate but ethical examiner of future airplane performance.”

Other presenters merit Cook’s applause, including Charlotte Whitfield, NASA Langley expert on propeller noise; Tyler MacCready, “son of legend Paul MacCready,” with his history of Aerovironment aircraft and achievements; Michael Friend, Boeing engineer who gave a view of a hybrid range extender for motorgliders; Geoffrey Long of Launchpoint Technologies, who showed off his amazing Halbach array motor; Jaephil Cho, the Korean battery specialist who gave a “technically dense presentation on the development of lighter, more powerful batteries”; and George Bye of Bye Energy, who detailed his near-term plans to electrify the Cessna 172.

Cook’s praise-worthy appraisal of the Symposium ends with the thought that the gathering’s most important function, “Is to get us as pilots thinking differently about the shape and performance of the aircraft that might be available to us in the decades to come.”  Wait until he attends EAS V.

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