Joseph Oldham Beams an American Record

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A new “record” for an electric aircraft flight probably won’t make the books, but was a great sales opportunity for the off-grid charging system that accompanied it. 21 electric airplane records exist in the list of Federation Aeronautique Internationale-recognized achievements.  At least one was set in 2012 by Jean-Luc Soullier in his Colomban MC-30 Luciole (Firefly) – 189.87 kilometers per hour (117.98 mph) over a 15 kilometer closed course using a Lynch-type brushed motor.  It topped his record in February of the same year of 136.4 kph (84.76 mph). For a while, Soullier held records for altitude and distance, but these were eclipsed by others.  At the time, your editor encouraged beating these records, since they were early efforts in …

Take Heart!  United We Fly!

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Heart Aerospace, on the airport at Gothenburg Airport in southern Sweden, wants to bring inexpensive, four-motor electric flight to the masses.  With $35 million (29.4 million euros) in recently acquired backing, the small team at Heart is working toward making a 19-passenger, four-motor airliner a reality.  Their ES-19 is a single-aisle design with eight-rows of single seats and three-seat row at the cabin’s rear. Those 19 seats are a selling point, with United Airlines signing purchase contracts for 100 of the $ 9 million machines.  Mesa Airlines follows suit for another 100 and Finnair, Finland’s national airline, has expressed interest in another 20.  Funding from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other investors totals over $35 million.  For a niche …

Phinergy Aluminum/Air Batteries from India

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Phinergy, an aluminum/air battery maker from Israel, is now partnering with Indian Oil Corporation.  Phinergy’s technology just received an award from the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 most promising Technology Pioneers for 2021.  Phinergy was chosen for, “Its innovative energy solutions which turn metals, such as aluminum and zinc, into a clean, sustainable and cost-effective means of storing, transporting and generating energy.” Why would Indian Oil Corp. (biggest oil outfit in the country) be attracted to Phinergy and its aluminum/air batteries?  Company R&D Director S.S.V. Ramakumar explains, “Lithium is scarce in the country and we started scouting for an element which is abundantly available as a natural resource.”  Unspoken, the idea that India has one of the …

Eviation Moves Alice’s Tail – to Washington

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Israel’s Eviation has moved its manufacturing resources to Arlington, Washington, north of Seattle.  There, they are making an all-new version of Alice, changing its configuration from “V”-tailed to “T”-tailed and its power from tri-motor to bi-motor. The revised craft will be powered by two Magni650 power units, a package that includes a 640 kilowatt (850 shaft horsepower) motor, four magniDrive-100 inverter/motor control units, and “a closed-loop integrated thermal management system.” A New Alice Charles Alcock, reporting in FutureFlight.aero, says Eviation Aircraft confirms plans to make a first test flight of the redesigned craft by year’s end and have the new Alice certified and entering service in 2024. Obvious changes include a clean, high-aspect ratio wing and pylon-mounted motors flanking the …

Aussies Complete Electric Aircraft World Endurance Record

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A three-pilot crew accompanied by a five-person, multi-vehicle support crew have set a world endurance record for electric flight.  The team traversed 1,350 kilometers (839 miles) over not-always-hospitable terrain and through not-always-welcoming weather.  Participants in the record attempt held up admirably, with few problems other than seemingly constant cross-wind landings and often uncooperative weather. Their flight made it onto Australia’s largest television network. The Airplane Eyre to There Managing Director Barrie Rogers explains the limitation of the aircraft and the effect this had on the flight.  “The Pipistrel Alpha Electro – dubbed the ‘Tesla of flying’ – currently has a flight time range of about 1 hour and cruising speed of 85 knots (157km/h) so we’ve had to very carefully …

Archer Debuts – Meet Its Maker

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Immersive Introduction Amidst stage smoke and Hollywood-style dazzling lights, Archer Aviation “flew” its Maker into public view two weeks ago.  On an immersive cinema platform in a hangar in Hawthorne, California, Maker emerged amid all the pounding two drummers could produce.  It seemed to hover above the varied scenery over which it appeared and the on-stage and on-screen special effects were special indeed. The cynosure of the hoopla, however, was strangely static, even though its guiding lights were highly animated.  Co-founders and Co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein performed flawlessly in promoting their creation, adding to the professionalism of the event.  Since the event was inside, and the crowd was allowed to come on stage under the rotor blades, it …

Aussies Attempt Electric Aircraft World Endurance Record

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An Australian flying school and a flight planning software enterprise are in the middle of a series of flights that attempt to break an electric aircraft world endurance record. The cleverly-named Eyre to There Aviation announces that, “In partnership with platinum sponsor AvPlan EFB will aim to break a world endurance record for an electric aircraft with a 7-day, 18-stop flight around South Australia.” According to the organizers, “The proposed route will include flying across to the Lower Eyre Peninsula and inland back to Port Augusta for flight sectors around the Yorke Peninsula before arriving back in Adelaide, subject to aircraft performance and weather.” A 1,150 kilometer (714.6 mile) trek, the flight would “shatter the previous record of 750 km …

Sunseeker Duo has a New Radio and Big Plans

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Touring on Sunbeams Eric and Irena Raymond have an enviable life, traveling on sunbeams across Europe in their Sunseeker Duo, and if plans go well later this year, into northern Africa and beyond.  “Last summer, we flew down the west coast of Italy, landing on the islands of Elba and Corsica.”  Crossing the Mediterranean would be no major impediment to further travel, as Solar Impulse showed, because, “Being solar powered our airplanes are assured a constant supply of energy by flying over the clouds, and we can cover much greater distances.” This summer will expand their itinerary to, “Starting in Italy and flying down the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, starting by exploring the Istria peninsula, then touring the myriad countless …

Pipistrel Velis Electro Celebrates a Year of Certification

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A Year of Recognition Pipistrel celebrates the one-year anniversary of type certification for its Velis Electro. In a press release, Taja Boscarol, Co-owner, Head of PR, and Co-director of Pipistrel d.o.o. (equivalent to a limited liability corporation in America), notes the Velis Electro remains the only type-certified electrically powered airplane in the world.  Recipient of the first such recognition for a battery-powered aircraft, the Velis has received other accolades. Recognition includes a 2020 Plane of the Year award from Plane & Pilot magazine, along with the Epic E1000, a very different craft. The magazine lauded the Velis Electro’s unobtrusive nature, both in noise and emissions.  “We’re making a lot of noise about this plane, true, and that’s a bit out …

Two Similar eSTOLs

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Two different but very similar electric Short Take Off and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft from two different companies are making progress toward realization.  Both are products of teams originally committed to electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) designs, so the shift to different configurations is of interest.  eVTOLs are limited in range by the need to lift their entire weight on their rotors – some for the totality of the flight.  eSTOLs use aerodynamics to enable longer range, and with high-lift devices, can use small fields from which to operate. Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, has been a long-time proponent of what he called “pocket airparks.”  These neighborhood or urban sites would be contained within roughly …