Electra Flies Dawn One, Solar Powered Climate Observatory

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dawn One is a solar-powered climate observatory, one of many to come and an outgrowth of a long career for John Langford, Electra Aero’s CEO, and collaborator with Professor James G. Anderson of Harvard University. A seeming callback to John Langford’s human-powered aircraft from his MIT days, Dawn One is a 90-foot span unmanned aircraft system (UAS) destined to fly at stratospheric altitudes (49.000 feet maximum) while observing data for quantitative forecasts of risks in the climate.  We see its first flight from the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia on September 9.  The assistants in hot pink  and orange vests are Hokies, part of Virginia Tech University, and whose name is explained in a lengthy Wikipedia entry. The “solar-battery hybrid …

Electrifly-In Bern 2022 – The Year of the Hybrid

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, hydrogen, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Electrifly-In Bern 2022 is a new location after five years at Grenchen, Switzerland.  The Electrifly-In moved about 25 miles down the road to Bern’s bigger airport.  Started by the designers of the SmartFlyer, an innovative hybrid touring craft, the event was originally called the SmartFlyer Challenge. Organizers have the serious intent of saving aviation from the “shame” that has come to accompany flight itself.  “Aviation is pilloried by the public. Flying is seen as the main problem of the climate catastrophe and everyone who books a flight should have a guilty conscience and is labeled as a climate sinner. The social and political pressure to phase out combustion technology is steadily increasing worldwide. So the question is no longer if, …

Smartflyer Moves, Along with Former Namesake Fly-in

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, hydrogen, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Smartflyer is a four-passenger, proof-of-concept light aircraft that can fly on pure electric power, as a hybrid with an av-gas powered generator, or as a hydrogen-fuel-cell-driven airplane.  It’s been under development for several years, but is moving production to Stelzach – just nearby.  Likewise, the Smartflyer Challenge, an electric aircraft fly-in, is moving from Smartflyer’s Grenchen, Switzerland home to Bern, a much larger field about 20 miles south. The Smartflyer SFX1 Electric-Flight.eu reports, “The fuselage of the Smartflyer SFX1 is slowly taking shape.”  Company founder Rolf Stuber OK’d production of the first carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) fuselage at Aerolite near Lucerne.  In a rented hall of 500 square meters (5,382 square feet), the “ready-to-install” drivetrain, consisting of a well-tested …

Sonex and Gabriel DeVault Partner on Electric Kitplane

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Sonex and Gabriel DeVault have partnered to create an electric kitplane, marketing components for a different type of powerplant.  Sonex has been in the kitplane business since 1998 (having built from a decade’s-old earlier company) and Gabriel DeVault has been working with the electrification of aircraft for a decade.  Combining their expertise, we have a kit built path toward an inexpensive electric kitplane. Gabriel commutes a lot by air, traversing the globe between his home in Watsonville, California and Cranfield, England for work on Zero Avia’s electrification of Dornier 228s – one in each country.  He flies between Watsonville and Hollister, California in his Zero Motorcycle powered eXenos, a kit built product from Sonex Aircraft in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Before that, …

Influit Going Commercial

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

Influit Energy, a spinoff from Illinois Institute of Technology, is going commercial in a big way.  They claim to have developed a “rechargeable electrofuel – a non-flammable, fast-refueling liquid flow battery that already carries 23 percent more energy than lithium batteries, at half the cost.”  Reporting by Loz Blain in New Atlas.com notes the company plans “to commercialize its ultra-high density liquid batteries.” The firm’s “nanoelectrofuel,” a motor-oil consistency liquid, would refuel a vehicle with a special four-point nozzle.  The process would allow users to be on the road or in the air in a few minutes, rather than a few hours as with batteries.  Like a battery, the liquid comes with a positive and negative component – two liquids …

Piper Archer Trainers to Go Electric

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

CAE, a Canadian high-tech company, H55, Safran, and Piper Aircraft have announced a joint venture to make the popular Piper Archer® trainer electric.  With 28,000 Archers in service, a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) would replace the current Lycoming IO-360 or Continental CD-155 Diesel engines with a Safran electric motor. The Players CAE CAE, started 75 years ago by a Canadian war hero, pledges itself to making the world a safer place.  “Our vision is to be the worldwide partner of choice in civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare by revolutionizing our customers’ training and critical operations with digitally immersive solutions to elevate safety, efficiency and readiness.” The organization runs large flight training programs and designs and operates banks of …

Two Electric Ways to Oshkosh

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

Two very different electric aircraft found their ways to AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin last week. By eGull from West Virginia 72-year-old Jean Preckel of Bruceton Mills, West Virginia flew her home-built Beierle eGull from her home town to the Experimental Aircraft Association gathering accompanied in a chase car driven by Mark Beierle himself. She is a craftswoman of note, having built fine-arts level models of boats from 1983 until she retired a few years ago.  In 2019, she built and launched a lovely row boat, which displayed her great workmanship and rowing ability. The regional TimesLeader online news outlet reported that having, “…biked biked across the country, along the Appalachian Trail, traveled across Europe working odd jobs, [she] was …

Elektra Solar Trainer Unveiled 

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Elektra Solar introduced its Trainer, a new two-seat craft, at this year’s Aero Expo.  As reported here last year, the airplane features side-by-side seating to facilitate training, doubtless enhanced by the low noise level – 50 dB, according to the company.  Based on German ultralight standard LTF-UL 2020.  Compared to a “moderate rainfall noise,” the low sound level allows operation in noise protected areas and should enable easy communication between student and instructor. Safety and Performance With safety in mind, Calin Gologan, the plane’s designer, chose Geiger Engineering’s HPD50D dual motor.  Putting out 50 kilowatts continuously or 70 kW peak power, the 16 kilogram (37.3 pound) unit can run on either or both rotors.  Both independently controlled motors drive a …

Drexel’s Accidental Sulfur Battery Discovery

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Chained to Supplies? A sulfur battery uses an abundant, energy-dense material not subject to the limitations of many supply chains like those for lithium, cobalt, and nickel – all necessary for batteries as they are now constructed.  William Lockett, writing for freethink.com, highlights the potential magnitude of a discovery by Drexel University researchers. “Every now and then, revolutionary technology seems to spontaneously appear out of thin air and change our world. Dynamite, penicillin, X-ray machines, and even microwaves are all examples of such revolutionary accidental discoveries. “Well, this year we may have had yet another. However, this time it is set not only to revolutionize the way we live, but potentially save our planet from looming climate change by unlocking …

Beta’s Alia Makes a Highly-charged Trip

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

Beta Technologies has taken an all or nothing approach from its beginning, designing charging stations and flight crew centers to complement its aerial vehicles.  Last month, Beta got a chance to show at least part of its cross-country ambitions. A Six-State Outing From May 23 to May 24, Betas Alia 250 eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft made one of the longest cross-country flights at that time for such a vehicle.   Alia did not take advantage of its vertical capabilities, relying instead on conventional runway-borne takeoffs and landings. The total flight from Plattsburgh to Bentonville covered 1,355 miles (2,181 kilometers) and took almost 12 hours – about like a similar flight in a Cessna 172. Charging Stations Beta …