Ampaire Acquired Two Firms – Expands Possibilities

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Anpaire, a leader in hybrid aviation, announced it has just acquired two firms.   Magpie Aviation, a somewhat audacious startup that has created a remarkable way of towing battery-powered electric airplanes hitherto unattainable distances.  Ampaire also acquired Talyn Air, a startup offering an eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) solution to extending range.  Both firms take unusual approaches to the problem. It’s not like Ampaire doesn’t put enough mileage on its own hybrid aircraft – 25,000 at last count.  Ampaire has flown its Cessna 337 push-pull twins in Hawaii, Scotland, and England and converted Cessna Caravans to Ampaire’s hybrid drive. Adding range up to a thousand miles at a time, Magpie hooks up to an otherwise range-limited aircraft and can tag team the craft on multiple hookups. On another front, Ampaire has also brought Talyn Air into the fold, using a lifting craft to take a cruise machine to launch altitude. Add to the new airframe types Ampaire has included …

AutoFlight Celebrates Two Milestones

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AutoFlight, the Chinese firm founded by Tian Yu (Yuneec), celebrated two milestones, although maybe not “firsts” as described in the company’s press releases.  Both, however, are impressive and worthy of note. First Intercity Flight AutoFlight claims to have flown the first inter-city electric air-taxi demonstration flight between the southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai.  In an autonomous trip, AutoFlight’s five-seat Prosperity eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft flew the 50km (31 miles) route from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. The flight across the Pearl River Delta took just 20 minutes, a journey that would require three hours by car.  For those with the funds to make the flight the difference in time is incalculable. According to the company, “This marks the first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route, spanning across the bay where the Pearl River meets the sea, connecting the two southern Chinese cities.”  In 2021, Australians flew a Pipstrel Alpha Electro …

Three Personal Flyers You Can Buy

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…Or Invest In We exhibit here three personal flyers you can buy today or within a year or so.  Perhaps that wait might be prolonged in some instances because a few of the makers are also looking for investors.  Recent instances of troubles getting a certain stainless steel electric pickup to market come to mind, for instance.  As always your mileage may vary. Doroni H1-X “Engineered for the new generation of personal mobility,” the Doroni H1-X is a sleek little four-fan runabout that can fit in a two-car garage.  Two pusher propellers help drive if forward.  An owner could roll it out after an overnight charging session and fly up to 60 miles at up to 120 miles per hour, landing and taking off vertically from and to a driveway-size patch. Obviously, with a $300,000 to $400,000 price tag, one expects a well-sorted-out machine that will perform as promised and provide the utmost in safety.  To that end, Doroni suggests …

A 1k\Wkg Aluminum-Air Flow Battery

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A one kilowatt per kilogram battery would be a literally fulfilled wish in any aircraft designer’s list of desirable advances.  Tesla’s drive around with 260 Watts per kilogram in their floors, and Amprius recently announced 500 Watt per kilogram cells.  A battery able to store one kilowatt of energy in one kilogram (2.2 pounds) would be an enormous breakthrough for electric aviation.  Under “stealth” development before being announced in 2023, the battery could become a fitting companion to the lightweight motors and controllers Wright is crafting. ARPA-E (the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy)  rewards some very creative teams.  One winning team combines Wright Electric and Columbia University in an effort to develop tomorrow’s 4X batteries. Three Project Parts ARPA-E awarded $1,499,098 to  “support development of an ultra-energy-dense aluminum battery and novel artificial intelligence system.”  Part of the Plane Electrification with 1K energy storage systems program (PROPEL-1K), the award will fund what Wright promotes as “Air-1, [an] elevated temperature battery designed for …

Helios Horizon Aims for New Highs

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Altitude records are tricky.  Aiming for new heights requires careful definition of one’s launch points, means of elevating oneself, and apparently adherence to a tightly defined set of rules.  Helios Horizon set some new altitude records last year, and hopes to reach even higher soon.  Its eventual goal is to fly “into earth’s stratosphere”– in an electric aircraft. Records at Altitude – and Speed This might seem like a bit of a step down for Miguel Iturmendi, the founder and test pilot for the Helios Horizon project.  He’s already been to 65.605 feet (19.9 kilometers) in Perlan II, on August 28, 2018.  As the Saratoga Times notes, the flight hit “The fastest known speed of Mach 0.48—roughly half the speed of sound—in a glider over El Calafate, Argentina, which earned him and his team the Society of Flight Test Engineers’ James S. McDonnell Award, as well as a Triple Lennie Pin (an aviation award for soaring named for the lenticular clouds …

A Different Kind of Blown Wing

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32 Motors across a long Wing Cosmic Aerospace has announced a different kind of “blown wing,” hiding 32 specially developed electric turbines across the inner span of a high-aspect-ratio wing. Cosmic will attempt to achieve jet-like speeds at half the cost of fossil-fuel or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powered jet. Electric-flight.eu notes the American-Belgian firm was founded by “graduates of Boom Supersonic, NASA, Oxford and Kittyhawk,” a broad spectrum of talent.  Part of that team is creating a fully-electric “jet engine,” currently under test at Limburg Regional Airport in Belgium. The motors will be fed by packs of 360-Watt-hour per kilogram batteries, achievable with today’s technology.  This enables up to 1,000 kilometer (600 mile) range for a long-winged craft carrying 24 passengers.  “Unlike other startups in the field, which are mostly focused on sustainable jet fuels, hydrogen, and battery tech, Cosmic has focused its engineering efforts on better propulsion systems and a unique air frame design, CEO Christopher Chahine told …

GoAero Prize Highlights Rescue Missions

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The GoAero Prize has a simple-sounding, but incredibly complex goal: Design and build a safe, portable, robust, autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyer. The Vision The Prize’s vision defines the heroes who look past danger, who step in to be, “The difference between triumph… and tragedy, and especially, those who “Use Their Minds to Create technology that Saves Lives.”  There’s $2 million waiting for those who come up with the best solutions.  And the competition promises even greater glory, “This is your chance to make history… and save lives.” GoAero says, “The world needs this,” explaining that, “In the U.S. alone, nearly 4.5 million people live in “ambulance deserts,” in a medical crisis, people in these areas have to wait as long as 25 minutes or more for an emergency medical crew to arrive.” We’ve seen recent examples of how serious such waits can be.  Paradise, California was a thriving community of over 26,000 before the disastrous Camp Creek fire in 2018. …

Wright Electric Passes Partial Discharge Tests

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Wright Electric, testing its 1.2 megawatt motor, has passed partial discharge tests, a significant achievement in high-altitude safety.  The company explained the results and their importance in a press release. ”Wright Electric Announces Successful Partial Discharge Testing on our Motor” “We are pleased to share a significant achievement in our ongoing pursuit of decarbonizing the industries that are hardest to decarbonize. Wright Electric proudly announces the successful completion of an altitude simulation test conducted in the Wright Lab, showcasing our 2 megawatt motor’s robust performance at a simulated atmosphere equivalent to 43,000 feet without experiencing Partial Discharge (PD).” Jeffrey Engler, founder and CEO of Wright Electric, explains in the press release, “Partial discharge is a form of electrical failure where electric charge escapes through tiny voids in apparently solid insulation. When partial discharges occur they can degrade the insulation and create a risk of fire in the motor.  PD becomes more likely at high altitudes due to thinning of the …

E9X: 90 Passengers, 480 Battery Miles

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What can carry 90 passenger 480 miles on battery power alone?  Such a query flies in the face of others’ efforts to hybridize medium-range flight, but may be answered by Delft-based Elysian Aircraft.  Their eight-motored, battery-powered E9X uses a backup turbogenerator only for reserves, putting a level of trust in the 365 Watt-hour per kilogram cells buried within the long, slender wing for safe transit. Graham Warwick’s Article Graham Warwick, writing for Aviationweek.com, explains that, “Breaking with traditional design principles, Delft-based Elysian says it has found design space where a large electric aircraft looks viable with near-term battery technology.”  That kind of range for that large an aircraft seems extreme, but the E9X’s developers are using currently-available batteries to achieve their goals.  Reynard de Vries, director of design and engineering at Elysian, explains, “If you want to make a significant impact on the sector as a whole, then you need to electrify flights up to 1,000 km [620 mi.]. Then …

JSX To Buy a Fleet of Electric Airliners

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JSX, an American semi-private airline, may very well shake up the travel world with plans to buy up to 330 electric and hybrid aircraft. JSX (Jet Suite Executive) dispatches with some niceties of larger airlines, but also avoids long lines, TSA (Transport Safety Administration) baggage checks and shoe removal, and lengthy waits for mobs of passengers to stuff their bags in overhead compartments (there are none on their JSX Embraer 135s). Instead, a passenger arrives at a JSX ticket office, sometimes situated in a hangar on the sometimes funky end of the airport, gets a boarding pass and self-serves some light refreshments.  He or she walks out to the 30-passenger (maximum allowed) craft, climbs aboard and finds an assigned seat (either two abreast or single).  Passengers can even bring a certified service animal into the cabin. This type of aviation seems looser and more enabling than that of the big carriers.  JSX is enjoying a lot of press and some …