Beta Alia: Electric with Tern-like Grace

Dean Sigler Biomimicry, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A new aircraft’s first takeoff is usually performed under its own power, but the recent trip by Beta Technologies’ just-revealed Alia eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft was externally powered.  A 30-minute lift across Lake Champlain from Alia’s birthplace in Burlington, Vermont to its test site in Plattsburgh, New York was uneventful, but spectacular nonetheless. Helicarrier Assists on First Flight Hauled 100 feet below a Sikorsky S-61N from Quebec-based Helicarrier, the all-white, four-rotor Alia “crossed over the northern end of Burlington. With streets along its route blocked off by police, [it] then flew at a stately pace across the lake, usually just a few hundred feet above the surface of the water,” according to Vertical.com. Helicarrier, besides sharing …

Pigeon Feathers!

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

We lag behind nature in many areas, and constantly need to remind ourselves of our relative ignorance of her many secrets.  Feathers are a case in point, and Stanford University researchers found that, unable to duplicate the nature of these lightest of airborne structures, they needed to use the real thing in their latest drone. The IEEE Spectrum reports, “The few attempts at making artificial feathers that we’ve seen in the past have been sufficient for a few specific purposes but haven’t really come close to emulating the capabilities that real feathers bestow on the wings of birds. So a century later, we’re still doing the rigid wings with discrete flappy bits, while birds (one has to assume) continue to judge us for …

Tehachapi Soars with New ideas – Day 2

Dean Sigler Biomimicry, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The annual Experimental Soaring Association Western Workshop spills over the Labor Day weekend, starting with a welcome barbecue/potluck Friday evening and an official kickoff on Saturday.  Sunday features more technical presentations and this year – an organization business meeting and a closing talk about moon shots. Pelicans, Albatross and Perpetual Flight Phillip Barnes, an accomplished aerodynamicist, photographer and expert on soaring birds, links all his interests and skills in his web site, How Flies the Albatross. This year, he brought his knowledge to bear on a design for a flying machine that would pull energy from the air it flies through to power its electric motors – Coulomb Keeper. He described the design process behind it in a talk titled, …

Airbus Mimics Bird of Prey

Dean Sigler Biomimicry, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

This Will Probably Never Be Built Airbus displayed a large model of its “Bird of Prey” concept at this week’s Royal International Air Tatoo air show at Royal Air Force Fairford.  The model is meant to inspire expanded investigation of the benefits possible with biomimicry, the intelligent plagiarism of nature’s best ideas. Airbus extols this idea in its press release: “Airbus has unveiled a bird-like conceptual airliner design with the goal of motivating the next generation of aeronautical engineers, underscoring how they can make a difference by applying technologies researched at the company in hybrid-electric propulsion, active control systems and advanced composite structures.” The ‘#BirdOfPrey’ is taking wing! This sleek new concept takes inspiration from eagles to create a hybrid-electric …