Erik, Eric, Dr. Anderson, Verdego and Hybrid Power

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In a recent AVWeb Vodcast, Paul Bertorelli interviewed Embry Riddle’s Dr. Pat Anderson on the topic, “Why Electric Airplane Designers Are Turning to Hybrid Drives.”  Battery energy-carrying capability has not fulfilled its promise yet, according to Anderson.  The difference in energy density between fossil fuels and batteries is still too great to fulfill missions involving more than small craft and short distances for the most part.  This outlook caused Dr. Anderson’s associates, Eric Lindbergh and Eric Bartsch to form Verdego Aero, dedicated initially to developing a Diesel-hybrid generator system. They corroborate Dr. Anderson’s sense of current battery technology, their web site answering “Why hybrid?”  They explain, “Electric aircraft are at the forefront of aviation technology, but the energy density of current …

Regenerative Gas Turbines for Hybrid Aircraft

Dean Sigler Batteries, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Beth Stanton shared an email she received from Alex Kovnat, EAA #452346, telling of Turbotech S. A. S., “A startup company” making very efficient gas turbines.  Turbotech “has patented a regenerative, high-temperature heat exchanger that increases the efficiency of low power turbines by a factor of 2–3. They achieved this by recycling what would normally be waste heat in the exhaust gases to preheat the air entering the combustor, resulting in less fuel required to generate the same amount of power. Turbotech views the turbogenerator as the ‘missing link”’ that will enable the future of hybrid-electric aeronautical propulsion.” This regenerative ability reduces the amount of fossil fuel required to make things work – a valuable criterion while we await better …

Link & Fly – Speeding up the Turnaround

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Link & Fly could speed up airport ground operations and make more flights per day possible.  AKKA Technologies, a French consulting and design firm, links two of its areas of expertise, railways and aircraft, in an airborne equivalent of linking an available flight vehicle to a railroad passenger “car.”  First shown at this year’s Paris Air Show, the aircraft, “Addresses multiple passenger, aircraft, and infrastructure operational challenges through innovative technologies.” Today, AKKA announced the successful test flight of a 1:13 turbine jet drone near Toulouse, France, which the company lauded as, “An exciting moment for AKKA and a major step in the Link & Fly project.”    AKKA adds, “This is the minimum scale model required to adequately reproduce flying conditions …

Contrails and Climate Change

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Contrails are the trails of condensed water vapor that follow an airplane at a high enough and cold enough altitude.  They became a visible presence in World War II and were part of newsreels of allied bombers hitting Germany and dog fights over the English countryside.  There was more than just an aesthetic side to the new, high clouds in the sky, though. Post-9/11 During the attacks on September 11, 2001, FAA controllers, “Did the only thing they could think of to try to control the situation: ordering every aircraft in U.S. airspace, about 4,000 of them, to land somewhere, anywhere, immediately.” “Canadian officials followed. Airports in Atlantic Canada quickly filled with thousands of bewildered people who had been flying west across the …

What Has One Engine, Six Motors and Seven Propellers?

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

EcoPulse™, a collaboration by Airbus, Daher, and Safran is a fixed-wing distributed hybrid propulsion aircraft whose power system emulates many of the Urban Air Mobility vehicles that use an electric Vertical Take Off and Landing configuration.  Safran, notable for its gas turbines, will supply the propulsion system (excluding batteries).  The system consists of a turbogenerator (combined turbine and power generator), an electric power management system, and integrated electric thrusters (or e-Propellers) including electric motors and propellers faired neatly into the wings. EcoPulse partners claim the six small electric motors spread along the leading edge, while providing propulsion thrust, lead to a reduction of wing surface area – much of the wing gaining lift from the blown areas, lowered wingtip marginal …

Clean Jet Fuel from the Air?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

What if we could suck carbon from the air, make clean jet fuel out of it, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using this fuel in our airliners?  That’s a dream pursued by many researchers, and recently Rotterdam the Hague Airport announced a study to sort out the plausibility of such a plan.  First, though, we need to look at the numbers for how much fossil fuel would have to be replaced. These are Big Numbers How much fuel goes into a large jetliner?  How efficiently is it used?  These are matters of concern to airline executives on a profit-and-loss basis, and to all of us on an environmental basis.  Let’s look at the Boeing 787 Dreamliner variants for an …

BlackBird Air, Bye Aerospace Add to eFlyer Sales

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

BlackBird Air, Inc., an on-demand flight service operating out of San Carlos, California, has announced it intends to buy 100 eFlyer 4s and 10 eFlyer 2s from Bye Aerospace.  These will augment the firm’s existing fleet of Cirrus SR22s and Pilatus PC12s in providing service to its customers. As the San Francisco Chronicle explains, BlackBird has been called “the Uber of air travel,” an app-driven service that enables flights to cities like Burbank, Palm Springs and Las Vegas.  Sarah Feldberg, writing for the Chronicle, runs through the niceties of this different plane rental approach.  “The interface operates like any trip-booking app until you’ve selected your date and destination. Then, BlackBird prompts you to either join an existing flight or create …

Equator P2 Flies Out of Ground Effect

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Following a decade of development, Tomas Broedreskift’s Equator P2 Excursion prototype made its first flights out of ground effect, a significant step in flight testing. It flew in ground effect just above the runway on March 29, 2018.  This helped verify the center of gravity and enabled further tests under audit by the Norwegian Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), which gave its release for full test at the end of February.  In a brief email, Brodreskift told your editor, “After 8 years in development it was about time!” Two flights on March 29 and March 31, 2019 gave the team the assurance that all systems are “go” for further testing.  Everything, according to test pilot Eskil Amdal, was more than acceptable.  …

Harbour Air and MagniX Partner for First All-Electric Airline

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

A seaplane fleet is preparing to convert its fleet to all-electric operation, which will make it the first commercial electric airline. Harbour Air, a seaplane operator based in Vancouver, B. C. is partnering with MagniX, an Australian electric motor manufacturer with offices in Seattle, Washington.  You may see Harbour’s DeHavilland Beavers, Otters and Twin Otters lifting off from or landing on  Lake Union when you drive by on the I-5. Harbour Air flies “more than 30 seaplanes” on 12 routes that carry more than a half-million passengers on 30,000 commercial flights a year.  The smallest craft they fly, the DHC-2 Beaver, carries six and burns about 20 gallons per hour of 100 low lead fuel – which now costs from …

The Diamond/Siemens Hybrid Test Bed

Dean Sigler Batteries, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

One should follow Dr. Frank Anton’s Twitter account – or at least check it occasionally.  Dr. Anton is head of Siemen’s Electric Aviation Division and posts new developments regularly.  Siemens is supplying motors to Diamond Aircraft’s prototype hybrid, a tidy tri-motor if you count the engine/generator in the nose of the formerly single-engine airplane. Partnered with Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH, Siemens motors powered an adaptation of their DA40 four-seat airplane.  A Diesel engine/generator in the nose of the formerly single-engine machine charges two 12-kilowatt batteries behind the passenger compartment and provides power to the two Siemens motors on the canard.  The whole thing looks a bit like a large economy-size Cri-Cri. Started in 2013, the project is under the …