Zeva Aero’s Zero Test Flight in Full Size

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While waiting for Eviation Alice’s first test flight, we got a glimpse of another type of electric aviation in Pacific Northwest skies.  Zeva Aero’s Zero single “seat” flying saucer lifted off in someone’s sunny back yard for a series of hops. The overlay of soft music keeps us from knowing how noisy this thing is, and it would be of interest to know if it passed the good neighbor test while levitating, and whether the eight motors and propellers hummed or screamed.  (NOTE: since the video of the flight test has been removed from YouTube, we’re substituting the company campaign video. Founded in 2017 “to compete in the Boeing GoFly competition and then build a business on the back of …

Doubling Down with Ascendance

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Ascendance Flight Technologies, a French firm developing an electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has doubled down on its original, smaller airplane.  Originally a four-seat, hybrid-powered machine with three lift fans, Atea has retained the name, but grown considerably. Holey Wings Atea now has eight lift fans and two horizontal propellers arranged in a push-pull configuration.  It can carry its five passenger in a “Skyview cabin” for 400 kilometers (248 miles)  Powered by its modular “Sterna” hybrid-electric propulsion system, the craft will hit as yet unspecified speeds, but within a two-hour range, that will probably be about 124 mph. An expansion of their original design, Atea comes from a group of former Airbus e-Fan engineers and technicians.  The …

Zeva Zero – the Return of the Puffin?

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  Dreams of flight often include the dreamer wearing a silk scarf, if not a cape.  We would love to emulate our super heroes with all their startling dexterity.  A group in the Puget Sound area is making part of that dream come true.  Starting with radio-controlled models a few years ago Zeva Aero has progressed to a full-scale unit that will carry an individual Superman style, with the pilot/passenger peering through a transparent shield. Needing only a 30-foot by 30-foot landing area, Zeva’s Zero boasts the ability to hoist a 220-pound person vertically, tilt over and take them 50 miles at up to 150 miles per hour.  Zero’s eight electric motors provide a degree of redundancy and safety, enabling …

The EleFanT in the Room

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Electric Ducted Fans (EDF) may soon show some promise in full-size flight.  Several projects are under way, including EleFanT, an interesting development in Germany by GKN and KTH (the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology).  First, though, we’ll look at two stateside projects. David Ullman’s IDEAL EDFs fans are nothing new in the model aviation world, often powering large-scale models of actual jet fighters or trainers.  Such model motors, combining their thrust, can augment lift and propulsion on light aircraft, and a few larger projects are attempting to utilize that promise. David Ullman, in Independence, Oregon has flown a Jabiru he rebuilt from a wreck with its Jabiru engine providing the main power, but augmented in thrust and lift by four …

Thomas Senkel and Electric Vertical Mobility

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Thomas Senkel was an early part of Volocopter, initially called e-Volo.  His first efforts resulted in a spider-like creation perched on an exercise ball.  It flew, seemed stable, and despite the placement of whirling propeller blades encircling Thomas during his test flights, proved not a hazardous as it looked. Explanatory material accompanying the video declared, “The first manned flight with an electric vertical take-off and landing multicopter (eVTOL) was performed by Volocopter. The flight lasted 90 seconds, after which the pilot Thomas Senkel stated ‘The flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot.’ The flight, which is a Guinness World Record, was performed on October 21st in 2011.” Although he helped …

Embraer’s Energia Family

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Coming up with a new airplane is a daunting task – but Embraer announced four new designs this week.  Ranging from nine to fifty passengers, Embraer’s Energia family are all electric or clean fuel redefinitions of regional air travel.  Luis Carlos Alfonso, Senior VP of Engineering, Technology Development and Corporate Strategy presented them in front of a socially-distanced crowd in Brazil. The presentation, which sent virtual representations of the four craft flying out into the crowd, took place to coincide with COP26 (the Congress of Parties) being held in Glasgow, Scotland.  Its choices of pure electric, hybrid-electric, hydrogen-electric, and in its 50-passenger model, hydrogen or SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) driving turbine engines are all moving toward a “net-zero” goal. Two …

ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines Power Up

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A Different Type of Kitplane Green Aeronautics are moving beyond small beginnings into grander realms through ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines. Gabriel DeVault has flown two different electric airplanes of his own, a converted EarthStar Thundergull and a Sonex eXenos (which seems to be his daily commuter between Hollister, California and his home in Watsonville).  Both have been featured prominently in his YouTube channel and your editor has written about them for Kitplanes magazine.  Now, Gabriel is working on a different type of Kitplane at a much large scale. Gabriel managed research and design for the motor and related systems on the Zero electric motorcycle.  The original unit has gone through several upgrades, and is now seen in variants from …

Electron: an Electric Kit LSA with Promise

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Since we recently promoted a survey on interest in a kit-built Light Sport Aircraft that would be powered electrically, it’s interesting to see such a craft nearing first flight in Australia. Electron looks a great deal like Zara Rutherford’s record attempt Shark, a Slovakian European ultralight.  Even with fixed gear rather than the retractables on Zara’s Shark, the Electron still promises a cruise speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph). 75 kilowatts (100.5 horsepower) can urge the plane to that speed, considerably faster than a Cessna 150 on the same power.  Weighing less than 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), Electron is 280 pounds lighter than a 150 at full gross weight.  Its eight-meter (26.24 feet) wingspan and 9.29 square meters …

The TeTra Mk. 5

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The TeTra Mk. 5 is obviously not the first of its kind.  A little history shows its origins in the Boeing GoFly completion – in which the team won a $100,000 “Disruptor” prize from Pratt & Whitney, the long-time engine makers. As stunning, and confusing, the appearance of their GoFly entry was, it did not prepare your editor for the 32-rotor (plus pusher propeller) single-seater shown flying in California recently.   They flew SN2 of the Mk. 5 model in unpiloted mode, and will begin sales with serial number 3 at a yet unannounced price.  One can speculate, though.  Model aircraft motors such as the Hacker Q-100 cost 999 euros (about $1,163.00) each.  (The makers have cleverly taped over the …

Air Race E: the Vertical Class

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“The electric VTOL class is an entirely different category of aircraft altogether. Often referred as “flying cars”, this type or aircraft is at the forefront of electric technology in aerospace. Brace yourself for The World’s First Vertical Motorsport! This race format and its rules will be somewhat different than the airplane classes and will be revealed soon.”  Air Race E promotion. Possible Contenders The Alauda Airspeeder Two possible contenders (mostly) ready to race come to our attention.  The first is the Alauda Airspeeder, shown here in its Mk. 3 version. And by dint of the International Dateline, the craft’s most recent flight came to us the same day it was recorded. One may question how open-rotor racing at high speed …