MAHEPA and HY4 Go High

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

MAHEPA (Modular Aproach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture) is a European Union project to build emission-free aircraft.  A public flight of Pipistrel’s HY4 hydrogen-powered, four-seat aircraft was the latest demonstration of the group’s progress. Challenging Objectives Overall, MAHEPA hopes to accomplish five objectives: Advancing the fuel-driven serial hybrid-electric Powertrain which uses a lightweight internal combustion engine (ICE), capable of running multiple fuels as the power generation module. Advancing the reliability of zero-emission serial hybrid-electric powertrain which uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) as the power generation module. Advancing new airborne qualified, lightweight, high-power density components such as a 200 kW+ electric motor, a 100 kW+ generator and improved power electronics using Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology to increase …

Airbus Goes Modular with Hydrogen Pods

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Airbus announced its Zero E program in late September, showing three possible candidates for hybrid hydrogen power.  Zero E, for zero emissions, is a tall order even for one of the world’s two largest aircraft companies.  Now, the company makes yet another announcement – for a novel modular “pod” configuration – “a stand-alone propeller propulsion system powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It consists of the following elements:” A propeller Electric motors Fuel cells Power electronics LH2 tank A cooling system A set of auxiliary equipment Instead of housing the hydrogen fuel in the fuselage, Airbus creates a more spacious cabin by moving fuel storage to each pod.  Each pod would be identical and modular.  Components could be removed and replaced …

Something to Lighten the Post-Holiday Letdown

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

Even following Boxing Day, we have a few items to re-gift to our faithful readers, and close out the season with four very light examples of electric aviation. A-I-R ATOS Felix Ruhle has been improving and refining a basic wing design for over a decade, growing a line of aircraft that range from simple hang-gliders to fairly sleek, self-launching, electrically-powered ultralight sailplanes.  The A-I-R factory/showroom in Halblech, Germany, one of 18 dealerships around the world, fronts a lush green meadow and houses a plethora of ATOS wings. The ATOS wing, coming in a range of sizes, can be attached to seemingly anything from a simple jump-off-the-nearest cliff hang-gliding rig to refined, electrically-powered ultralight sailplanes. Under development for the last few …

Sunseeker Duo Plays Among the Alps

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

Eric and Irena Raymond took a lovely Sunseeker Duo flight over the Italian alps near their home in Voghera and edited it all into a video.  They designed and built their own solar-powered airplane – Eric’s third.  He flew Sunseeker 1 across the US in 1990 in 21 hops.  A big press conference scheduled for his last landing at Kitty Hawk, NC was a big disappointment since the US invaded Kuwait that day. Six Minutes of Great Beauty Their airplane has solar cells arrayed across the wing and horizontal tail, a small battery pack that gets recharged while flying in the sun, and a 22 kilowatt (30 hp) motor on the tail.  Turning off the motor they can soar on …

ZeroAvia Gains Backing at High Levels

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

“Cannot be more proud and humbled to be a part of this stellar team!”  That’s power system developer Gabriel DeVault’s response to ZeroAvia’s Chief Financial Officer Katya Akulinicheva’s enthusiastic endorsement of Bloomberg LP’s news.  She listed the investors taking an active interest in ZeroAvia, including Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures and Summa Equity. Already benefiting from a $16.3 million grant from Innovate UK, Aerospace Technology Institute and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), ZeroAvia will be able to push forward on plans to create a 19-seat hydrogen-powered commuter liner. According to Bloomberg, “ZeroAvia aims to demonstrate that it can fly a plane 500 miles (804 kilometers) with as …

Joby “Unicorn” Gains Private, Military Backing

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

NOTICE: We are publishing this entry despite not being able to download fixed images into the file.  We will have that repaired soon, but want the news to go out in the meantime.  Practice patience in the meantime.  Thank you.  Joby Aviation is one of few “unicorns” in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, a billion-dollar enterprise.  With funding coming from Toyota, several venture capital investors, Uber and the U. S. Army, Joby seems poised to demonstrate Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a serious way. In 2011 JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby Energy, Joby Aviation, and creator of those knobby-looking tripods you see everywhere, invited Patrick McLaughlin to visit his design studio.  Your editor got to tag …

Russian Efly 1A Begins Flight Tests

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

Designing and building an airplane is a major undertaking, often taking a decade or more to complete.  Aleksey Sychev has completed two airplanes and at least two motors out of three planned.  Think about that – our Russian friend has built his own airplanes, motors, controllers, and battery packs.  The Russian engineer and teacher has even successfully flown his Efly 1A motor glider. Aleksey recounts the day on his Facebook page.  “We tested the Efly-1a motor glider. The declared characteristics were confirmed: 9 take-offs were performed on one battery charge, then 3 flights over the strip. Operating time on a single charge is 5 minutes (3 takeoff and 3 cruise modes are included). This is in numbers. There were unreal …

Tecnam Goes Electric in Parallel and with Batteries

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

Tecnam, an Italian aircraft producer noteworthy for supplying the base aircraft for NASA’s X-57 Maxwell distributed electric test vehicle, has two of its own electric craft under development.  One will be a parallel-hybrid single-engine/motor four-seater with perhaps the smallest motor Rolls-Royce can supply.  The other will employ a battery-only system to power an 11-seat commuter aircraft. Tecnam’s history, starting in 1948, includes the design and manufacture of over 33 types of aircraft, with deliveries of over 5,500 airframes in more than 65 countries. Parallel Power Introduced in 2018, the H3PS (“High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”) project was a collaboration among Tecnam, BRP-Rotax and (at the time) Siemens, which supplied the electric motor.  Siemens’ electric aircraft division has since …

Beam Me Up: Flying on Sunshine™

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

We recently reported on two electrically-powered cross-country flights for which the big issue was lack of battery-charging facilities at airports along the way.  Both “teams” had their chargers carried by an accompanying airplane or automobile.  Now, with a public demonstration a Beam Global charger at Reedley Municipal Airport in Fresno County, California, we see a no-fuss way to bring EV charging to aviation – even in remote locations. Beam Global premises its installations on a foursome of negatives: No permitting, no construction, no electrical work, and no utility bill.  Installation, if one believes Beam’s video, is almost a non-event. Beam, formerly Envision Solar, produces pre-fabricated EV ARC solar-powered charging stations.  Like a vacation camper, the ARCs can be towed right …

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 …