Electra.Aero Acquires Airflow

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

Too Similar Not to Have Joined Forces The PRNewswire.com press release lauds the acquisition of Airflow.aero by Electra.aero: “Hybrid-Electric Blown-Lift eSTOL Plane Developer Electra Acquires Airflow to Create a Leader in Advanced Air Mobility.”  The two companies have been developing similar multi-motor, blown-lift aircraft for the past few years.  Electra’s has eight motors distributed across its wingspan, Airflow’s has 10. They both use large multi-element flaps to divert propeller thrust downwards, enabling extremely short takeoffs and landings. A Great Idea, but Better with Electric Power This is not a new concept, having been demonstrated in the 1960s by French manufacturer Breguet and American McDonnell.  The 188 was a demonstrator that didn’t pick up any orders in either country.  The narrator …

Lifetime Batteries?

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What if your new electric car came with a steel-clad warranty on its lifetime batteries?  Your editor’s father would have asked, “Whose lifetime?” but researchers at Dalhousie University suggest that might become a reality. lIn a paper in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, “Li[Ni0.5Mn0.3Co0.2]O2 as a Superior Alternative to LiFePO4 for Long-Lived Low Voltage Li-Ion Cells,” Jeff Dahn’s research team explains a different approach to battery longevity.  The chemistry is similar to that used in millions of cells, but lowers the amount of carbon to operate at 3.8 Volts rather than 4.2 Volts.  These lower output cells, “Have an energy density that exceeds that of the LFP cells and a cycle-life that greatly exceeds that of the LFP cells …

Three Light Electric Motorgliders

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Light electric motorgliders work well in the real world.  They’re light, compact, and easily transported to a flying site or back home.  Their small battery packs can be charged at home (under safe conditions) and provide enough duration to get the small machines to altitude, where they can explore thermals and ridge lift.  Because they are small, they require less materials and are often less expensive than standard-class or larger sailplanes.  Because they can self launch, they spare the cost of towplanes and possible chase crews. Economics aside, these craft provide fun flying and fairly untroubled ownership. Birdy We’ve reported on Birdy before.  It’s a 120-kilogram airplane, a class that in Europe allows pilots with a sport license and no …

Piaggio’s Electric or Hydrogen Concept – Not Yet

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Clearing the Fumes Charles Alcock reports for FutureFlight.com, and shares that, “Piaggio Aerospace is laying plans for a possible hydrogen-electric business aircraft featuring a completely new airframe.”  Piaggio is probably better know for the Vespa scooters that dot Italian boulevards,  Those have even gone electric, a saving grace for pedestrians along the strada who won’t have to inhale two-stroke engine fumes. Piaggio makes two versions of its Elettrica – 45 Km/H (28 mph) and 70 Km/H (43.5 mph).  Both powered by a four kilowatt (5.36 horsepower) motor, driven by a 48 Volt, 25 kilogram (55 pound) battery.  The speed difference seems to be a software/firmware setting that limits the slower scooter to a regulated speed. It would seem almost natural, then, …

Electric seagliders Skimming Coastal Waters

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REGENT seaglider Skimming the Waves WIGs are Wings in Ground Effect, a type of flight that keeps one just above the sea’s surface.  Simplified, when a wing is at an altitude less than its span, it operates in a ground effects cushion that adds lift.  According to backers of REGENT’s seaglider, such a craft can skim the waters in low-level flight while providing transport cheaper and quicker than water-borne alternatives. CNN reports, “…a Boston-based start-up backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors wants to turn the sea lanes along the country’s east and west coasts into high-speed transit corridors.” The firm identifies their company name as an all-caps, proper noun acronym – Regional Electric Ground Effect Nautical Transport.  …

British Craft eKub

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

A Proper British Aeroplane eKub is the latest offering from The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC), a British company that specializes in modern adaptations of classic-themed flying machines.  At nearby Cranfield University, Dr Guy Gratton, Associate Professor of Aviation and the Environment, teaches and acts as test pilot on the eKub.  Gratton is also an Associate Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. TechXplor reports, “After taxi tests and “low hops,” the single seat Sherwood eKub made its first flight of 10 minutes and then a second flight later in the day of 22 minutes from Little Snoring airfield in Norfolk.” He can’t seem to get enough of the little ultralight single seater, posting a Tweet showing his takeoff in …

Antares, FES, and AdvanTec Create E-ROP Hybrid

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E-ROP is a multi-party program using an Antares self-launching sailplane.  FES and Adventec have crafted a hybrid version of the Antares 20e with a front electric sustainer (FES) motor in place of its tall mast-mounted motor.  An incremental program, E-ROP begins by replacing the retractable unit with an FES motor on the nose.  This reduces the drag created by the motor being raised into position and simplifies operation. The FES Antares flew for the first time on April 19 with Klaus Ohlmann at the helm.  Ulrich Bronet recorded this short video. Under development since 2016, E-ROP will benefit from an advanced battery package from research partner AdvanTec GmbH.  According to the project, “The concept provides for batteries in the fuselage and …

Sky Taxis, Eviation Featured on TV News

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60 Minutes and The Today Show have recently featured sky taxis and future electric airliners on their broadcasts.  This is big news in that such transport is getting recognition in popular media, and even somewhat of a fair hearing.  Even though references to the Jetsons are common in such reports, both these excursions seemed to be less wide-eyed, biased, and skeptical than most. Lift Hexa Although LIFT’s Hexa is featured prominently in publicity for the show, Wisk’s CEO is featured in this promotional piece.  “We’re excited to share that we’ll be on this weekend’s episode of @60Minutes on @cbstv! Be sure to tune in as our CEO, Gary Gysin, sits down with @AndersonCooper to talk about the future of #mobility!” …

A Hybrid Structural Battery

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Is it possible to combine the best features of batteries and supercapacitors to get both enduring energy storage and bursts of power?  Batteries, to varying degrees can store energy and release it over time.  Supercapacitors can provide instant, but short-lived power.  Even more challenging, can can we form a hybrid structural battery, combining form with function?  University of Central Florida researchers think they’ve answered those questions with a battery-supercapacitor hybrid material that could form “power suits” for electric vehicles. Improving on an Earlier Idea This blog first reported on structural batteries 12 years ago, examining the efforts of Volvo and Dr. Emile Greenhalgh of Imperial College London. Several approaches have been made to create a structural battery, but the “power suit” …

An Italian Hybrid Seagull

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An Italian trimaran light seaplane has many interesting features.  From its hybrid power system to its unique patented folding wings, the Novotech Seagull showcases innovation. Professor Leonardo Lecce has taught aeronautical structures and aerospace construction and maintenance practices at the Federico II University in Naples. Why the choice to limit the craft to marine operations only?  La Republic explains Seagull “allows two people to fly from any coastal location to another, doing without hydroscales and hydroports now non-existent, thanks to a revolutionary technology already patented, of an automated system folding of the wings that allows once moored (landing at sea), to reach and dock in any quay or dock. But also to bring this aircraft ashore in the garages as …