Textron Acquires Pipistrel: A Good Thing?

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

Textron acquires Pipistrel – just another merger?  An age-old cartoon shows ever-bigger fish gobbling up smaller fish, a kind of allegory for capitalist, competitive markets, perhaps.  In the electric flight world, this acquisitive spirit is exemplified by the news that Textron, “home to Cessna, Beechcraft, and Bell aviation brands,” is purchasing the smaller Slovenian firm Pipistel.  Pipistrel has grown from humble origins producing powered hang gliders to its current status as a major supplier of small training aircraft,  electric motor gliders and trainers and cargo vehicles. What might be great joy for Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel, comes with varying degrees of happiness and concern for others.  Boscarol will remain as Chairman Emeritus and minority stockholder for the …

Single-Seat eVTOL Commuters

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

Single-seat ultralight aircraft are a popular part of personal aviation and a small part of the growing electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market.  We look at two contenders here, and compare them to a newly-certificated single-seat fixed-wing solar-assisted airplane. KARI’s QTP-UAV KARI – the Korean Aerospace Research Institute – has developed the QTP-UAV, or Quad Tilt-Prop Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  It’s designated as yet another acronym – OPPAV, Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle Technology Demonstrator. Citing the “Emerging market competition for urban air mobility,” KARI sees their craft as a means to reduce the “enormous social costs resulting from traffic increase on the ground.” A huge number of Korean organizations joined the effort develop the OPPAV demonstrator. “Korean companies …

Wright Electric’s 8-Year Plan

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

Jeffrey Engler has headed up Wright Electric for the last decade, working to provide efficient motors, inverters and overall power systems for airliners.  Now, his firm is working to develop those airliners.  From a startup in 2016, looking for a single-engine light aircraft to convert to hybrid power, Jeffrey has grown Wright to a recognized force in future flight.  Presenting a mission statement and schedule for the next eight years, Wright has ambitious, but reasonable plans. Currently, Wright is testing a two megawatt motor and inverter, “Collaborating with NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Defense.”  Testing will continue through 2023. The firm predicts it will be flying its Wright Spirit between the busiest “city-pairs” in the world …

Electron’s 2024 Round the World Plans

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

Teofilo Leite has been refining a beautiful twin-motor glider for the last decade.  Apparently he’s moving on to a five-seat, four-motor, dual-propeller beauty that is set to take on the world.  The Electron 5 looks a great deal like a larger Electron 2, which has been flying in various configurations for the last decade. Electron Aviation, with representatives in The Netherlands and Australia states, “Our Electron 2, a two-seater battery-electric aircraft (Teofilo’s earlier design), is the flying proof that our energy efficient aircraft designs deliver outstanding performance. Whilst being well within inside the 600-kilogram (1,320 pound) ultralight microlight [regulations], it achieves 3 hours flying time during which it can cover 300 kilometers (186 miles).”  Electron 2 flies its pilot and …

Koenigsegg’sTorque-Dense Electric Motor and Hybrid Drive Train

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Koenigsegg (Cone-igs-egg), a Swedish car maker that enjoys shocking with its sticker prices, is going hybrid with a new, torque-dense electric motor and hybrid drive train.  The Swedish car maker is known for its ultra-exclusive, ultra-high-performance vehicles, which have even undone the Stig, anonymous race driver on the BBC Series Top Gear. David Koenigsegg’s Gemera manages as much as 250 mph on a two-liter, three-cylinder engine, augmented by a set of three electric motors.  Describing him as, “an inveterate tinkerer” who squeezes “extraordinary amounts of power out of internal combustion engines,” Clean Technica explains the “breakthrough products that could transform the world of electric cars.” One “breakthrough” would seem to be a package of a three-cylinder engine coupled to some …

A Belated Addition to the Fred To Video

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Fred To (pronounced “toe”), the first to create and fly a solar-powered aircraft, was the subject of a blog entry in 2018.  Fred just informed your editor that the second part of the Solar One video was missing.  Herewith, we will rectify that grievous error.  It’s worth a second look at the older blog entry, since Fred deserves attention for his pioneering work in solar flight, inflatable aircraft, human-powered aviation, and fly-by-wire technology.  The much belated Part 2 includes “the actual solar-powered flights,” as Fred notes below.   He added, “I’ve taken a back-seat with the cross Channel competition but still very much in it. We have delayed it till 2023 due to the effects of Covid….”  This contest will see …

Autoflight Lifts Off and Transitions

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

Autoflight, the latest outlet for Tian Yu’s creativity, has demonstrated a successful transition from vertical lift to forward flight.  Yu, the founder and CEO of Yuneec, fielded a wide range of drones, motors, and eventually an ultralight electric aircraft under the Greenwings name. Yuneec Goes to Oshkosh He managed to obtain FAA approval for flights of his Yuneec e430, an electric two-seat lightplane, at Oshkosh in 2009.  At that time, Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project, called your editor to allow him to hear Yuneec powerplants humming audibly in their display area on Wittman Field. Eric Lindbergh tested the Yuneec e-Spyder, a derivation of Tom Pehigny’s design.  A pair of e-Spyders showed up at AirVenture in 2013, becoming the …

Electra Attracts Customers, Investors and Landing Sites

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

Electra Aero has found worldwide interest in its electric ultra-short take-off and landing airplane, an eight-motor craft capable of taking off and landing across most jet-size runways. Producing such an aircraft takes great design, appropriately-designed landing sites, a well-integrated infrastructure, and financial backing for the total package. Electra Aero for the Design Powered by a hybrid generator driving four electric motors, Electra Aero’s aircraft uses “blown lift” to take off over very short distances – less than 150 feet, according to the company. Ben Marchionna, director of technology and innovation at Electra Aero, explains, “eVTOLs use electric propulsion to take off and land vertically – many of these concepts then transition from vertical flight to forward flight with a wing …

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

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

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 …