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 …

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 …

DLR’s Future Visions

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

One Size Does Not Fit All DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt or German Aerospace Center) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie; BDLI) present future visions of electric aircraft.  These range from a four-seat hydrogen-powered repurposed Pipistrel that nine years ago won the NASA Green Flight Challenge to large, multiple propeller, medium-range airliners. Their White Paper, “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” (unfortunately available only in German) promotes the promise of “energy transition in air transport, with the goal of zero emissions,” and claims this is “possible by mid-century but requires a considerable increase in innovation.” Rolf Henke, the member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for aeronautics research and technology, explains, “The …

Drones Meeting the Corona Virus Challenge

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

“Ramadan Mubarak, Dean! “As a kid who grew up in the ’80s, I thought by 2020 we’d have flying cars and a clean planet, and yet here we are grappling with a global pandemic and much uncertainty in these very strange times.” This greeting from Hani Almadhoun, Director of Philanthropy for  the the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA USA, reminds us of our common humanity and spirituality while lamenting the fact that we don’t yet have those long-promised flying cars or at least a well-looked-after planet. Like the virus, the unfulfilled dream of a “flying car” seems universal. Faced with an imperfect reality, fixed- and rotary-wing drones are showing their worth in fighting the …

Pipistrel: Generosity Amid Chaos

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

Taja Boscarol, co-founder and Public Relations Manager of Pipistrel hopes, “You are healthy in these challenging times,” and makes a great invitation to the world’s involuntarily shut-in pilots. Pipistrel has decided to provide an open access to all online training materials during the current period of world-wide enforced isolation as a testament and dedication to safety through continuous training and learning. Pipistrel Academy Computer-Based Training Courses are now available free-of-charge to anybody, for three months. “We hope this will motivate non-flying pilots as well as student pilots and flight instructors to stay connected to their passion and learn more every day. “Anybody, whether student pilot, pilot, flight instructor or aviation enthusiast, flying clubs, flight schools can apply and join the …

The Villiger Traveler Updated

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

Urs Villiger flew his Traveler TR230 four-seat touring craft about 10 years ago.  He started revising the Cessna-like vehicle two years ago, turning it into a more aerodynamic and economical machine.  His changes turned the Traveler into a hybrid aircraft and relocated the propeller to the vertical stabilizer. Reflecting professor Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann’s configurations he developed for Icare II and  e-Genius, the low-drag placement of the drive motor near the top of the vertical fin confines the added drag caused by the propeller’s acceleration of air over the aircraft’s skin to the top-most part of the fin and rudder.  Compare the area exposed to propeller blast to that of a conventional nose-mounted engine “tractor” type aircraft. On static display at …

A Triple-Redundant Powerplant

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

Your editor saw this Tweet from Frank Anton, head of Siemens eAircraft: FrankAnton @Frank_E_Anton Oct 9 Hybrid-electric with multiple redundancy: three independent drive units in one engine block. Should a module fail, flight can continue with two remaining components. Scalewings engine exists as concept, development work expected to take three years. This caused your editor to go quickly to the ScaleWings home page, where a beautiful P-51 Mustang in 70-percent scale dazzles.  The airplane is available in Ultralight, Light Sport Aircraft, and Experimental configurations using engines from the UL and Rotax lines up to a Chevrolet LS300, with a supercharged variant offering up to 600 horsepower.  Their brochure, in German or English gives a great overview of the features of this carbon-fiber …

The Second SmartFlyer Challenge 2018

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

Grenchen Airport in Switzerland held the second SmartFlyer Challenge on September 1st and 2nd, with a good showing for the European – and especially the Czech electric aircraft industry.  Although smaller in numbers of airplanes than last year’s premier event, the Challenge featured a series of top-drawer presentations by industry leaders, and the viewing of a new Czechoslovokian electric motorglider. A Distinguished Visitor Interest in the event is high in the Canton of Solothurn, the administrative region in which Grenchen resides.  The head of the Department of Economics for the Canton, Brigit Wyss, reported on the event in her personal blog.  She proclaimed, “Grenchen establishes itself as the European center of electric aviation. The Smartflyer Challenge, which was a novelty a …

Sustainable Skies in San Francisco

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, SAS, Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

I’m writing this in the first person, rather than the usual third-person voice that allows me to remain objective about things on which I report.  In this case, I have been the recipient of much joy over the last ten years from being an observer of the ongoing progress in electric aviation. Dr. Brien Seeley, founder of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, asked me to begin writing a blog about electric aviation in 2009.  One of my original postings concerned a Kitplanes Magazine contributor, David Ullman – who was this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium’s keynote speaker.  In 2009, he predicted a great future for electric aviation – most of which has come to pass, and some of which he is creating …

Verdego Aero – Another Variant on VTOL Travel

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

A Controversy for Starters Skeptics abound concerning the current spate of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines.  The latest entry in the competition comes from the trio of Erik Lindbergh, Eric Bartsch, and Pat Anderson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Their Verdego eight-rotor machine looks a bit like the Airbus A3 Vahana, but has pusher, rather than puller, propellers on the rear wing. On his Linked In page, Bartsch jumps into an ongoing fray with his article, “The Inevitability of Short-Range Urban Aviation – Why I’m Betting Against the “Flying Uber” Skeptics.” It takes aim at the opposing point of view in “Going Direct: On the Insanity of Flying Ubers,” by Plane & Pilot writer Robert Goyer.  To shorten the two …