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 …

H3X – A Motor with High Power Density

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H3X, a motor company started by three University of Madison, Wisconsin graduates, promotes its integrated motor/inverter power plant as “the next step in the evolution of electric propulsion technology.”  With Their HPDM-250’s 13-kilowatt-per-kilogram continuous power ability, it meets ARPA-E’s (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s) criteria for powering large, 737-type aircraft. Electronics Weekly reports, “ARPA-E has determined that for a Boeing 737 to complete a typical five hour flight, the propulsion system must be >12 kW/kg continuous.”  H3X adds, “These specifications are estimates based on electromagnetic thermal and structural simulations. Data from dynamometer will be available Q2 2021.” Their motor is roughly twice as power dense as MagniX motors of similar power, according to H3X. Weight reduction is an intrinsic part of …

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 …

End the Year on a Volocopter Note

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Volocopter has an exciting way to end 2020, leaving the old year with a ticket for your future flight in a VoloCity VC 2-1 aircraft (the “Aircraft”).  Fine print, spelled out in the eight-page General Terms & Conditions for the Volocopter World Premiere Ticket Program, might cause the hesitant to pause. The more adventurous among us will start planning an overseas trip two or three years from now. Here’s the Deal “Berlin, 16 September 2020 — At Greentech Festival in Berlin today, Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), announced that the world’s first public sale for electrical air taxi flight reservations has started. Effective immediately, Volocopter fans world-wide can reserve their tickets online and be amongst the very …

Honeywell’s New UAM Business Unit

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Honeywell, long involved in avionics and other aviation-related instrumentation and equipment, has created an entire, new business unit devoted to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and urban air mobility (UAM).  If any indication is necessary to show that urban air is not a passing fad, it’s the investments being made by major entities – from Toyota to Honeywell, from NASA to Mercedes. Honeywell’s contributions to future UAM flight include avionics – devices that combine aviation with electronics.  Honeywell’s portfolio includes a miniaturized fly-by-wire system, electromechanical actuators to take the place of traditional control cables and pushrods, and systems to help integrate the UAM into existing and future air traffic control systems. These systems will work for electric Vertical Take Off and …

HyPoint and Hydrogen Flight

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Their web site proclaims, “HyPoint, Inc. is developing the next generation hydrogen fuel cell system with zero CO2 emissions and game-changing energy performance for the air transportation and urban air mobility market.”  Pointing out a “fundamental barrier at a chemistry level” for lithium-ion batteries, the fuel cell maker launches some seemingly outrageous claims. HyPoint states, “Our patented technology increases operational time and utilization rate while decreasing TCO (total cost of operation) of any flying platform.”  They claim “5X operational time, 10X utilization rate, 20X faster charge,” and a TCO 90 percent of equivalent battery-powered systems. As we have reported here, demonstrated outputs for lithium-ion cells are around 350 Watt-hours per kilogram, and about 260 Whr/kg at the pack level.  HyPoint says it can already demonstrate a system-level …

Wisk Tests Cora in US, New Zealand

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Recently renamed Wisk (formerly KittyHawk) has resumed flight testing of its Cora eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) machines following a cautionary corona virus shutdown.  It’s already got a fleet, with several prototypes in the U. S. and at least four in New Zealand. New Zealand seems to have a lock on flight testing for unpiloted aircraft, with Pyka and Cora both finding amenable administrators willing to allow flight tests.  Boeing and Wisk are collaborating on achieving urban air mobility with the two-seat machine, and getting a lot of positive vibes from the locals.  Partly from the NZ government, partly from local businesses, and partly from indigenous Maori tribes’ people, Wisk and Cora have found wide-spread acceptance down under. …

Rising Above It: How the Automotive Industry is Elevating Urban Air Transport

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Introducing Giles Kirkland Editor’s Note: Today’s guest writer, Giles Kirkland, “… is a passionate car expert and dedicated automotive writer. He always researches on the newest car technologies and willingly tries them out, then sharing his thoughts and expertise with other automotive and technology enthusiasts across the globe. You can find Giles and his ideas at Oponeo and on Twitter.”  Since he lives in England, he tends to spell things like “tyres” differently, but also writes about them with great depth and charm.  Herewith, his introduction to our readers.  We hope to feature his insights in future outings. Many governments, industries and groups push for a “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic or simply make increasing efforts towards reducing the negative impact …

Terrafugia in Transition

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Terrafugia, a company started by a group of inspired college friends, has made it a mission to bring a flying car to the marketplace.  Quite literally – it’s in their mission statement: “Terrafugia’s mission is to create the ultimate mobility solution – flying cars.”  Even though the term is somewhat decried in current parlance – things like urban air taxis or sky taxis that would provide Urban Air Mobility being preferred. The Transition Their first craft, the Transition, earned a high hype score, with even Hammacher-Schlemmer including the flying car in their catalog.  It flew at AirVenture in 2013, demonstrating its folding wings and reasonable Light Sport Aircraft performance (even with a waiver for its “heavy LSA” gross weight). In …

John Langford’s New Direction

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John Langford has been a leading exponent of new directions in aeronautical technology.  From his work as project manager with MIT’s human-powered Daedalus project to his executive leadership with Aurora Technologies, he has crafted electric, autonomous, and downright astonishing vehicles.   The following video is long, but insightful and exciting.   We see Langford in several early scenes. Having seen Daedalus conquer the Sea of Crete like the mythical first airman, Langford spread his reach into ever more technologically complex problems.  His resume is deceptively short, since he’s held only two jobs since leaving college.  His LinkedIn bio is brief, but telling. “John Langford is the founder and CEO of Electra.aero, a startup developing hybrid electric aircraft for regional mobility. He founded …