Xpeng X1 and X2 Fly in China

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

A new player in the electric aviation market, Xpeng has introduced a series of electric aircraft, and is currently test flying them.  A relative newcomer to the electric vehicle scene, Xpeng is making inroads with a sport utility vehicle (SUV), its P7 sedan, and its aerial projects. “Xpeng or Xiaopeng Motors, also known as XMotors.ai, is a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Guangzhou, with offices in Mountain View, California in the US and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange,” as reported by Wikipedia.  Prices in China range from around $23,300 for the G3 to around $50,000 for the P7, claimed to have a range of up to 408 miles.  Both are slated to …

Ampaire Flies in the UK

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

Having completed a series of successful island-hopping flights in Hawaii, and in Scotland, Ampaire is now in Exeter, England taking part in a government-backed program, “Aimed at moving the UK towards green aviation.”  Test Pilot Eliot Seguin has moved from his Mojave, California base to take part in the endeavor, joined by fellow test pilot Justin Gillen. Drawing a Crowd A large contingent of dignitaries attended the inaugural takeoff of Ampaire’s electric EEL, their modified Cessna 337 Skymaster.  These included Baron Martin Callanan, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy. He shared a realistic appraisal of the new technology.  “Nobody is pretending we will be …

Joby Quietly Achieves its Range, Heads to Washington, D. C.

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Joby Aero Inc. has displayed its ultra-quiet operation, flown a promised distance and become an investment favorite in the last few months. Now it’s headed to Washington, D. C. to consolidate relations with law- and opinion makers. Quietude As a follow-up to its recent demonstration of quietude on Public Broadcasting’s “Great Electric Airplane Race,” Joby staged a head-to-head test of its near silent operation against other aircraft.  Note the perceived noise and the aural signature as each craft passes overhead. Going the Distance One thing prominent in Joby’s on-line presence is their promise that their electric air taxi will be able to travel 150 miles on a single charge – including a vertical takeoff and landing. Flown from the ground …

Look!  Up in the Sky!  At Oshkosh

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Two different machines, with vastly different purposes and unique looks, are flying electrically above Wittman Field for the worlds’ biggest airshow.  The Experimental Aircraft Association’s gathering, having skipped a year because of the pandemic, is back with nearly twice the number of attendees.  It’s a crowd ready to be rocked. Volocopter Helena Treeck, head of public relations for Volocopter GmbH, is on scene at AirVenture, not only promoting her company’s machines, but granting interviews and reporting herself. She shares the experience.  “The crewed Volocopter 2X took off at 2:45 PM CST for a 4-minute flight at ~164 feet and a top speed of 18 mph over Wittman Regional Airport as part of EAA’s AirVenture aviation celebration. Event attendees were able …

Going Big and Bigger with Hydrogen

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

Two companies promoting hydrogen power for aircraft are upsizing their aspirations, with aircraft  hauling four to up to 40 passengers.  Both have ambitious timelines. ZeroAvia, operating in Hollister, California and Cirencester, England has been flying a Piper Malibu demonstrator, but anticipates flying a 10 to 20 passenger Dornier by 2024.  It would expand that to a 50-passenger craft by 2026.  H2Fly in Germany has been flying their Pipistrel-designed HY4 for several years and through six generations. The firm looks forward to taking incremental steps toward a 40-passenger regional airliner by 2030. ZeroAvia ZeroAvia reports on troubling trends in aviation’s contribution to greenhouse gases, but follows with a possible solution.  According to their web site, aviation accounts for over 12 percent …

Eviation Moves Alice’s Tail – to Washington

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Israel’s Eviation has moved its manufacturing resources to Arlington, Washington, north of Seattle.  There, they are making an all-new version of Alice, changing its configuration from “V”-tailed to “T”-tailed and its power from tri-motor to bi-motor. The revised craft will be powered by two Magni650 power units, a package that includes a 640 kilowatt (850 shaft horsepower) motor, four magniDrive-100 inverter/motor control units, and “a closed-loop integrated thermal management system.” A New Alice Charles Alcock, reporting in FutureFlight.aero, says Eviation Aircraft confirms plans to make a first test flight of the redesigned craft by year’s end and have the new Alice certified and entering service in 2024. Obvious changes include a clean, high-aspect ratio wing and pylon-mounted motors flanking the …

Archer Debuts – Meet Its Maker

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Immersive Introduction Amidst stage smoke and Hollywood-style dazzling lights, Archer Aviation “flew” its Maker into public view two weeks ago.  On an immersive cinema platform in a hangar in Hawthorne, California, Maker emerged amid all the pounding two drummers could produce.  It seemed to hover above the varied scenery over which it appeared and the on-stage and on-screen special effects were special indeed. The cynosure of the hoopla, however, was strangely static, even though its guiding lights were highly animated.  Co-founders and Co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein performed flawlessly in promoting their creation, adding to the professionalism of the event.  Since the event was inside, and the crowd was allowed to come on stage under the rotor blades, it …

Two Similar eSTOLs

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

Two different but very similar electric Short Take Off and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft from two different companies are making progress toward realization.  Both are products of teams originally committed to electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) designs, so the shift to different configurations is of interest.  eVTOLs are limited in range by the need to lift their entire weight on their rotors – some for the totality of the flight.  eSTOLs use aerodynamics to enable longer range, and with high-lift devices, can use small fields from which to operate. Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, has been a long-time proponent of what he called “pocket airparks.”  These neighborhood or urban sites would be contained within roughly …

Harbor Air’s eBeaver, MagniX’s Motor, H55’s Batteries

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In our last blog entry, we discussed a three-partner enterprise with an American airframe propelled by a French motor powered by British batteries.  In this round, we have a Canadian airframe powered by an Australian/American motor driven by Swiss batteries.  These international collaborations may pay off in big ways. Datelined Vancouver, B.C., Everett, WA, and Sion, Switzerland, the joint press release shows a strong and well-organized partnership in action.  “Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline; magniX the company powering the electric aviation revolution; and H55, the spin off from Solar Impulse, producing highly efficient certified battery packs, announced a partnership to certify the world’s first electric Beaver (eBeaver) commuter airplane through a supplemental type certificate (STC) program.”  H55 is …

BETA and Blade Cut Deal for 20 Alia’s

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Business as Unusual BETA Technologies made a big move from its highly complex Ava to a simpler Alia, and managed to snag an initial order for up to 150 of its new craft from United Parcel Service (UPS).  This was followed by the signing of a binding agreement with Blade for another 20 craft for passenger service. Vermont Business Magazine reports that BETA Technologies started with its first customer and partner, United Therapeutics, which will rely on BETA’s aircraft to deliver organs for human transplantation.  High speed and reliability are obvious premiums in this endeavor.  Recently, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced it reserved the right to purchase 150 of BETA’s aircraft, with the first 10 to be delivered beginning in …