Craft Aero’s 16 Motors and Diamond Wings

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Craft Aero, yet another newcomer in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, brings a novel 16 motor, diamond wing design to regional aviation. Laurie Foti writing for Tech Crunch, thinks, “Air taxis may still be pie in the sky,” but acknowledges Craft Aerospace for aiming to move the air travel industry forward, “with a totally new vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that it believes could make city-to-city hops simpler, faster, cheaper and greener.” She credits Craft for its “new” method of deflecting airflow downward to gain vertical takeoffs, something qualified by company co-founder James Dorris.  He notes that, “Our tech is a combination of both existing and novel tech.  The box wing has been built and flown; …

EmbraerX and Pyka Team Up

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Accelerating Innovation Embraer, a major Brazilian airframe developer, and Pyka, an Oakland, California-based autonomous agricultural aircraft builder, are teaming up.  They hope, “To accelerate the future of autonomous aerial agriculture operations.”  Beyond that, Pyka is expanding into regional air transport which could open 5,000 U. S. airports to usually unserved areas. Pyka has flown autonomous agricultural aircraft in New Zealand for over two years, demonstrating high efficiency and economy in aerial application, or crop dusting (or spraying) as it’s historically called.  Apparently, the island nation’s Part 101 and 102 civil aviation licensing requirements are receptive to such flight.  According to Dan Grossman, Pyka’s new President (and formerly of Zipcar, Ford and Maven), Pelican made more than 3,000 flights. Airframer.com reports, …

Graphene  Sodium-Ion Batteries with 10X Energy

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Graphene, applied in a sodium-ion battery may herald inexpensive alternatives to lithium-ion cells.  Scientists are exploring ways of making batteries not only more energy-dense, but also less costly.  Sodium, a primary ingredient in table salt, is one possibility.  It’s also abundant without too much effort required to find it. On the other hand, easily-obtainable lithium may become in short supply at a time when the world is clawing its way into the earth searching for more. Sodium is the sixth most abundant element on earth, making up about 2.6 percent of the planet.   It’s never found free in nature, but always as part of something like the salt (NaCl) one can see it crusting over from evaporating bay water near …

Antares Upgrades to RED.3 Batteries

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An airplane that’s a seasoned veteran gets even better with the new SAFT RED.3 batteries.   At the Grenchen, Switzerland Electrifly-in Lange Antares spread their wings over 21 meters of display space each.  Klaus Ohlmann flew the latest E model from the manufacturer and a hybrid e-Rop from AdvanTec GmbH was on static display.  These airplanes are evolutions of the original design, which goes back to 2003.  SAFT’s new batteries will make the plane even better. Richard Van Grunsven, founder of Van’s Aircraft, granted your editor an interview in 2010 and demonstrated the motor’s operation on his Antares.  The same 42 kilowatt (56.3 horsepower) motor is retained in the current version, but batteries have become better in the last 11 years. …

Eviation’s Alice Meets a Governor and a Mayor

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Eviation’s Alice and MagniX’s motors got a visit from the Governor of Washington State and the Mayor of Arlington where the nine-seat airliner is being prepared for its first flight.  Electric aircraft, so far, don’t command that big a portion of the daily press, so it’s heartening to see TV cameras and news reporters turn out. Eviation shared its take on Facebook.  “We enjoyed hosting @GovInslee and @barbtolbert today for an intimate look as Alice prepares for first flight later this year. They saw first-hand how our growing teams are working to make #electricaviation a reality.” Governor Jay Inslee was already aware of the work motor company MagniX was doing when he acknowledged the May 28, 2020 flight of a …

Would an Electric LSA Kit Appeal to You?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Is there a need and desire for an electric light sport aircraft (LSA) kit that is inexpensive to own, operate, and maintain?  Electric flight already offers that possibility, and if kits were available to further lower costs, we could see a new way to achieve low-cost flight.  The LSA designation qualifies a builder to take advantage of LSA’s lighter constraints. A good friend who happens to have designed an electric Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) a few years ago let the project lapse because of the need to tend to other business interests.  He wants to know if there’s a market for a new, improved version of his original concept – an electric LSA that would fly for considerably less in …

First Flight of Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL Project

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Rolls-Royce has made a first test flight of its ACCEL Program’s “Spirit of Innovation,” their 400 kilowatt (500+ horsepower) electric record-seeking craft.  Powered by a stack of three YASA (Yokeless And Segmented Armature) motors, the Spirit flows from Jon Sharp’s NXT design, usually powered by a 540-cubic-inch internal-combustion engine.  The video includes a short nod to Rolls-Royce’s involvement in aviation that leads to the current project. Rolls announced the successful first flight with an important accomplishment and a hopeful prediction.  “We are pleased to announce the completion of the first flight of our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft. At 14:56 (BST) the plane took to the skies propelled by its powerful 400kW electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack …

A Pair of Dutch Electric Dragonfly’s

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Dragonfly is a great name for the tandem-wing, two-seat aircraft, with the forward wing mounted low and the rear wing higher and behind the cockpit.  Students at InHolland University of Applied Sciences now have two of these anisoptera-like craft they are converting to electric power.  Considering there are only two such airplanes registered in The Netherlands, 100 percent of all Dragonflies in the country will soon be electric.  Over 500 have been completed worldwide in the last four decades. According to the school, “The airframe design is visually similar to the RAF’s Quickie 2, which was developed independently, but the Dragonfly has larger airfoils and was designed for a smaller engine, resulting in a slower but more docile handling aircraft. …

Storedot: Silicon and Tin for a Fast Charge

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Storedot is an Israeli battery company with an appealing sales pitch – their batteries can be fully charged in minutes rather than hours.  To make that happen, they are combining silicon, long considered a necessity for high energy density, and a more humble material – tin. Beside the unique material blend, Storedot is working on a 4680 battery (46 millimeters in diameter, 80 in length) equivalent to what Tesla has announced for use in its cars.  Storedot claims 10 minutes for a full charge on an automobile.  They demonstrated the ability to fully charge an electric scooter in five minutes last year.  Autos could have 200 miles added to their batteries in 10 minutes by 2024, based on Storedot’s timeline. …

Wright’s 2 MegaWatt Motor

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Jeffrey Engler of Wright Electric has huge ambitions, including producing a 186-seat electric airliner and now testing a two megawatt “aviation-grade motor for transport-category zero-emissions aircraft.”  If Engler’s vision becomes reality, “By 2040, Wright will eliminate carbon emissions from all flights under 800 miles.” Leap-frogging most other developer’s plans to make 10-, 19-, or even 50-passenger airliners, Wright plans a 186-seat, single-aisle airliner with distributed electric propulsion (DEP), spreading thrust across the wings and tail of the proposed craft Each motor will produce two megawatts (2,700 horsepower), greater than anything now flying.  When your editor first started writing about this new technology, even model aircraft builders were ganging several small electric motors to produce enough thrust for “3D”-style flight, demonstrating …