Aerolite 103 – As Simple As Aerial EVs Get

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

Shown and flown at this year’s Sun ‘n Fun and AirVenture, the Aerolite 103 is a well-tested, best-selling ultralight that in FAA Part 103 form is a true ultralight.  As an electric aircraft, it’s heavier and faster than accepted ultralight standards but no less a competent flyer registered in the Experimental category. Designed in 1996, and with hundreds of the original two-stroke engine-powered versions flying, Aerolite’s originator Terry Raber sold the rights to Dennis Carley in 2012.  Manufacturing moved from Millersburg, Ohio to Delano, Florida. The airplane retains its position as an inexpensive FAA Part 103-compliant ultralight – true to its name.  In the last few years, it has also become part of zero-emission flight. Aerolite as an EV One …

Xpeng X1 and X2 Fly in China

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a 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 …

Sion Power’s EV Battery

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Sion Power’s EV Battery 400 Watt-hours per kilogram is a long-awaited minimum expectation for what it will take to get electric aviation off the ground.  Sion Power® of Tucson, Arizona will introduce its Licerion® 17 Amp-hour pouch cells at the Battery Show North America in September – claiming to fulfill that expectation.  The large-format pouch cells come in a compact 810 Watt-hours per liter size, last over 800 cycles and can be charged to 80-percent of their rated capacity in 15 minutes, according to Sion. Sion Power is shifting from its lithium-sulfur chemistry to lithium-metal technology.  Their Li-S cells powered Airbus’ Zephyr® 7 HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite) to a record for continuous flight.  According to Tucson Tech, “In 2014, …

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 …

Stable Nickel-rich Cathodes in Lithium Metal Batteries

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A battery with 560 Watt-hours per kilogram, a stable long life, and no fires.  What’s not to like?  Researchers at Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), founded by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in cooperation with the University of Ulm, have come up with a dual anion, nickel-rich cathode, lithium-metal battery that, although in early stages of development, may point a way forward. Academic journal Joule reports, “High-energy batteries, in particular lithium batteries, are the key to achieve carbon-neutral mobility…. However, it is foreseen that a fully electrified mobility and transportation can only be achieved by the development of batteries employing lithium metal as the negative electrode (anode) while still granting long-term cycling performance and safety.”  Safety may be the deciding …

Pie Aeronefs UR-1: V-tailed, Battery-winged Racer

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

Pie Aeronefs, a small team of dedicated builders in Switzerland is putting the finishing touches on the UR-1, a V-tailed, battery-winged electric racer expected to fly in next Air Race E series. “Marc Umbricht’s vision is to create a 4-seater general aviation electric aircraft that shall equal or surpass the performances of standard piston engine aeroplanes. This new generation aircraft will bring a viable and sustainable alternative on the general aviation market.” To achieve this ultimate goal, the Pie Aeronefs team has a series of iterative designs to explore, starting with a single-seat eRacer.  The small aircraft development firm in La Sarraz, Switzerland is on track to complete the airframe of its UR-1 Air Race E machine soon. 12 Battery …

Embraer Electrifies Agricultural Aviation

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft maker with ties to Boeing, has been tilling the clean aviation field for several years.  Their current agricultural craft, the EMB 203, has flown on ethanol for some years – a kind of farm-to-aircraft symbiotic relationship.  Going to the next step toward clean, green aviation, Embraer has since devised an electrical powertrain in cooperation with WEG Equipamentos Elétricos and EDP. Embraer is deeply involved in programs headed toward making the skies greener.  This includes everything from their aircraft designs to their “DIPAS PROGRAM – DIPAS (Integrated Development of an Environmentally Sustainable Product).”  This program considers “current and future environmental legislation,” alternative technologies and their life cycles.  The program works toward reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, noise, …

MIT Makes Hydrogen from Scrap Aluminum and Water

Dean Sigler Announcements, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers may be on the track of producing hydrogen from a reaction between aluminum (the scrappier the better) and water.  Their “simple way” of generating H2 from aluminum and water can take place anywhere, according to the researchers. Since groups like ZeroAvia and Pipistrel with the DLR (German Space Agency) and HY4 are working toward at least intermediate-range hydrogen-powered flight, an inexpensive way to produce the gas would be a blessing.  Current methods of producing H2 from fossil-fuel-related materials can be more detrimental to the environment than the promise hydrogen would otherwise bring, however. Corroding but Not Rusting Dr. Laureen Meroueh along with Professor Douglas Hart and Professor Thomas Eager at MIT have found …

ZeroAvia Tests 600 kW Motor, Receives Honors

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

Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, introduces tests of the company’s 600 kilowatt powertrain, mounted high atop their new mobile test bed.  In recent months, the company has achieved some solid recognition. “In July, 2021, ZeroAvia has successfully tested high-power operation of its flight-intent ZA-600 (600kW) powertrain. The testing has been done on the brand new HyperTruck mobile ground testing platform ZeroAvia has developed based on a heavy-duty M977 HEMTT military truck. The HyperTruck platform is designed to be able to test not only the current 600 kilowatt system for 10-20 seat applications, but also the 2 Megawatt system currently in design phase, targeting 50-80 seat aircraft. The latest series of tests signifies a critical milestone before flight application …

A Pulitzer Written in the Sky

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Itching to test your electric airplane’s cross-country capabilities?  A new Pulitzer Electric Air Race of over 1,000 nautical miles (1,150.78 statute miles to be exact) between Nebraska and North Carolina will show who has the fastest electric flying machine. Jim Moore, reporting for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), shows the connection between the original Pulitzer Trophy and today’s electric competition.  “Five of the first six pilots to have their names engraved on the Pulitzer Trophy were military airmen clocked around a closed course at speeds starting at 157 mph in 1920, up to a blistering 248 mph by 1925. The trophy was created to inspire innovation, and particularly faster airplanes. That vintage trophy housed at the Smithsonian National …