Zeva Zero – the Return of the Puffin?

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

  Dreams of flight often include the dreamer wearing a silk scarf, if not a cape.  We would love to emulate our super heroes with all their startling dexterity.  A group in the Puget Sound area is making part of that dream come true.  Starting with radio-controlled models a few years ago Zeva Aero has progressed to a full-scale unit that will carry an individual Superman style, with the pilot/passenger peering through a transparent shield. Needing only a 30-foot by 30-foot landing area, Zeva’s Zero boasts the ability to hoist a 220-pound person vertically, tilt over and take them 50 miles at up to 150 miles per hour.  Zero’s eight electric motors provide a degree of redundancy and safety, enabling …

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

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

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 …

BETA and Blade Cut Deal for 20 Alia’s

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

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 …

eCSTOL: Longer Range Commutes on Less Power

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, SAS, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Competition is growing in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing market, with 407 potential builders listed in eVTOL News.  Vertical flight takes power, though, and with available batteries limiting range, most such vehicles can make only short hops.  Alternatives that allow speedier, longer flights, in the form of electric Conventional Short Take Off and Landing (eCSTOL) aircraft are in development. Such craft offer the benefit of requiring less power for takeoffs and climbs, being more aeronautically-based than power-based.  Airflow, for instance, claims operating costs for their eCTSOL craft is one-third that of an eVTOL or helicopter. We will look at three eCSTOL craft that seem to making headway at this time.  The infrastructure (in two cases below) to support …

Joby “Unicorn” Gains Private, Military Backing

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

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 along.  On Woodpecker Ridge, north of Santa Cruz, JoeBen’s barn-like studio housed about a dozen engineers and designers all working on electricity-generating kites.  He wore a T-shirt reading, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much …