Silent Falcon – A Solar-Powered UAV

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

While Boeing and AeroVironment proceed with stratospheric, hydrogen-powered giants such as the Phantom Eye and the Global Observer for extremely long-range surveillance and monitoring duties, an Albuquerque, New Mexico company is exploring the potential of a small, lower-altitude, hand-launched craft that can search – and if necessary – destroy. A recent report from Volta Volare’s Paul Peterson attending the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conclave in Las Vegas, Nevada and an email from George Bye, Chairman and CEO of Bye Aerospace, alerted your editor to the new reconnaissance aircraft. George wrote, “While the electric Cessna program continues to advance under the leadership of Charlie Johnson and a new name, ‘Beyond Aviation’, we have continued our research into solar-electric hybrid propulsion …

Aircraft That Don’t Ask For Directions

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

During the last two Electric Aircraft Symposia, Sebastian Thrun has shared his visions of future autonomous highways travelled by free-range cars that literally think ahead of the curve and don’t allow themselves to be boxed in – and even more daunting – autonomous helicopters that independently perform maneuvers that stretch the envelope in new directions and dimensions. His 2009 EAS presentation featured a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) desert race in which his Stanford University team fielded a Volkswagen Taureg in a 132-mile race through the Mojave.  Although not the ultimate winner, Stanford’s entry completed the course in a time that would have done pride to any human Baja race driver. More related to daily driving and eventual incorporation into …