A Joyous Boxing Day Electrified

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

Boxing Day is a holiday unique to the British Empire, a day-after Christmas gift-giving celebration in which the well-off gave gifts to their servants. Yahoo Entertainment explains, “While there is some dispute over what the name actually means, it’s commonly believed that Boxing Day refers to the habit of aristocratic employees gifting their servants or tradesman on Dec. 26 as a thank you for their work throughout the year. The employers would give them each a box to take home to their family with gifts, bonuses and leftover food. “Samuel Pepys, a naval administrator and Member of Parliament, is famous for writing in his diary in 1663: ‘Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something …

Total Operating Costs – Batteries Included

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Gilles Rosenberger, co-founder of Faraday Aerospace with Michael Friend, former Technology Director for Boeing, commented on a recent entry on H55’s Energic two-seat trainer.  He expanded on the idea of total operating costs for electric aircraft, including the battery replacement. He congratulated the H55 team and added a point about which your editor will attempt greater diligence.  “But why keeping talking about operating cost and not total cost of ownership?  No pilot, no student is going to pay only few dollars per hours based on the energy cost.  Who do you believe is going to pay for other cost including the battery amortization?” Practicing the best public relations and salesmanship gambits, most aircraft sales operations don’t mention the eventual cost …

Cuberg Battery Flies 70 Percent Longer

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Cuberg’s recent test between their battery and a conventional lithium-ion battery resulted in the Cuberg battery keeping a drone flying 70-percent longer.  Given that the test is for two packs of equal weight, the result is an impressive one.  Cuberg’s co-founder and CEO has prepared for this success since his undergraduate days as a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Fellow, putting his summer vacations to good use.  He used the knowledge and experience he gained in three summer fellowships to help lead a dozen students “to design and develop innovative and efficient mechanical systems (including HVAC, hot water, insulation, appliances, and more) for the Solar Decathlon net-zero house competition.”  The team won first place in the hot water contest and second …

Go Fly’s Phase II Winners

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

One complaint frequently heard is that aviation doesn’t necessarily encourage participation by women, despite historical examples from Harriet Quimby to Jeanna Yeager.   GoFly is a competition thought up by Gwen Lighter, a lawyer with degrees from Brown (summa cum laude) and Harvard (cum laude) Universities. It has a $2 million prize package backed by Boeing and others.  Ms. Lighter describes her brainchild as follows: “The $2 million GoFly competition encourages mad scientists and daredevils to come as close as possible to Star Wars’s light cycles, James Bond’s jetpack, Marty McFly’s hoverboard, or any other flying dream.” Five Phase 2 winners exemplify the open rule-book approach around which the contest is organized.  Lighter explained it two years ago in an NPR …

Sailplane-Like Boeing Cruises on SUGAR

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Boeing has sustained a decade-long program to develop aircraft that reduce the use of fossil fuels or eliminate it altogether.  SUGAR (Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research) program designers have resorted to configurations that were a part of early high-performance sailplanes, those craft that soar on the energy of the very air around them. Sailplane designers know that longer wings give a lower span loading: the weight of the airplane and its payload is spread over a greater span.  On powered craft, low span loadings give greater rate of climb for the same power and enable throttling back to get the same cruise speeds.  Longer spans usually lead to heavier structures, though.  Spars end up weighing more and wings are subject …

Biofuels from Many Sources

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We’ve looked at an array of different biofuel sources ranging from used cooking oil and algae to farm and municipal waste.  This is essential as the percentage of airline emissions becomes a bigger part of our overall greenhouse gas situation.   The Guardian reports, “A 2017 estimate said air travel accounted for 2.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions, with the total emissions expected to quadruple by 2050.”We’ll look here at how some of the early efforts have panned out and examine a late-breaking surprise or two. Mustard Seeds? According to the Guardian, “A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on [January 30, 2018].” …

Referencing Uber’s Elevated Challenge

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

We can tell things are heating up in the electric aircraft marketplace.  Established aircraft companies are investing (Boeing and Airbus for starters), growing numbers are planning for electrified and autonomous future flight (Uber Elevate Summit), and an absolute plethora of new designs are tumbling forth from an aeronautical cornucopia.  Their video of an Uber sky taxi ride illustrates the charm of the idea. A Common Reference Uber provided two common reference eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) reference models for partners to emulate.  Both seem to share a common passenger pod with an unusually long tail boom. Perhaps taking the 2011 Green Flight Challenge as his reference point, Mark Moore explained how Uber inspires others to give their best efforts …

Battery Startup Cuberg Receives Funding from Boeing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Cuberg, a battery startup “Founded based on graduate research work in the materials science department at Stanford,” includes individuals who worked with Yi Cui at the school.  They promote their safe electrolyte as a key element in their new battery.  “Our highly stable proprietary electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and lithium metal anodes in a safe and reliable format.” Their video shows the relative safety of that premise.  It starts, though, with a quick review of their manufacturing techniques, which are similar to standard methods used in most batteries. The team, headed by Richard Wang, “Entrepreneur and Battery Scientist,” includes co-founder Mauro Pasta, an Associate Professor at Oxford University.  His Linked In profile includes this note: “Cuberg is …

AirSpaceX is NOT an Elon Musk Company

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

Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) is a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), and as far as this editor knows, not related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.  A little closer to earth, the planned low-altitude perambulations of its two creations reflect the growing interest in “sky taxis.” A Holding Company Brought Down by the Great Depression Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO, sees Detroit Aircraft Corporation as an attempt to return the Motor City to its former glory days as a leader in aircraft development.  He notes that for a few brief years, DAC held controlling interests in the Ryan and Lockheed Aircraft companies, and created the only metal-clad airship in aeronautical history, The ZMC-2.  He explains, “Back in the ’20s, Detroit …

Ballard and Insitu Team on Fuel Cell-Driven Drone

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Another pair of heavy-duty partners, Ballard Power Systems of Canada, normally powering city buses; and Boeing, through its subsidiary Insitu, team to create and fly viable fuel cell systems for drones.  Insitu’s ScanEagle is already a world-beater for range and endurance, but it uses an internal-combustion engine (ICE), that although frugal, is not entirely green. Green Car Congress reports, “ScanEagle is 1.55 meters (5.1 feet) in length, has a wingspan of 3.11 meters (10.2 feet) and [a] maximum takeoff weight of 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs). The UAV can fly at a maximum speed of 41.2 meters per second (80 knots), reach a ceiling of 5,944 meters (19,500 feet),”  and has flown over one million mission hours, making it a leader in …