A Twin-Motored Ultralight Flying Wing – It’s the New Millennium

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Richard Glassock, an Australian now living and working in Hungary, sent the links to YouTube videos of a Millennium hang glider, neatly electrified and flown at this year’s Santa Cruz Salt Flats Race.  Richard has been a speaker at the Electric Aircraft Symposium with a talk on his efforts with small hybrid electric power systems for large-scale models and small aircraft. Steve Morris, co-designer of the Millennium along with Ilan Kroo, Brian Porter, Brian Robbins, and Erik Beckman helped develop this rigid-wing hang glider to offer a lighter, more portable version of Swift.  Steve reported on his electric-powered Swift at the 2010 Electric Aircraft Symposium. Ilan Kroo reflected on the idea of practical, powered ultralight sailplanes in his American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics paper on the design of the Swift.  “With refinements in aerodynamic control and composite structures, hang gliders will continue to evolve toward more soarable foot-launched sailplanes. If one does not constrain the designs to be able …

The Autonomous Swift

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

There were two presentations on the Swift ultralight flying wing at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium.  Dr Steve Morris of the MLB Company related the flight testing of a manned version of the craft, which had been and is being modified by a group of NASA researchers.  That NASA team presented material on the unmanned version of the Swift, as modified to allow autonomous flight.  Three industrious and inventive souls, Corey Ipollito, Paul Espinosa, and Al Weston, presented their work on the Swift Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which they are undertaking with a small team of experts as a mostly volunteer effort at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.  Ilan Kroo’s famous design has had many variants, including several others electrically powered, but none quite as sophisticated, and none with the range of missions envisioned for the craft by this trio.  The airplane, test flown in December 2009 by Brian Porter for MLB, carried its human payload for …

A Swiss Swift

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

Editor’s note: Livio Mengotti sent this comment regarding Dr. Steve Morris’s Swift’s first  flights in California, under the pilotage of Brian Porter.  (See “A Manned Swift Takes Flight,” March 1, 2010.) The videos are self-explanatory and filled with technical detail. Based on the videos, Switzerland is filled with open fields and glorious vistas awaiting aerial exploitation. Compare Livio’s undercarriage and pilot accommodations with those of Morris’s craft and the pod on Manfred Ruhmer’s Swift conversion.  Note, also, that the motor is mounted on the front of the wing, instead of behind it, as on the other two examples.  Congratulations for your performance! I built an electric Swift too. I made two flights on April 2010. I can mount and remove the motor and the rechargeable battery with 5 bolts. So I can flight the Swift also without engine as a hang glider. All the best for the further development of your Swift Livio Mengotti

A Manned Swift Takes Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Uncategorized 3 Comments

Dr. Steve Morris is President of MLB Co., an enterprise specializing in low-cost, compact, remotely piloted and autonomous aerial surveillance, mapping and monitoring systems.  On December 23, 2009, he and his associates test flew their first man-carrying, directly-piloted craft – an electric one. Pilot Brian Porter made two flights totalling about 20 minutes in a part 103 ultralight Swift hang glider to which was attached a custom-built pilot/powerplant/landing gear module.  Power was by a Randall Fisher-supplied ElectraFlyer motor coupled to a reduction system built by Dr.  Morris and his associates at MLB. Despite limitation imposed by the motor controller’s maximum current and propeller efficiency limited to 65-75 percent, the airplane demonstrated performance within 10 percent of calculations.  Its rate of climb was 335 feet per minute, maximum level flight speed was 60 miles per hour, and it cruised on 4.6 kW.  Duration, range, rate of climb, and lift:drag are expected to improve when a pilot fairing streamlines the very open cockpit on the current version. Dr. Morris will present his …