SolarStratos Announces First Solar Free Fall

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

If you happen to be in Payerne, Switzerland tomorrow morning around 7:00 a. m. Tuesday morning, August 25, you might want to visit the local airport.  There, the SolarStratos team will stage a demonstration flight with a free fall parachute jump by the project’s founder. Miquel Iturmendi will pilot Raphael Domjan to an unspecified height, from which Domjan will depart the aircraft and free fall, open his parachute, and join the gathered throng.  Iturmendi will presumably return the airplane shortly thereafter. We’re not sure whether this flight will be available for Cockpit Virtuel viewing, but future expeditions should have that feature, much like the Perlan Project’s world altitude record ventures.   Iturmendi was co-pilot on one run to 65,000 feet. This …

SolarStratos Returns to Service

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

SolarStratos, a mission envisioned by Raphaël  Domjan and an airplane designed by Calin Gologan,  returns to the skies after suffering a literal break in its program in 2018. During a series of tests that put increasingly heavy loads on the wings, its left wing broke with what was called a “technical damage.”  This type of breakage during stress testing is not uncommon, especially on what are special machines such as SolarStratos and Solar Impulse.  Solar Impulse 2 suffered a similar break when its newly-designed wing was being tested.  As noted, this type of setback takes the team back to the drawing board, but also besets them with new reflections on their ongoing decisions.  If it were easy, everyone would be …

Scylax E10: Electric Flight Over the North Sea

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

A joint venture between the East Frisian FLN airline (FLN FRISIA-Luftverkehr GmbH Norddeich) and Munich aircraft manufacturer Scylax GmbH has helped expand the success of two “clean-sheet” designs, the E6 and E10.  Both are promised to China Blue Airlines, and their first-time sale to a German-based airline will help ensure economies of scale for production. Short Runs with no Range Anxiety FLN already operates 10 BN-2 Norman Britten Islanders and a few Cessna 172s and 182s.  The Islanders would be replaced over time by E10s.  As one can imagine, The North Sea and limited airports make special demands on aircraft, including being able to take off and land in 300 meters (984 feet) and manage 40 knot (46 mph) crosswinds , as …

Calin Gologan, Scylax and China

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Everything in the world seems to require massive or distributed investment even for simple projects.  Low-budget movies have multiple production companies and different car companies share the same engine or drive train.  Calin Gologan and PC Aero have expanded their offerings over the last decade, and have also expanded their partnerships.  Now, to make his twin-motored commuter liner a reality, he has partnered with a Chinese investor to produce the Scylax E6 and E10 aircraft. Although the E6 was, “Announced at Friedrichshafen’s Aero Expo and displayed (at least in model form) at the 2013 Paris Air Show, the Elektro E6 is the technology platform for a future, all electric transport aircraft.”  Today’s SCYLAX E6 remains visibly the same as the …

SolarStratos Damaged During Testing

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A terse announcement from the SolarStratos project last week caused some dismay in your editor, but also gave hope that a brave project would go forward. “Payerne, July 6, 2018 – the solar stratospheric SolarStratos aircraft damaged this morning during a resistance test on Earth, in the base of the team at Payerne. No risk:” The bad news, “However, the wing was damaged and its repair will cause a delay in the team’s operational schedule,” was reminiscent of a failure of the Solar Impulse’s wing during static testing.  The break set that project back over a year but resulted in a wing that carried Solar Impulse 2 to Morocco and back, across the U. S., and finally, around the world. …

Look Up and Say Cheese!  Autonomous Mapping from the Elektra One Solar

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Had the residents of Landshut, a 13th-century city in Lower Bavaria, chanced to look up at the right time over the last few weeks, they might have glimpsed a bright yellow shape looking back at them.  Calin Gologan’s latest Elektra One Solar carries a suite of cameras that can transmit 2D movies in 4K resolution to a ground station up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.  Through sophisticated software, the images can be translated into 3D maps with a resolution of five centimeters (just under two inches), the primary mission of the flights. Partner ViaLight, a 2009 spin-off of the DLR (the German Aerospace Center), provided the hardware and software that allows up to 100 Gbps (gigabits per second) data …

Traveler Hybrid – An Electrifying Transformation

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Urs Villiger, with the assistance of, “A network of aviation specialists…under the leadership of Calin Gologan CFD Consultants,” crafted a sleek four-seater, the Traveler TR230.  That airplane, originally flown with an internal combustion engine, has apparently been recrafted as a hybrid craft.  Gologan, along with Dr. Volker Kassera, did the majority of the aircraft’s design. First flown on December 4, 2015, the gas-powered Traveler was very much a fixed landing gear airplane, replete with wheel pants.  The large canister under the cowling and forward part of the fuselage is a so-called “Swiss muffler,” a great deal like a “glass-pack” used by American hot-rodders in the 1950’s.  It was developed by experimenters in Switzerland to comply with noise regulations.  The major …

SolarStratos Makes First Flight

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

SolarStratos, a feather-light 450 kilogram (990 pound), solar-powered airplane, lifted off for the first time on May 5 in Payerne, Switzerland.  Considering its 24.9 meter (81.69 feet) wingspan, the airplane shows designer Calin Gologan’s ability to squeeze performance from every gram of structure.  It flies nicely, too, with test pilot Damian Hischier enthusing, “The plane is very nice to [fly].  [Its] reactions are healthy, and we see that it was well designed.” Sharing Payerne Airport with Solar Impulse, SolarStratos represents a different kind of adventure, ready to make five-hour flights to 75,000 feet (two hours up, five hours down).  Such flights can carry a pilot and scientific measuring equipment, or for those lucky enough to have the price of admission, …

Smartflyerchallenge – Europe’s First Fly-In for Electric Powered Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Air meets have been an important part of aviation history, bringing pilots, planes nad the public together in a symbiotic gathering.  This was true in aviation’s genesis; things gaining a tremendous impetus with air meets throughout Europe and America following Wilbur Wright’s 1908 public demonstrations near Le Mans, France. René Maier, ex-Colonel of the Swiss Army and current President of the newly formed organization team for an annual event organized at the Grenchen Regional Airport, has announced the SmartFlyer Challenge, touted as the first fly-in for electric aircraft.  The event, to be held September 9 and 10, 2017, will make Grenchen “the center of electric flight,” according to the organizers.  Static and air displays of electric and hybrid-electric powered aircraft …

Elektra One Solar or Luminati VO-Substrata?

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Your editor saw a news item from Sun ‘n Fun about a new solar-powered airplane and recognized the design as one from Calin Gologan’s PC-Aero, an aircraft design and consulting firm in Germany. General Aviation News credited the airplane’s design and construction to Luminati Aerospace in New York state.   The story did not mention Gologan’s involvement, though, a possible oversight.  An alert reader commented on the similarity of the airplane to the Elektra One Solar. A few months later, your editor saw an Associated Press story from Calverton, New York, which explained, “Pilot Robert Lutz flew the VO-Substrata aircraft for about 20 minutes in the first test flight opened to the public. The white aircraft features wing-mounted solar cells and has a wingspan …