AutoFlight Celebrates Two Milestones

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, hydrogen, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

AutoFlight, the Chinese firm founded by Tian Yu (Yuneec), celebrated two milestones, although maybe not “firsts” as described in the company’s press releases.  Both, however, are impressive and worthy of note. First Intercity Flight AutoFlight claims to have flown the first inter-city electric air-taxi demonstration flight between the southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai.  In an autonomous trip, AutoFlight’s five-seat Prosperity eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft flew the 50km (31 miles) route from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. The flight across the Pearl River Delta took just 20 minutes, a journey that would require three hours by car.  For those with the funds to make the flight the difference in time is incalculable. According to the company, “This marks the first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route, spanning across the bay where the Pearl River meets the sea, connecting the two southern Chinese cities.”  In 2021, Australians flew a Pipstrel Alpha Electro …

Atea Looks Like a Cessna Overhead

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

French company Ascendance Flight Technologies offers a four-seat design that combines hybrid propulsion with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, and then scoots around on conventional wings.  Etea’s technology seems a lot like that of Pipistrel’s 801 or several other eVTOLs. Some Historical Perspective The design team at Ascendance comes from Airbus, and claims to have made the first electric aircraft flight across the English Channel with the E-Fan 2.0.  Your editor offers a few minor inclusions. First, as we reported on October 10, 2009, “Gerard Thevenot, a long-time championship-level hang-glider pilot, celebrated the centennial of Louis Bleriot’s flight across la Manche by flying his hydrogen-powered La Mouette hang glider over roughly the same route Bleriot took between Calais and Dover on August 6, 2009.  Missing the centenary by a few days (Bleriot made the hop on July 25, 1909), Thevenot took an hour and seven minutes to duplicate the trip Bleriot managed in 37 minutes.”  It was an Eck/Geiger propelled machine, …

EAS IX: Airbus Looks to a Light Electric Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Ken McKenzie, listed as Deputy Chairman of Airbus US, has served as Vice President for Airbus Customer Services and as Chief Operating Officer for Airbus Americas, Inc.  This high-powered individual comes across as a relaxed, congenial soul, though, and led attendees at the ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium through an overview of developments in light electric aircraft to come from the aviation giant. The e-Fan is the most visible effort for Airbus’s electric aircraft work so far, but the company is intent on carrying out a full E-aircraft program as part of its commitment to the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 program,. which bullet-points these important goals for the next 35 years: “1. In 2050 technologies and procedures available allow a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer to support the ATAG (Air Transport Action Group) target10 and a 90% reduction in NOx emissions. The perceived noise emission of flying aircraft is reduced by 65%. These are relative to the …

Toon Jacobs Lost in Crash

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Toon Jacobs, recently congratulated in this blog for his creation of the fourth electric Cri-Cri, died in the crash of his aircraft on September 21. An experienced pilot and builder of several aircraft, Jacobs was reported to be conducting high-speed taxi tests when the accident occurred.  He had converted the aircraft to electric power after having flown it for several years with internal combustion engines.   We will report more on the incident when authorities release a final report. The CAFE Foundation extends our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Jacobs.

Would You Believe There Are Four Electric Cri-Cri’s?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three electric MC-15 Colomban Cri-Cri’s have been flying for at least the last two years.  Jean-Luc Soullier created one which flew with Plettenberg model motors.  Airbus crafted one with four Rotex motors and counter-rotating propellers on each mount.  Anne Lavrand’s Electravia converted a Cri-Cri to use her motors for speed record attempts. Now they are joined by the MC-15E built by Mr. Toon Jacobs and shown at the Federation RSA ( Network of Sport Air ) Rally 2013 in Vichy, France.  The RSA, as one would guess, is the French equivalent of America’s Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Electravia provided the E-Motor GMPE 104 motors, controllers, E=Helices 370 gram (one pound, 13 ounces), 83 centimeter (32.7 inches) propellers and the E-Batts 3 kilowatt-hour battery pack.  An Electravia E-Screen instrument monitors battery charge, temperature, and motor temperatures. Powerplants match those developed in 2010 for Cri-Cri Yankee Delta in which Hugues Duval set a world speed record for electric aircraft before a huge crowd at the 2011 Paris Air …

Plettenberg’s New Motors – Ready for Real Airplanes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 5 Comments

Plettenberg is well known in the model airplane world for its large and powerful electric motors that pull or push giant-scale models – sometimes half the size of their real counterparts – into the air.  Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation is even using them on his EMG-5 and EMG-6 ultralight aircraft.  Jean-Luc Soullier had two of them on an electric Cri-Cri.  His forum details that adventure and subsequent projects.  These Predator motors weigh a little over four pounds and can put out 15 horsepower and up to 99 pounds of thrust with the right propeller. Going beyond their model motors, Plettenberg has bold thoughts to share about its new, bigger and less model-like units, including their 150 kilowatt Nova series motor. “The guiding principle for the development of the Nova series was the creation and development of a completely new product and not the development of existing systems. “Combining intelligently selected materials and components together with innovative, ground-breaking geometries made …

Smallest Four-Motor Electric Plane Flies

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For a company that employs over 119,000 and has annual revenues approaching 43 billion Euros ($55 billion), the Cri-Cri (Cricket) seems a minuscule part of their enterprise, but garners a huge share of publicity.  Reporters and photographers flocked to Le Bourget field near Paris on September 2 to record the first flight of the petite creation.  The EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V.)  press release explains the excitement.   The all electric Cri-Cri, jointly developed by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association has made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on Thursday. This Cri-Cri is the first-ever four-engined all-electric aerobatic plane. The event has been supported by the French Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace. The plane became airborne at 11:12 CET. Take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt and manoeuvrability was excellent. All systems performed well and the plane returned safely after 7 minutes. “This aircraft …