Landing Zones for All Those eVTOLs (and eCSTOLs)

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

Siting  and Building Considerations at the 2019 SAS As we see an inrush of capital to finance new electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) machines and now electric Conventional Short Take Off and Landing (eCSTOL) machines, we are on the cusp of seeing newly envisioned landing zones for these machines.  With the departure of Uber from the aerial scene, we probably won’t see the grandiose platforms the firm promoted. Your editor poked fun at these visions in his talk at the 2019 Sustainable Aviation Symposium at UC Berkeley, doubting that urban centers would welcome hundreds of arrivals and departures overhead day and night. Luckily, presenters who had worked on real-world re-imaginings of Uber’s grander vision helped talk your editor down.  …

HopFlyt Hops into the Next Decade

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

With 2020 lurching into life in some turbulence, HopFlyt promises a smooth, above-the-fray experience.  A look back at an innovative aircraft designer, the new variant applies electric power and new structural techniques unknown when Willard Custer had his inspiration.  HopFlyt is a modern interpretation of that vision, with distributed electric propulsion, 3D-printed components, and simplified control systems. Willard was a far-sighted soul in the 1940’s, when aircraft were either all wood, all sheet metal, or mixed structures of wood, chromoly tubing and fabric.  The composites that freed designers for swoopier things were a few decades away. Willard Custer’s Big Idea Reputedly a descendant of George Armstrong Custer, Willard Custer envisioned a propeller in a semi-circular channel that might produce lift …

Pragma Triples Kilometers on Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Bikes

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Six years ago, we ran a story on hydrogen fuel-cell powered bikes that could travel limited distances, and used canisters of fresh hydrogen to quickly replenish the bike’s energy.   Pragma Industries has introduced a much-improved version of that bike, with range up to 150 kilometers (93 miles).  A pedelec (the motor kicks in when the cyclist pedals), the bike has a unique look and a compact propulsion system.   The system consists of a Brose 36 Volt motor, a 150 Watt PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell, and 150 Watt-hours of lithium-ion batteries in the bike’s down tube.  Pragma has a large amount of material on its technologies, including a helpful explanation of fuel cells and their operation, and a …