Look!  Up in the Sky!  At Oshkosh

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

Two different machines, with vastly different purposes and unique looks, are flying electrically above Wittman Field for the worlds’ biggest airshow.  The Experimental Aircraft Association’s gathering, having skipped a year because of the pandemic, is back with nearly twice the number of attendees.  It’s a crowd ready to be rocked. Volocopter Helena Treeck, head of public relations for Volocopter GmbH, is on scene at AirVenture, not only promoting her company’s machines, but granting interviews and reporting herself. She shares the experience.  “The crewed Volocopter 2X took off at 2:45 PM CST for a 4-minute flight at ~164 feet and a top speed of 18 mph over Wittman Regional Airport as part of EAA’s AirVenture aviation celebration. Event attendees were able …

Pipistrel Velis: Part of an Electric Heritage

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

The Pipistrel Velis is the culmination of 13 years of electric aircraft development and the first to gain certification by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on June 10. Pipistrel has been in the electric airplane business since 2007 when it announced the Taurus Electro motorglider, which entered service in 2011.  That aircraft went through several iterations, and is still part of the Pipistrel lineup of electric planes, which includes the Alpha Electro Trainer, the Panthera Hybrid, and the new Velis. Alpha Electro Trainer in SoCal An electric version of the Alpha Trainer, the Electro has been in production since 2015.  With an empty weight of 615 pounds (279 kg) and a maximum take-off weight of 1,212 pounds (550 …

Just for Openers – BlackFly

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

A Seven-Year Stealth Project Opener doesn’t sound like the name of an airplane company, and BlackFly doesn’t sound like a very charming name for an airplane.  Maybe that’s how the developers of an eight-motor personal flying machine got away with it for so long. Beth Stanton, who writes wonderful articles about futuristic projects for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Sport Aviation magazine, alerted your editor about a project that sneaked under the radar for the past seven years. The airplane looks a bit like a single-seat Vahana, Airbus’s two-seat air taxi currently under test in eastern Oregon.  Where Vahana is just beginning flight tests, BlackFly has over 12,000 aerial miles carrying a payload in 1,400 flights.  BlackFly has gone through 40,000 …

Brian Carpenter’s EMG-6 Webinar

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

Brian Carpenter, designer of the EMG-6 motorglider which he’s shown over the last several years at AirVenture, will stage a webinar to discuss “the design and development concepts of this new electric motorglider.”  His talk will have special “Emphasis on the integration of the electric propulsion concepts that he believes will change the face of the light aircraft and ultralight industry.” Your editor has visited Brian’s Corning, California workshop several times, and always found new and innovative approaches to producing a low-cost, self-launching motorglider, with several ways to simplify construction and to power the craft.  It will be interesting to see progress on the newest motor (apparently still under development) Brian has presented on his web site. He has been …

RX1E, Sun Flyer Both Score More than a Score (of Orders)

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

China Daily reports, “The world’s first electric passenger aircraft to gain an airworthiness certificate has been produced by China.”  Whether the “first” certification statement is true will probably become a matter of debate, with Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro being certified in France and seeking more general approvals from other countries including America.  Pipistrel has been selling a Taurus Electro G2 self-launching sailplane for the last several years, and makes the following claims for it. “Taurus Electro G2 is the only electric 2-seat aeroplane in serial production available on the market. Furthermore, Pipistrel believes it is the only truly useful electric aircraft out there, because the electric drive is applied to the glider airframe, where battery capacity is not a limiting factor in …

Dr. Seeley Speaks at AIAA Conference, NASA Dryden

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Dr. Brien Seeley, Founder and President of the CAFE Foundation, has been giving a series of talks at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2013, before a gathering of technical experts at NASA’s Dryden Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force and at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) International Powered Lift Conference in Los Angeles. The International Powered Lift Conference focuses on the latest developments in Vertical or Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft research, concepts, and programs, something of great interest to CAFE in its development of airplanes capable of using pocket airports. Pocket Airports will require a special type of airplane – electric, according to Dr. Seeley, and capable of taking off with a ground roll of …

Aviat Flies Dual-Fuel Airplane to Oshkosh

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Your editor spent much of his time at AirVenture 2013 in or around the Innovation Pavilion, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s nod to experimentation on a grand scale. Flanking the doors into the pavilion were two approaches to making flight more efficient, the LAM Ailerons on a Cessna Corvallis and a dual-fuel system on an Aviat A1-C Husky CNG; “CNG” standing for “compressed natural gas.” Stu Horn, President of Aviat Aircraft, is proud of the all-American nature of the airplane, most components other than avionics having their origin in this country.  Even the fuel for this proof-of-concept Husky is a domestic product, and a possible reflection of its back-country home.  Afton, Wyoming, where Aviat makes Huskies, has resurrected the Pitts Special, …

Pipistrel,PADA, and “Gus” Raspet

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

Pipistel, the innovative Slovenian company that won the Green Flight Challenge with its G4 electric four-seater, continues to earn plaudits from the aviation industry. At this year’s AirVenture, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual gathering at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the company was honored with the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award and original and pace-setting design work exemplified in Pipistrel products. The Exerimental Aircraft Association has awarded the “Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award” annually since 1960 “to a person who has made outstanding advancements in the field of light aircraft design and the Experimental Aircraft Association.”  John Thorp, Lockheed engineer and designer, was the first recipient, with those following including Curtiss Pitts, Burt Rutan, Alan and Dale Klapmeier and Gordon Pratt. Taja Boscarol, …

Want a Ride in Synergy?

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Howard Handelman, a regular reader and observant critic of the CAFE Blog, and Patrick Panzera of Contact magazine fame, are soliciting support for an effort to help John McGinnis finish his Synergy aircraft, unfortunately unable to make its Green Flight Challenge date, but nearing the finish line, none the less. Kickstarter.com recently rejected John’s attempt to raise funds for the nearly complete aircraft, a radically new and somewhat controversial approach to obtaining high performance on relatively low power.  John has shared his insights into the aerodynamics of the project and invited a lively discussion (now closed) on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s forums pages. Synergy under construction – an imposing sight The Internet has made possible fund-raising “crowd sourcing” in which …

Green Flight Challenge, AirVenture Electric Contest Postponed

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Both the CAFE Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Electric Flight Prize are being postponed: CAFE’s for at least a few months and EAA’s until next year’s AirVenture. The CAFE Foundation’s announcement reads simply, “Circumstances have required that the Green Flight Challenge be postponed for at least 2 months. Its new dates will be posted here very soon.”  The GFC was to have been held between July 10 and July 17 at Santa Rosa, California’s Charles M. Schulz field. The EAA is holding off because of delays in ensuring that all entrants will be certified and properly registered for the competiton. Their news item reads, in part, “‘As with any new, emerging technology, time is an essential element to ensure …