Using Ford F-150 Lightnings to Charge a Pipistrel Alpha Electro

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Using Ford F-150 Lightning pickups to charge a Pipistrel Alpha Electro will enable spectators at the Lafayette College-Lehigh football game to see an electric airplane flyover.  Remy Oktay wants to perform at his school’s football game, and needs to fly the craft from Hartford, Connecticut to the game in Easton, Pennsylvania. Bringing Your Own Charging Stations Recent attempts to fly reasonably long distances with electric airplanes have shown a few limitations.  Aside from the self-recharging craft like Solar Impulse or the Raymonds’ Solar-Flight Duo, planes with rechargeable batteries cannot go far without needing a compatible charger. We reported on several of these distance flight, noting the accommodations each made to fly beyond their home fields. Gabriel DeVault made a California …

Sonex and Gabriel DeVault Partner on Electric Kitplane

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Sonex and Gabriel DeVault have partnered to create an electric kitplane, marketing components for a different type of powerplant.  Sonex has been in the kitplane business since 1998 (having built from a decade’s-old earlier company) and Gabriel DeVault has been working with the electrification of aircraft for a decade.  Combining their expertise, we have a kit built path toward an inexpensive electric kitplane. Gabriel commutes a lot by air, traversing the globe between his home in Watsonville, California and Cranfield, England for work on Zero Avia’s electrification of Dornier 228s – one in each country.  He flies between Watsonville and Hollister, California in his Zero Motorcycle powered eXenos, a kit built product from Sonex Aircraft in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Before that, …

ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines Power Up

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A Different Type of Kitplane Green Aeronautics are moving beyond small beginnings into grander realms through ZeroAvia, Mitsubishi, and Alaska Airlines. Gabriel DeVault has flown two different electric airplanes of his own, a converted EarthStar Thundergull and a Sonex eXenos (which seems to be his daily commuter between Hollister, California and his home in Watsonville).  Both have been featured prominently in his YouTube channel and your editor has written about them for Kitplanes magazine.  Now, Gabriel is working on a different type of Kitplane at a much large scale. Gabriel managed research and design for the motor and related systems on the Zero electric motorcycle.  The original unit has gone through several upgrades, and is now seen in variants from …

Would an Electric LSA Kit Appeal to You?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Is there a need and desire for an electric light sport aircraft (LSA) kit that is inexpensive to own, operate, and maintain?  Electric flight already offers that possibility, and if kits were available to further lower costs, we could see a new way to achieve low-cost flight.  The LSA designation qualifies a builder to take advantage of LSA’s lighter constraints. A good friend who happens to have designed an electric Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) a few years ago let the project lapse because of the need to tend to other business interests.  He wants to know if there’s a market for a new, improved version of his original concept – an electric LSA that would fly for considerably less in …

Aerolite 103 – As Simple As Aerial EVs Get

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Shown and flown at this year’s Sun ‘n Fun and AirVenture, the Aerolite 103 is a well-tested, best-selling ultralight that in FAA Part 103 form is a true ultralight.  As an electric aircraft, it’s heavier and faster than accepted ultralight standards but no less a competent flyer registered in the Experimental category. Designed in 1996, and with hundreds of the original two-stroke engine-powered versions flying, Aerolite’s originator Terry Raber sold the rights to Dennis Carley in 2012.  Manufacturing moved from Millersburg, Ohio to Delano, Florida. The airplane retains its position as an inexpensive FAA Part 103-compliant ultralight – true to its name.  In the last few years, it has also become part of zero-emission flight. Aerolite as an EV One …

ZeroAvia Tests 600 kW Motor, Receives Honors

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Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, introduces tests of the company’s 600 kilowatt powertrain, mounted high atop their new mobile test bed.  In recent months, the company has achieved some solid recognition. “In July, 2021, ZeroAvia has successfully tested high-power operation of its flight-intent ZA-600 (600kW) powertrain. The testing has been done on the brand new HyperTruck mobile ground testing platform ZeroAvia has developed based on a heavy-duty M977 HEMTT military truck. The HyperTruck platform is designed to be able to test not only the current 600 kilowatt system for 10-20 seat applications, but also the 2 Megawatt system currently in design phase, targeting 50-80 seat aircraft. The latest series of tests signifies a critical milestone before flight application …

Spark Solo Gets ZeroAvia Sponsorship

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Mike Friend, retired Technology Director for Boeing Aircraft, and Gabriel DeVault, head of drivetrain development for ZeroAvia, are putting a Zero motorcycle motor into Mike’s Spark Solo.  There are perhaps dozens of Zero motors flying today, and the 42-pound unit has evolved to powering even two-seat motorgliders like Gabriel’s Sonex Xenos. An Ambitious Project Mike came up with the Spark Solo design as a way to, “Encompass the design process” as well as the “piloting and fabricating” aspects of a project.  He wanted to, “Define an airplane uniquely designed around electric propulsion,” noting that, “Past efforts have almost always been adaptations of internal-combustion powered airplanes.”  To help forward his design, Mike has been working with his local EAA chapter, for …

Michael Friend’s Spark Solo

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

“The Quest for a Truly Practical Electric Touring Motor-Glider” Mike Friend is not your typical retired aircraft executive.  As Technical Director for Boeing, he oversaw “the first manned fixed wing aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell/lithium ion battery powerplant that first flew back in 2008.”  He’s been associated with green energy projects since then, including work on the Boeing-supported Zunum project, a set of 10- to 50-passenger electric hybrid airliners.  On the personal front, he hopes to design and build the Spark Solo, a single-seat electric motorglider that will enable cross-country flights from his home base of Bremerton (Washington) Regional Airport. Working with Gabriel DeVault Motorgliders make a good combination with battery power.  Their clean lines enable using low …

ZeroAvia Gains Backing at High Levels

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“Cannot be more proud and humbled to be a part of this stellar team!”  That’s power system developer Gabriel DeVault’s response to ZeroAvia’s Chief Financial Officer Katya Akulinicheva’s enthusiastic endorsement of Bloomberg LP’s news.  She listed the investors taking an active interest in ZeroAvia, including Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures and Summa Equity. Already benefiting from a $16.3 million grant from Innovate UK, Aerospace Technology Institute and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), ZeroAvia will be able to push forward on plans to create a 19-seat hydrogen-powered commuter liner. According to Bloomberg, “ZeroAvia aims to demonstrate that it can fly a plane 500 miles (804 kilometers) with as …

ZeroAvia First Out of the Gate with Hydrogen Flight

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An Historic Hydrogen Outing While Airbus and MagniX promote the near- and not-so-near virtues of hydrogen-powered flight, ZeroAvia has demonstrated such flight with the largest H2-powered aircraft so far.  Their Cranfield, England-based Piper Malibu flew on H2 power for the first time September 24 on an eight-minute circuit.  The blue Malibu reached 1,000 feet and a top speed of 100 knots true air speed. Quick to capitalize on the successful mission, , ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov held a press conference the next day.  In it, he explained his team,“has had discussions with seven aircraft manufacturers about possible retrofit and new-build applications for the propulsion system. He said the company has signed letters of intent with 10 airlines that …