MAHEPA and HY4 Go High

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

MAHEPA (Modular Aproach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture) is a European Union project to build emission-free aircraft.  A public flight of Pipistrel’s HY4 hydrogen-powered, four-seat aircraft was the latest demonstration of the group’s progress. Challenging Objectives Overall, MAHEPA hopes to accomplish five objectives: Advancing the fuel-driven serial hybrid-electric Powertrain which uses a lightweight internal combustion engine (ICE), capable of running multiple fuels as the power generation module. Advancing the reliability of zero-emission serial hybrid-electric powertrain which uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) as the power generation module. Advancing new airborne qualified, lightweight, high-power density components such as a 200 kW+ electric motor, a 100 kW+ generator and improved power electronics using Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology to increase …

DLR’s Future Visions

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

One Size Does Not Fit All DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt or German Aerospace Center) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie; BDLI) present future visions of electric aircraft.  These range from a four-seat hydrogen-powered repurposed Pipistrel that nine years ago won the NASA Green Flight Challenge to large, multiple propeller, medium-range airliners. Their White Paper, “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” (unfortunately available only in German) promotes the promise of “energy transition in air transport, with the goal of zero emissions,” and claims this is “possible by mid-century but requires a considerable increase in innovation.” Rolf Henke, the member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for aeronautics research and technology, explains, “The …

Flying the Atlantic Electrically – The Freedom Flight Prize

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

It almost stops your editor in his tracks when he reflects that 93 years ago, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in his Spirit of St. Louis.  Even more astounding, competitors may win the Freedom Flight Prize by the 100th anniversary of that flight by making a cross-Atlantic and return flight in a 100-passenger, all-electric airliner. Carbon Footprint Ltd. Lindbergh’s plane, custom built but derived from a Ryan M-1 mail plane, cost $10,580 ($158,357 in 2019 dollars) and earned the $25,000 Orteig Prize.  Now, an organization in England, “Carbon Footprint Ltd. has launched a competition to encourage sustainable passenger flight. It has created the Freedom Flight Prize, a competition focused on crossing the Atlantic Ocean 100-percent powered by renewable energy — with seating for …

The Villiger Traveler Updated

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Urs Villiger flew his Traveler TR230 four-seat touring craft about 10 years ago.  He started revising the Cessna-like vehicle two years ago, turning it into a more aerodynamic and economical machine.  His changes turned the Traveler into a hybrid aircraft and relocated the propeller to the vertical stabilizer. Reflecting professor Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann’s configurations he developed for Icare II and  e-Genius, the low-drag placement of the drive motor near the top of the vertical fin confines the added drag caused by the propeller’s acceleration of air over the aircraft’s skin to the top-most part of the fin and rudder.  Compare the area exposed to propeller blast to that of a conventional nose-mounted engine “tractor” type aircraft. On static display at …

GoFly Announces First Round Prize Winners

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Boeing just announced the ten winners of Phase I in its GoFly competition, in which entrants design, build and fly a “personal flying device.”  As Boeing explains, contest rules are designed to enable entrants “To foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.”  The list of partners and co-sponsors is impressive and includes virtually all major American aviation advocacy groups. As the Green Flight Challenge demonstrated seven years ago, prize money encourages a grand series of investments by individuals in hopes of winning a prize.  In this case, 3,000 entries by 725 teams from 95 countries presented drawings and documents describing their proposed PFD, with a select …

Verdego Aero – Another Variant on VTOL Travel

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

A Controversy for Starters Skeptics abound concerning the current spate of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines.  The latest entry in the competition comes from the trio of Erik Lindbergh, Eric Bartsch, and Pat Anderson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Their Verdego eight-rotor machine looks a bit like the Airbus A3 Vahana, but has pusher, rather than puller, propellers on the rear wing. On his Linked In page, Bartsch jumps into an ongoing fray with his article, “The Inevitability of Short-Range Urban Aviation – Why I’m Betting Against the “Flying Uber” Skeptics.” It takes aim at the opposing point of view in “Going Direct: On the Insanity of Flying Ubers,” by Plane & Pilot writer Robert Goyer.  To shorten the two …

Pipistrel Opens World’s First True Airplane Charging Station

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On August 30. Pipistrel inaugurated the first electric charging station to fully warrant the name, charging one of their own Alpha Electro trainers.  The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Union from the European Social Fund.  Led by Pipistrel, the LECAD Laboratory, and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, mentors and students developed and constructed a fully-functioning station. Technical characteristics of the charging station:  – capable of charging two electric aircraft at the same time – current strength: 2 x 20 kW – charge speed: one hour to fully charge Alpha Electro – operating voltage 3f 400V AC – WiFi connection to the network As Pipistrel explains, “The goal of the …

Madagascar Medicine Meets the Green Flight Challenge

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

In the Small World category, the team leader of the 2011 Green Flight Challenge winning team is designing the next generation of a drone that can carry blood and stool samples from remote and otherwise inaccessible parts of Madagascar to a central laboratory where the samples can be analyzed.  Jack Langelaan, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is working with Vayu Aircraft to develop a vertical takeoff and landing machine specially crafted to meet the needs of the ValBio Centre. The video shows an early version of the drone, while pictures on Vayu’s web site depict a sleeker, more refined approach.  The functionality for both machines would seem to be identical, but the styling for the projected future …

e-Genius Crosses the Alps on Battery Power – Twice!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

It makes your editor’s morning to receive such wonderful emails.  Dipl. Ing. Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for Overall Aircraft Systems on e-Genius wrote the following: “We had a great Saturday – we flew from Stuttgart over the Alps to Italy, recharged the batteries and flew back on the same day!  For us, this shows the practicability of battery powered aircraft and we think this is a milestone towards an eco-friendly and efficient aviation.” The e-Genius web page on the University of Stuttgart site expands on the story, describing the flight’s accomplishment. “A milestone towards an energy efficient and carbon-neutral aviation has been reached.” While Americans rested up for their Fourth of July festivities, “Saturday morning, the electric aircraft “e-Genius” …

Green Speed Cup Final: a Mix of Well-Flown Aircraft

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Day three of the Green Speed Cup in Strausberg, Germany brought few surprises other than how fuel efficient all of the aircraft turned out to be, especially considering they are all powered by gasoline engines.  Normally, this would demonstrate that even a light machine uses large amounts of fuel, but this contest demonstrated the benefits of good design and careful piloting. The Akaflieg Darmstadt D39 flown by Holger Massow came in first, winning the last two days outright.  Second went to Hans-Peter Ortwein flying a Stemme SV-10T, and third, perhaps surprisingly, to the only two-stroke powered machine, a Technoflug Piccolo, a fixed-gear, high-wing motorglider with an engine sticking up behind the wing.  The Piccolo was flown by Werner Scholz. Two …