VoltAero in Three Flavors

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

Jean Botti has had a remarkable career on two continents, culminating in his leadership of French company VoltAero, which offers its latest hybrid aircraft in three flavors.  It’s all based on a modular design which shares a three-lifting-surface aerodynamic platform. As the company notes, “First to enter service will be the Cassio 330, with five seats and powered by the 330-kilowatt electric-hybrid propulsion system. VoltAero’s follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have an electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.” The 330 has a wingspan of 32 feet eight inches and a maximum takeoff weight of 4,255 pounds (1,930 kilograms).  480 and 600 models share a 40-foot, seven-inch span and longer fuselages to accommodate larger power trains, more passengers and cargo. This impressive array of planned aircraft stems from humble beginnings, a Colomban Cri-Cri (the world’s smallest twin-engine airplane designed by one of the engineers …

VoltAero Demonstrates Quiet Flight

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

At least two Cessna 337s are flying on modified power systems – one with Ampaire in various locations around the world and one in France.  VoltAero’s French Cessna push-pull twin has been turned into a tri-motor, with twin motors sprouting from the front of the craft’s tail booms.  Like its American counterpart, VoltAero’s machine is a test bed for the planned power system that will mark its successor.  VoltAero reveals its coming aircraft will feature a “barrel”-type arrangement of three 60 kilowatt electric motors ringing a central internal-combustion (thermal) engine.  Jean Botti, CEO of VoltAero, explains the motor configuration is well-proven, having flown in the Cassio 1 demonstrator (the Cessna) since October last year.  Since then, it’s been flown around a series of airports in France, racking up over 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) in 10 hops visiting 11 cities. Later versions of the Cassio design will feature the 330 kW hybrid arrangement of Cassio 1, producing 442 horsepower.  Later versions …

VoltAero Has Ambitious Plans

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

VoltAero is a small French company that might succeed in electric flight where bigger firms have failed.  Its hybrid-electric system marks an innovative path to quiet flight. Airbus ventured into electric aviation with a four-motor conversion of the Colomban cri-Cri in 2010 and a clean-sheet craft, the E-Fan, a sleek, essentially ducted fan two-seater in 2015.  Initially big plans for production of two and four seat variants bloomed – then withered.  Airbus dropped plans for the personal electric airplane market and instead concentrated on at least three versions of Urban Air Mobility devices and a hybrid-electric demonstrator based on a BAE 146 airliner.  This last project, the E-Fan X, was canceled recently.  Jean Botti was Chief Technology Officer for Airbus, and Didier Esteyne a test pilot for the Cri-Cri and E-Fan.  Botti is now CEO of VoltAero: Esteyne its Technical Officer.  VoltAero has ambitious plans for its hybrid electric future, and management experience to pull them off. Flying VoltAero’s unique …

Volt Aero Cassio Hybrid – From France

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

You may have noticed an ongoing divide in electric aircraft philosophies, that of designing from a blank sheet, or that of converting an existing airplane from fossil fuel to electric power.  French company VoltAero has chosen the second path with its Cassio. A conversion of a Cessna 337 Skymaster, it shares similarities to Ampaire’s 337 conversion, with significant differences in its power configuration. What has Five (Three?) Motors and Three Propellers? Ampaire’s 337 conversion retains the “push-pull” arrangement of the original, with the “pusher” an electric power unit behind the cabin and between the twin tail booms.  VoltAero’s replaces the front engine with a faired, engineless nose and one REX 60-kilowatt (80.4 horsepower) electric motor on the nose of each boom. According to Flyer magazine, Cassio 1 now has a single electric motor coupled to an internal-combustion engine bringing up the rear.  “The prototype Cessna-based Cassio has two 60kW motors driving two forward facing propellers on the wing. A hybrid …

EADS’ Electrifying Threesome at Paris Air Show

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

EADS (European Aerospace Defense Systems), known colloquially as Airbus, highlighted its Paris Air Show chalet at Le Bourget with three  examples of the work from its Innovations Workshops. All projects are part of the European Commission’s “Flightpath 2050” initiative, conceived to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 75 percent, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions 90 percent and noise  65 percent from 2000 levels by 2050. EADS thinks electric and hybrid propulsion could become an alternative to fossil fuels within that timeline, with several projects highlighting, “the willingness of EADS to invest in technologies that today, tomorrow, will further reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from aviation.” E-FAN Working with Aero Composites Saintonge (ACS), the IW Research and Technology Group has developed and built the trainer all-electric “E-Fan” dedicated to general aviation.  Created in only eight months, this jet-like machine makes use of sailplane design and ultralight-type composite construction to house its two electric motors and two 65-kilogram battery packs in its wings.  Motors appear …

EADS Pulls Off Electric Hat Trick at 2011 Paris Air Show

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

At the 2011 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this week, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. (EADS) showcased at least three electric flight vehicles – two emonstrating current reality and one pointing toward a cleaner future for short-to-medium range airliners. Cri-Cri, the four-motored, contra-rotating props on stalks aerobatic wonder, did indeed perform at the 2011 Paris Air Show, doing six-minute routines daily at the show.  Didier Esteyne, the plane’s obviously accomplished pilot, explains things in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76h4VA3yoNI Emmanuel Joubert, Program Head for the All-electric Cri-Cri at EADS, explained the plane’s advantages.  “In all-electric mode, the plane’s performance during climb and aerobatics is better compared to a conventional aircraft of this type.  This allows the pilot to really have ‘fun flying’ – with no noise and high torque at low and high speed.” Because of the light weight and small size of the Cri-Cri, initial flights were limited to 20 minutes, but now run 30 minutes, with …

Smallest Four-Motor Electric Plane Flies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …