AutoFlight Celebrates Two Milestones

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, hydrogen, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

AutoFlight, the Chinese firm founded by Tian Yu (Yuneec), celebrated two milestones, although maybe not “firsts” as described in the company’s press releases.  Both, however, are impressive and worthy of note. First Intercity Flight AutoFlight claims to have flown the first inter-city electric air-taxi demonstration flight between the southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai.  In an autonomous trip, AutoFlight’s five-seat Prosperity eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft flew the 50km (31 miles) route from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. The flight across the Pearl River Delta took just 20 minutes, a journey that would require three hours by car.  For those with the funds to make the flight the difference in time is incalculable. According to the company, “This marks the first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route, spanning across the bay where the Pearl River meets the sea, connecting the two southern Chinese cities.”  In 2021, Australians flew a Pipstrel Alpha Electro …

Nudging, Then Doubling an Electric Distance Record

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

Suddenly, we’re seeing new electric aircraft nudging, then doubling an electric distance record.  First, Autoflight in China and then Beta in America achieve higher ranges than that previously achieved by Joby. Jules Verne Saw It Coming In two late 19th-century novels, Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World, Jules Verne chronicled the fictional adventurers of a mad inventor who thought he could dissuade world leaders from practicing war by bombing them from his Albatross flying warship.  A great deal like Captain Nemo of Nautilus fame, Robur uses violence to stop violence.  Both protagonists fail in their efforts. The Albatross, mistaken as its objectives were, is perhaps an inspiration for today’s eVTOLs, propellers spinning for lift and for forward motion.  Verne even prophesied fueling the Albatross with water, perhaps an early vision of today’s water-splitting to produce green hydrogen. Autoflight With far fewer rotors and propellers, Autoflight achieved a successful transition flight from vertical liftoff to forward flight.  This delicate …

Autoflight Lifts Off and Transitions

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Autoflight, the latest outlet for Tian Yu’s creativity, has demonstrated a successful transition from vertical lift to forward flight.  Yu, the founder and CEO of Yuneec, fielded a wide range of drones, motors, and eventually an ultralight electric aircraft under the Greenwings name. Yuneec Goes to Oshkosh He managed to obtain FAA approval for flights of his Yuneec e430, an electric two-seat lightplane, at Oshkosh in 2009.  At that time, Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project, called your editor to allow him to hear Yuneec powerplants humming audibly in their display area on Wittman Field. Eric Lindbergh tested the Yuneec e-Spyder, a derivation of Tom Pehigny’s design.  A pair of e-Spyders showed up at AirVenture in 2013, becoming the first electric airplanes to fly in formation at that event.  They were joined by Mark Beierle’s eGull in the ultralight area, an electric threesome that showed great promise. Yuneec faded from the American scene for a while, seeming to concentrate …

AutoflightX Returns Tian Yu to Forefront

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A Long Developmental Background Tian Yu headed Yuneec, a pioneering firm in electric flight.  In 2009 his company had several motors and one- and two-seat aircraft flying.  They even received certification from the FAA for the two-seat E430 and shipped it to Oshkosh, where it made its public flying debut at that year’s AirVenture.   At the 2013 AirVenture, Greenwing, an affiliate of Yuneec, fielded two e-Spyders, which pulled a first with several two-electric-airplane formation flights.  Despite being a major supplier of hobby drones and an early developer of powered parachutes, Yuneec seems to have gone into a dormant state, with a new company, AutoFlightX, coming to the forefront. First shown as the BAT600 concept vehicle in  2017 (There seems to be an interim organization shift at the time), the craft was intended to be either hybrid or pure electric, and would have two forward and two rear coaxial positions for eight lifting propellers, one pusher propeller for flight , and …

The Sustainable Aviation Symposium – A Wealth of Knowledge

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Coming May 6th and 7th, the first-ever Sustainable Aviation Symposium will take place at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel. This year’s presenters include an international array of accomplished talent in aerodynamics, power, and energy storage, with a few surprises on tap.  Keynote speakers include: NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell PADA Trophy winner and Pipistrel Designer Dr. Tine Tomazic Dr. Joseph Kallo of the DLR (Germany’s NASA) Lehigh University’s Dr. Justin Jaworski Pelican Aero Group’s Philip Barnes Additional presentations include Nobel Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Eric Raymond, the highest time solar pilot in the world (his latest 6-seat solar aircraft pictured above); Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University with the latest in battery technology, Dr. Daniel P. Raymer on Inspirations from the Vought 173 and PADA Trophy winner Boris Popov, whose ballistic parachutes have saved hundreds of lives.  Another dozen, including NASA battery expert Dr. Eric Darcy and Siemens e-Aircraft head Dr. Frank …

China Fields a Mass-Producible Electric Two-Seater

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dr. Seeley provided this link to a story from China Daily this morning.  The blog reported on this airplane last year following its public debut, but this year, two examples showed up at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also billed as Airshow China.  Held in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, the show featured daily flight demonstrations by one of the two aircraft on display. China Daily followed its headline with this optimistic kickline, “Huge markets are expected for the versatile, eco-friendly 2-seat RX1E, then reports, “China will soon put its first domestically developed electric aircraft into mass production, and designers expect a huge market at home and abroad.” “First” may be a dubious claim, with Tian Yu’s Greenwing International (Yuneec in China) e430 having flown five years ago, and having resumed flight testing in the US last year.  It may be true in the sense that Yuneec International now only shows drones, action cameras and powered skateboards on its …

Yuneec Returns to America as Greenwing

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Under the direction of CEO Tian Yu, Yuneec International is back in the U. S. as Greenwing International, selling the single-seat e-Spyder and two-seat e430, as well as a range of motors, controllers, and battery packs. Based at Cable Airport near Los Angeles, California, the group has been assembling and testing the first of the Flightstar-based e-Spyders and will have several on hand at AirVenture 2013 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin next week. The group recently had an illustrious name as test pilot. Erik Lindbergh shares his thoughts about his first flight in an electric airplane. “After five years working to accelerate the development of the electric aircraft industry I have finally realized my dream to fly an electric aircraft, thanks to Tian Yu and his Yuneec e-Spyder.” Modestly claiming video editing and ultralight aircraft skills still in their infancy, Lindbergh explains, “Take off was supposed to be just a crow hop on the runway, but I didn’t feel comfortable putting it …

In my dreams I fly like a bird… Martin Wezel 1964 – 2011

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

It takes intelligence, courage and a special spark to design, build, and test fly an airplane.  It becomes a deep loss for all in the aviation community when that spark is extinguished.  We are saddened to learn of the death of Martin Wezel in the crash of a Yuneec E1000 he was scheduled to fly in the Green Flight Challenge.  Wezel was designer and distributor of aircraft such as the Viva, a high-performance motorglider that had brought him to the attention of Tian Yu, Chairman of Yuneec International. Yu reflected on the loss of Martin in a company announcement. In Germany, his wife Petra lamented the loss of her “dear man and best friend,” and vowed to continue operating the company to which he had given his dreams of flight. The CAFE Foundation joins in mourning the passing of a dedicated and brilliant leader.

AirVenture 2010 World Symposium At Eagle Hangar

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An indication of the enthusiasm people are showing for the potential of electric flight, tickets are going fast for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2010 World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, part of AirVenture 2010.   The WSEA will be held on Friday July 30 on the Eagle Hangar main stage. The morning session, titled, “The Dream of Flight,” runs from 9 a.m. to Noon.  The lunch session, “The Voice of Experience: Electric Aircraft Builders,” runs from Noon to1:30 p.m., and the afternoon session, “Putting Vision to Practice,” runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. According to the EAA, “Among the confirmed participants for the symposium are FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt; Electric Aircraft Corporation founder Randall Fishman; Yuneec founder Tian Yu; Sonex Aircraft founder John Monnett; and Earthstar Aircraft founder Mark Beierle, who displayed his eGull ultralight aircraft at AirVenture 2009. Commercial pilot and flight instructor Erik Lindbergh, grandson of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh and founder of the nonprofit Creative Solutions Alliance, will also be on …