Craft Aero’s 16 Motors and Diamond Wings

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

Craft Aero, yet another newcomer in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, brings a novel 16 motor, diamond wing design to regional aviation. Laurie Foti writing for Tech Crunch, thinks, “Air taxis may still be pie in the sky,” but acknowledges Craft Aerospace for aiming to move the air travel industry forward, “with a totally new vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that it believes could make city-to-city hops simpler, faster, cheaper and greener.” She credits Craft for its “new” method of deflecting airflow downward to gain vertical takeoffs, something qualified by company co-founder James Dorris.  He notes that, “Our tech is a combination of both existing and novel tech.  The box wing has been built and flown; …

BETA and Blade Cut Deal for 20 Alia’s

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

Business as Unusual BETA Technologies made a big move from its highly complex Ava to a simpler Alia, and managed to snag an initial order for up to 150 of its new craft from United Parcel Service (UPS).  This was followed by the signing of a binding agreement with Blade for another 20 craft for passenger service. Vermont Business Magazine reports that BETA Technologies started with its first customer and partner, United Therapeutics, which will rely on BETA’s aircraft to deliver organs for human transplantation.  High speed and reliability are obvious premiums in this endeavor.  Recently, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced it reserved the right to purchase 150 of BETA’s aircraft, with the first 10 to be delivered beginning in …

Massless Batteries for Aircraft?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

What if the weight of the batteries in an electric airplane could virtually disappear?  Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden have come up with an improved structural battery that exceeds the results of earlier research.  So-called “massless batteries,” although not as energy dense as cylindrical or pouch lithium-ion batteries, could be worthy substitutes. The idea of making airplanes from materials that would provide energy from their inherent properties has been of interest for years.  Your editor wrote an article on “The Grand Unified Airplane” for Kitplanes magazine in 2013 based on the idea of combining solar power, piezoelectric flexing of wings, and structural batteries.  The ultimate goal was to create a machine that would move through the …

Thunderbirds Are Go With Camelina

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 demonstration team will become the first Department of Defense military air show group to fly on bio-fuel when two members of the team have their craft powered by a 50-50 mix of standard JP-8 and camelina-derived bio-fuel.  The flights were scheduled to place at Andrews Air Force Base for the Joint Services Open House on May 20 and 21. The team follows two other uses of camelina in military jets: the Earth Day 2010 flight of an FA-18s (the Green Hornet) and this year’s supersonic flight on the fuel blend by an F-22.  These demonstrations exhibit the interest DOD planners are taking in finding alternative fuels. The Air Force press release makes the overall effects of such changes …