Wright Electric, ARPA-E, and Life’s Report Card

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

If, as the infamous cartoon in the New Yorker proclaimed, “Money is life’s report card,” Jeff Engler’s Wright Electric got a least a B+ for its current semester.  While not as flush with cash as firms like Joby Aviation, eHang, or Volocopter, Wright received significant recognition for its initiative in designing high-efficiency electric motors with a high-frequency inverter and “an aggressive cooling strategy.”  The $647,039 ARPA-E grant will further Wright’s work on the ARPA-E ASCEND Project. ASCEND stands for Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives, a sure-fire Scrabble winner and pretty tortuous acronym. Phase one of the project takes the team through the detailed design and subcomponent testing for the system.  Phase two will see Wright build and demonstrate …

End the Year on a Volocopter Note

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Volocopter has an exciting way to end 2020, leaving the old year with a ticket for your future flight in a VoloCity VC 2-1 aircraft (the “Aircraft”).  Fine print, spelled out in the eight-page General Terms & Conditions for the Volocopter World Premiere Ticket Program, might cause the hesitant to pause. The more adventurous among us will start planning an overseas trip two or three years from now. Here’s the Deal “Berlin, 16 September 2020 — At Greentech Festival in Berlin today, Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), announced that the world’s first public sale for electrical air taxi flight reservations has started. Effective immediately, Volocopter fans world-wide can reserve their tickets online and be amongst the very …

Rising Above It: How the Automotive Industry is Elevating Urban Air Transport

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Introducing Giles Kirkland Editor’s Note: Today’s guest writer, Giles Kirkland, “… is a passionate car expert and dedicated automotive writer. He always researches on the newest car technologies and willingly tries them out, then sharing his thoughts and expertise with other automotive and technology enthusiasts across the globe. You can find Giles and his ideas at Oponeo and on Twitter.”  Since he lives in England, he tends to spell things like “tyres” differently, but also writes about them with great depth and charm.  Herewith, his introduction to our readers.  We hope to feature his insights in future outings. Many governments, industries and groups push for a “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic or simply make increasing efforts towards reducing the negative impact …

UAM Realization May be Closer than We Think

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

We are on the verge of big happenings in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) world.  Large amounts of money are flowing into the coffers of those companies which dared to pioneer in the area.  Large firms are partnering with these aerial startups.  And the Federal Aeronautics Administration is paying attention while actively pursuing certification for the new machines headed our way. Jay Merkle, FAA Certification and Airspace Integration At the Transportation Review Board’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, Jay Merkle, head of the FAA’s UAS integration office, told attendees that six (Urban Air Mobility) UAM  vehicles are “well along,” according to a report in Aviation Today.   He held that the growing market is ““more than just hype … this is …

Volocopter and John Deere Partner on VoloDrone

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We usually think of farming as a back-to-the-earth, humble enterprise, eschewing urban sophistication for rural simplicity.  Volocopter, the height of such urbanity, and John Deere, its green and yellow tractors shearing suburban lawns and its giant combines harvesting wheat fields worldwide, are blurring those lines with the VoloDrone, an agricultural implement like no other. The largest John Deere combines weigh over 30,000 pounds (13,608 kilograms), while the most a Volocopter can carry is around 440 pounds (200 kilograms).   This disparity can seem heavily on the side of brutish strength, but agility and finesse also play a part in farming. Unveiled at the aptly named Future Technology Zone in Hall 13 at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany, a demonstrator model of the …

Volocopter Hovers Over Stuttgart

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Stuttgart sees first urban flight of Volocopter in Europe     Volocopter has demonstrated an unmanned flight over Stuttgart, Germany on September 14, part of a two-day event titled, “Vision Smart City – Experience future mobility today.”   A major promotion of Mercedes-Benz’s history, products, and plans for future mobility, Partner Volocopter highlighted the drive toward “climate neutral mobility” by the auto maker. Smart City networks will rely on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Adaptive Networks according to Ciena, a provider of networking, programming and systems for ever-increasing demands by industry and municipalities. Control of traffic that will increasingly include Urban Aerial Mobility will take intense amounts of data – up to 24 billion Internet Provider (IP) devices on earth (three for …

Another Kind of Skyport for Volocopter

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Following last year’s Uber Elevate Summit, one came away with the idea that future landing areas for Urban Air Mobility vehicles would be multi-story and expansive, with connections readily available to other forms of commuting.  Volocopter, working with Skyports , has Volo-Ports coming, with the first one due to open by the end of this year.  The “stunning designs” for these landing pads will come from the agency Brandlab.   Drawings released so far show that Voloports will be simple and modular, enablihg their distribution in many locations or clustered in one centralized facility. Introduced at the Berlin Green Festival, Volo-Ports appear to be open, friendly places where one can be introduced effortlessly to the joys of taking Volocopters to distant places.  …

Volocopters to Fly Doctors

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Helena Treeck of Volocopter alerted your editor of an exciting development for the multicopter manufacturer.  ADAC Luftrettung (ADAC Air Rescue) wants to use volocopter’s capabilities to take doctors or other qualified medical personnel to points of need – and rapidly.  ADAC’s slogan, “Against time and for life,” sums their mission, and Volocopters seem apt choices to help fulfill it. Rotary-wing aircraft have a well-established reputation for rescues in treacherous locales and circumstances.  An outstanding job of flying earlier this year on Mt. Hood, Oregon highlights this. Electric vertical take off and landing craft may be even better at this than fossil-fuel powered ones.  They don’t run out of oxygen at altitude – the rescue on Mt. Hood took place near …

MAGiCALL Motor/Controller Vies for Simplicity, Lightness

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

MAGiCALL, a California-based firm whose slogan, “Innovative Magnetics to Power Your Products,” covers everything from aircraft to medical applications, has introduced a combined MAGiDRIVE™ integrated motor and controller line of products.  These are of particular interest for electric aircraft designers, since the company has been picked to supply motors to the Airbus A3 Vahana project. Whatever else they may accomplish, the many multi-rotor sky taxis will create a demand for a great number of motors, controllers, and battery packs.  16 on every Volocopter, eight to 16 on every Ehang, and eight on every Vahana will promote mass production, perhaps leading to a Model T moment where such technology becomes universally affordable. What Ford did for automobiles, most of the current …

AirSpaceX is NOT an Elon Musk Company

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Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) is a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), and as far as this editor knows, not related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.  A little closer to earth, the planned low-altitude perambulations of its two creations reflect the growing interest in “sky taxis.” A Holding Company Brought Down by the Great Depression Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO, sees Detroit Aircraft Corporation as an attempt to return the Motor City to its former glory days as a leader in aircraft development.  He notes that for a few brief years, DAC held controlling interests in the Ryan and Lockheed Aircraft companies, and created the only metal-clad airship in aeronautical history, The ZMC-2.  He explains, “Back in the ’20s, Detroit …