Two Similar eSTOLs

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

Two different but very similar electric Short Take Off and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft from two different companies are making progress toward realization.  Both are products of teams originally committed to electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) designs, so the shift to different configurations is of interest.  eVTOLs are limited in range by the need to lift their entire weight on their rotors – some for the totality of the flight.  eSTOLs use aerodynamics to enable longer range, and with high-lift devices, can use small fields from which to operate. Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, has been a long-time proponent of what he called “pocket airparks.”  These neighborhood or urban sites would be contained within roughly …

Longer Aerial Commutes to Affordability

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

Exurbs and Extended Range Urban Air Mobility (UAM) may be only a small part of electric aerial transport in the next decade.   Longer-range vehicles may enable longer aerial commutes to affordable country homes. Cities are becoming too expensive for most families, and examples abound of commuters traveling over 100 miles to and from work.  Two years ago in San Francisco, for instance, the cheapest home (a true “fixer-upper”) was listed at $699,900, a sum that used to include significant acreage and servants’ quarters.  A “typical” home price in SFO is over $1,400,000.  As a result, workers travel from places like Manteca, 76.4 miles downtown to downtown and one hour, 35 minutes in a car on a good day.  Manteca’s homes …

HES Element One Could Fly Four 5,000 Kilometers

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Horizon Energy Systems (HES), originally based in Singapore, has pursued lightweight hydrogen propulsion systems for the last 12 years, primarily for amall drones.  Going larger, the company announced plans today for Element One, “the world’s first regional hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft.” A four-passenger, 14-motored (!) monoplane, Element One will carry the lucky foursome 500 to 5,000 kilometers (310 to 3,100 statute miles).  This distributed power system claims “virtually no change to its current drone-scale systems,” which is a little puzzling, considering the largest of such systems produces no more than 1,000 Watts.  The scale of the Element One and its power packs is ambiguous, with illustrations showing a nine-axle trailer with attached solar panels ostensibly powering the on-site production of H2. …

Zunum Electric Airliners Get Nod from Boeing, Jet Blue

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

Zunum aero, a startup in Kirkland, Washington, aims to fill the skies with small, quiet electric and hybrid airliners.  These range from a ten-passenger mini-liner to a 50-passenger craft similar to regional jets and feeder airliners.  Zunum is a Mayan word for hummingbird, and like those little speedsters, Zunum aircraft would make short hops efficiently and quietly – with just the hint of a buzz. Their sales pitch is enticing.  “Imagine leaving your doorstep in San Jose at 7 AM and making it to a 9:30 AM meeting in Pasadena. With Zunum Aero, simply drive to a nearby airfield and walk to your aircraft with bags in tow, for a trip that will take half the time and at a …