CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium, Part Three

CAFE Foundation

CAFE FoundationThe last six speakers closed out the afternoon session with aircraft, regulations, and ways to manage all the new traffic.

Mark Moore, NASA, Silicon Valley VTOL Air-Taxi Study

Dr. Moore started with an overview of all the unused Los Angeles helipads, required by law on every new high rise since 1974 until eliminated by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014. Most were not being used, and part of their original purpose – to allow life-saving drop-ins by Fire Department helicopters – seems reasonable even today. Moore asked what if we really tried to use these rooftops?  Continue reading "CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium, Part Three"

CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium, Part Two

One jet turbine, three generators, 24 ducted fans and 74 "effectors" to control it all.
One jet turbine, three generators, 24 ducted fans and 74 "effectors" to control it all.

John Langford: Aurora Flight Sciences and the Lightning Strike

Dr. Langford opened the second day with background on strides his firm has made in creating an unpiloted vertical takeoff and landing machine. The Lightning Strike is a 10,000 to 12,000 pound, high-speed craft with a turbine from partner Rolls-Royce and triple generators from partner Honeywell, all driving 18 wing-mounted and six canard-mounted electric, variable-pitch ducted fans. Both wings and canard pivot to allow vertical takeoff and landing, and tilt to horizontal mode to allow up to 400-knot cruising. This speed would be tactically beneficial.  Continue reading "CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium, Part Two"

Convergence at CAFE’s Electric Aircraft Symposium

The 10 Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium, held at the Marriot San Francisco Airport on May 19 and 20, visited topics of electric propulsion, aircraft, airspace, and control of the various types of craft that will be sharing the skies in the near future. Continue reading "Convergence at CAFE’s Electric Aircraft Symposium"

Creating a Standard for Electrified AC

Ron Gremban's Cessna is now electric.

Ron Gremban is an early developer of plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) automobiles, having converted hundreds of Toyota Prius vehicles to extend their electric-only range and make them even more practical real-world automobiles.

As part of the Electric Aircraft Symposium hosted by the CAFE Foundation in April, he shared some of his concerns about potential safety concerns for another form of EV, electrified aircraft.

He proposed standards for knowing when an electric aircraft motor is “On,” explaining that electric aircraft motors do not turn over when their controller is on “O,” as spectators at the Green Flight Challenge could appreciate. Normal aviation practice is for the pilot to yell “Clear!” and verify that bystanders have indeed cleared the area before the engine is fired up. The noise and visual indications let people know the engine is active, and even that is not always enough to prevent some unfortunate prop strikes each year. Continue reading "Creating a Standard for Electrified AC"

Green Flight Challenge, The Winners

The Pipistrel team.

Monday October 3 marked the Green Flight Challenge Expo, sponsored by Google and staged under the control tower at the center of Moffett Field, home of NASA Ames Research Center.

The four airplanes that flew in the Green Flight Challenge at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma Country Airport in Santa Rosa, California, were there, along with Greg Stevenson's full-size mockup of his GFC design and a Pipistrel Virus that had won an earler NASA/CAFE Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge.

Twenty exhibitors were on hand to show their approaches to green aviation, and three rows of tents protected exhibitors and their displays from the rain that started mid-afternoon. At about 11 a.m., attendees were brought to Building 3, in which NASA's acting Chief Technical Officer Joe Parrish recognized the GFC winners. Continue reading "Green Flight Challenge, The Winners"

Green Flight Challenge Video Report by CAFE Foundation

pMPG competition

pMPG competitionThe CAFE Foundation published a video report showing takeoffs and landings of the participating aircraft. Each aircraft's efficiency is evaluated using special hardware to measure total energy output, whether as electricity or liquid fuel. The resulting metric of Passenger Mile Per Gallon or pMPG is used as a component of each team's final score. Aircraft must achieve 200 pMPG across all competition phases to qualify for the US $1.5M prize. Continue reading "Green Flight Challenge Video Report by CAFE Foundation"