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Electric Aircraft

Future of Electric Vehicles conference a buzzing success

This week saw the Future of Electric Vehicles USA 2010 conference take place in San Jose, California. Billed as “the world's only event that covers all forms of electric vehicles – land, water, and air,” it included a series of presentations on new technologies, an exhibit hall, and master classes that featured trips to nearby Silicon Valley tech development firms. Gizmag was one of the main sponsors of the event, and we were there to learn more about what’s happening in the world of EVs. Here’s a quick look at some of what we took in.  Read More

Electravia's ElectroLight and ElectroClub

While it may be some time before we see electric propulsion used in commercial airliners, at the other end of the scale, business is booming. The biggest problem facing designers is the weight-to-energy ratio of fuel cells, meaning that they are a heavy way of carrying around energy. Luckily in the light aviation world, designers don't have to worry so much about having long flight durations or carrying heavy payloads. This has made achieving electric and hybrid flight not only possible but also accessible to the average aviator.  Read More

The Boeing SolarEagle will make its first demonstration flight in 2014 as part of DARPA's ...

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Vulture program, which aims to develop and demonstrate technology to enable a single high-altitude unmanned airplane (UAV) to operate continuously for a period of five years, has entered phase II. Under the terms of an US$89 million contract, Boeing will develop a full-scale demonstrator called the SolarEagle that will make its first demonstration flight in 2014. The aircraft will have highly efficient electric motors and propellers and a high-aspect-ratio, 400-foot wing for increased solar power and aerodynamic performance.  Read More

Hardly a sound from the counter-rotating propellers as the Green Cri takes to the air

When Gizmag paid a visit to the Paris Green Air Show in June, there was one craft on display that seemed to steal the show. The Green Cri aerobatic electric airplane hadn't even left terra firma, yet was surrounded by eager onlookers for much of the time it was there. Now the four-engined prototype has returned to Le Bourget airfield for its maiden flight in the sunny skies above Paris.  Read More

Sikorsky Project Firefly technology demonstrator

Officially announced at AirVenture 2010, Sikorsky's Project Firefly sets out to demonstrate the feasibility and showcase the benefits of electrically powered helicopters. The technology demonstrator is based on an S-300C light helicopter, with a 190-horsepower electric motor replacing the standard piston-engine and lithium ion battery packs added to either side of the cabin. The result is a significantly more efficient system that – although it's expected to fall short of typical helicopter performance when the first flight takes place later this year – is just the tip of the iceberg for the new era of manned electric rotorcraft.  Read More

Boeing SUGAR Volt concept design (Image: NASA/The Boeing Company)

Although the theme of AirVenture 2010 was "Salute to Veterans," the future of air travel was also brought to the fore – and that means electric airplanes. The focus on e-aviation culminated in the World Symposium of Electric Aircraft last Friday and among the many interesting designs discussed was Boeing's Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) Volt concept. Borne out of the same NASA research program that gave birth to MIT's D “double bubble” concept, the SUGAR Volt is a twin-engine aircraft design notable for its trussed, elongated wings and electric battery gas turbine hybrid propulsion system – a system designed to reduce fuel burn by more than 70 percent and total energy use by 55 percent. Could this be the future shape of commercial air transportation?  Read More

EAA AirVenture 2010

What began in Milwaukee in 1953 as a get-together for aircraft enthusiasts has grown into the most well known event on the aviation calendar. EAA AirVenture – also known as Oshkosh after the town where it now takes place – rightly deserves the title of the world's greatest aviation celebration. Everyone around the globe with an interest in flying wants to be here and each year around 10,000 aircraft and half a million visitors make the pilgrimage. The 2010 event wrapped up today, so after a week of enjoying all the neck-straining action and cutting edge aviation technology on show, it's time to take a look back at EAA AirVenture 2010 in pictures.  Read More

Solar Impulse completes all night flight milestone Solar Impulse HB-SIA (Image: Solar Impu...

A plane powered entirely by the sun that flies at night. It sounds improbable, but Solar Impulse has just proven that it can be done. Following on from its maiden flight in April, the solar plane flew through the night in the skies above Switzerland this week, passing another important milestone on a journey that has already lasted seven years and is set to culminate in an attempt to fly around the world non-stop in 2012.  Read More

The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft

If stardom is measured by camera time and the number of drooling onlookers, then the Green Cri was undoubtedly the star of the recent Paris Green Air Show. The experimental aerobatic electric aircraft hasn't yet spent any time in the air, but that didn't seem to matter. Its four engines, gorgeous smooth lines and intriguing bubble pilot enclosure ensured that it remained constantly within the camera frames of visitors and journalists alike.  Read More

The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle

Despite the 10-15 knot winds cutting across the airfield at Le Bourget in Paris for the Green Air Show, visitors were treated to the wonderful sight of the electric Demoichelle in the air. The treasured creation of the Association for Promotion of Flying Ladders (APEV) the electric monoplane looks as though it was designed by the ghost of Alberto Santos-Dumont himself.  Read More

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