Solar Impulse has successfully completed its first international flight. After spending most of last week on standby
waiting for favorable weather conditions, the Swiss solar powered aircraft made the run from Payerne to Brussels on Friday 13 May in a flight that lasted 12 hours 59 minutes. Hats-off to the Solar Impulse team!
is on standby for its first international flight this week. Brussels has been chosen as the destination for the first venture outside Swiss borders, which follows the solar powered aircraft's maiden flight
and first overnight flight
last year and will mark another important step towards the goal of flying around the world in 2012.
Sonex Aircraft’s proof-of-concept electric-powered Waiex sports aircraft
has successfully completed its maiden flight. The flight earlier this month follows four years of development of the aircraft, with the data to be used to determine if any firmware adjustments are needed before proceeding to full traffic pattern and extended-duration test flights.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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