Schlagwort-Archive: electric aircraft

Training goes electric at New Vision Aviation

Nonprofit aviation education and flight school organization New Vision Aviation can now provide flight training in the group’s four Pipistrel Electro trainers thanks to an eight-year public-private collaboration to prove electric aircraft can be suitable for flight training. Located at the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport, New Vision Aviation, headed by President and CEO Joseph Oldham, has provided flight training and aviation industry education to young people from disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley in California since 2018.

New Vision Aviation has been training students in its Cessna 150, Cessna 172, and Interstate Cadet, and now, thanks to the FAA special light sport aircraft exemption, can finally use its fleet of electric Pipistrel Alpha Electros for flight training. Oldham is a general aviation pilot with a background in electric transportation who started the Sustainable Aviation Project (SAP), which received a million-dollar county transportation authority grant in 2016. New Vision Aviation was created to implement and complete the project.

The aircraft were delivered in March of 2018, FAA regulations that do not allow for electric powerplants in light sport aircraft precluded the use of those aircraft for flight training. Before issuing the exemption, the FAA told Oldham to gather data that proved the aircraft were safe. To get started, Pipistrel provided data loggers that plugged into the aircraft’s onboard computer to record flight data. That data went back to Pipistrel, where it was analyzed and put into charts that showed battery and other performance parameters. The process required Oldham to fly one of the aircraft for 100 hours to gather data, which proved difficult considering he was only able to get about 40 minutes of flight time on a full charge. Eventually, an engineer from another company working on electric aircraft suggested flying at a speed to optimize lift over drag, instead of what Pipistrel recommended for cruise speed, and eventually, Oldham was able to achieve an hour plus of flight time per charge, making the 100-hour mark more attainable. The FAA also dispatched an engineer to run specific tests with the aircraft, working in collaboration with Pipistrel to ensure the flights weren’t damaging the system in any way.

Oldham submitted the petition in September of 2019 and in June of 2023, the FAA reached out to let him know it was working on the petition and needed him to make a few small corrections. On January 22, Oldham finally received the news that his petition for exemption had been granted. Before New Vision Aviation can begin training with the Pipistrel fleet, the aircraft needs to go through an annual inspection and be recertified by an FAA-designated airworthiness representative). In the meantime, Oldham says the condition of the aircraft batteries needs to be analyzed, and some may need replacing. He hopes to have at least one of the aircraft ready to fly in 30 days. Source / entire report: ‚Niki Britton on AOPA USA‚.

Maiden Flight of the Diamond Aircraft eDA40

On 20 July 2023, the all-electric eDA40 made its first flight at Diamond Aircraft’s headquarters in Wiener Neustadt (Austria). This marks a significant milestone for the manufacturer and all project partners and is a big step towards certifying the aircraft. The eDA40, which shall be the first EASA/FAA Part 23 certified electric aircraft, is designed to be an excellent electric circuit trainer powered by an ENGINeUSTM electric smart motor by Safran Electrical & Power and charged by Electric Power Systems (EPS) battery module equipped with a Direct Current (DC) fast charging system. Piloted by Diamond’s Head of Flight Test Sören Pedersen the maiden flight covered system checks, all basic manoeuvres and initial performance evaluation. The flight went as scheduled and delivered all results requested. The eDA40 is scheduled to be presented to the broader public at AERO Friedrichshafen 2024. Source: ‚Diamond Aircraft‚.

Tecnam to postpone the P-VOLT Programme

After three years of intensive studies covering the entire lifecycle of an all-electric aircraft, Tecnam has concluded that the time for P-Volt is not yet ripe, although research activities will continue to explore new emerging technologies.

Since the beginning of the P-Volt development, Tecnam’s focus has been to provide operators with the ability to fly an all-electric passenger aircraft profitably, efficiently and sustainably in terms of operating costs, emissions, performance, turnaround and time to market. At present, Tecnam believes that these can only be achieved by extremely aggressive speculation on uncertain technology developments.

Tecnam has a deep understanding of electric flight, gained from previous projects such as the H3ps hybrid aircraft based on the P2010 four-seater, and today we have looked closely at state of art in energy storage and realistic 5-year developments, excluding technological revolutions that no one can speculate on. One of the conclusions was that an aircraft with a battery pack at the end of its life would not be the best product for the market, but certainly the worst in terms of Net Present Value (NPV).

The proliferation of aircraft with “new” batteries would lead to unrealistic mission profiles that would quickly degrade after a few weeks of operation, making the all-electric passenger aircraft a mere “Green Transition flagship” rather than a real player in the decarbonisation of aviation. Taking into account the most optimistic projections of slow charge cycles and the possible limitation of the maximum charge level per cycle, the real storage capacity would fall below 170Wh/kg, and only a few hundred flights would drive operators to replace the entire storage unit, with a dramatic increase in direct operating costs due to the reserves for battery replacement prices.

With dozens of EASA and FAA certifications, Tecnam is the most active General Aviation manufacturer in the world with the highest number of new type certifications in recent years. The company’s mission has always been to design and manufacture products with the highest value for money in terms of efficiency, CO2 emissions, operating costs and profitability. Today, Tecnam believes these key factors cannot define a new aircraft development as “viable” with a target entry into service by 2026-2028.

Tecnam is constantly and closely monitoring the evolution of technologies capable of achieving net-zero emissions targets, working with the leading manufacturers of propulsion systems and providing them with direction and guidance, ready to bring the P-Volt back into the type certification arena as soon as technology evolution allows.

Fabio Russo, Tecnam’s Chief R&D Officer, said: “We don’t feel attracted by the “2026“ stream or any Electric Rush. Our culture has always been to commit to achievable goals with customers and operators, and we intend to keep that promise. We hope that new technologies will make businesses viable sooner rather than later, and we have real confidence in our partners’ ability to bring highly valuable products to the zero-emission powertrain and energy storage arena.” Source: ‚Tecnam website‚.

1st Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race

The NAA is planning a cross-country air race for electric propulsion aircraft!  The electric aircraft industry has been rapidly expanding in terms of technological readiness and the number of potential race contestants.  The air race will be a resumption of the Pulitzer air races first held in the early 1920s. The race winner will be awarded the Pulitzer Trophy (on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC) at a suitable NAA awards event. 

The first Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race, planned for May 2023, will be a four-day, 1,000 nm cross-country event beginning in Omaha, NE and ending near Kitty Hawk, NC. The race will be open to piloted aerodynes of all types using zero-emission electric propulsion (e.g., fixed-wing aeroplanes, helicopters, or multi-rotor eVTOL Advanced Air Mobility [AAM] vehicles). Because many potential competitors may be in a research and development phase and using experimental aircraft, the race will be a day-only, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) event. The race winner will be the pilot/crew with the fastest speed calculated from the cumulative flight time, not including time on the ground for maintenance, charging, or overnight stays. The NAA Pulitzer Race Committee developed the specific race rules available here.

The cross-country format, rather than a closed-circuit speed event, was selected to emphasize electric aircraft range and reliability and speed in a realistic operating environment.  A cross-country race will require careful logistical planning from the race teams and highlight different electric propulsion technology choices and operational strategies such as rapid battery charging, whole battery changes, and solar power augmentation to extend range. As a long-distance, multi-day cross-country event open to all classes and types of electric aircraft, we have designed the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race to provide an open canvas for design innovations and be a flying expo for the electric aviation industry. 

The Pulitzer STEM Challenge!  The NAA will partner with nationally recognized Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) providers to leverage the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race as a STEM educational outreach opportunity.  Fifth and sixth-grade school science classes will explore electrical power systems and their application to aeronautical engineering in the semester leading up to the race. Students will follow their favourite competitors in real time along with the rest of the world via publicly available internet flight tracking on FlightAware.com and here on the NAA Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race website. 

Make History and Be Part of the Action!  With the help of our sponsors, partners, and contestants, the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race can become the premier venue and showcase for the advancement of practical electric propulsion aircraft in terms of speed, distance, and reliability, much like the National Air Races of the 1920s and 1930s helped promote technological advances of internal combustion airplanes at the beginning of aviation. Source: ‚National Aeronautic Association (USA). ‚Rules‚.

X-Plane 12 brings eVTOL

The newest iteration of the X-Plane flight simulator has arrived with real-world weather, new airport effects, and the opportunity to fly the Alia-250 eVTOL. The X-Plane series, from Laminar Research, allows users to fly a suite of pre-loaded, well-known aircraft but also allows users to load their designs to see how they would perform in the real world. „You can input the design of any aircraft, and then the simulator will predict how that airplane will fly,“ Austin Meyer, founder of Laminar Research, told AOPA. „So, you can fly X-Plane in real-time, just like any other flight simulator. The difference is X-Plane is pretty realistic in how the aircraft performance is modelled, and that includes airplanes that have never flown before. If you have your idea for an incredible airplane, you can put that in X-Plane and then fly it in the simulator and see how the real airplane will fly.“ Five years ago, Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of Beta Technologies, approached Meyer with the idea of building an aircraft that doesn’t require fuel or a runway. Clark enlisted X-Plane’s help in testing Beta Technologies‘ eVTOL designs, and eventually, the Alia eVTOL came to be.

The piloted Alia-250 is still in development; however, one prototype without the vertical-lift motors has successfully flown in a „conventional“ fixed-wing configuration from Burlington, Vermont, to Bentonville, Arkansas, with multiple stops to charge the batteries. The prototype with vertical lift motors has achieved vertical flight and is being prepared to make the horizontal flight transition. X-Plane can try their hand at flying Alia now on X-Plane 12. A spokesperson from Beta Technologies said that Beta uses X-Plane along with its in-house simulation software to power the company’s simulators and is excited to share some of the simulations its engineers and test pilots use to build and fly their aircraft with the X-Plane community. Realistic real-world weather is another new addition to X-Plane 12. With X-Plane’s proprietary algorithms, users can now experience wake turbulence; microbursts; thermals; and snow, rain, and ice accumulation. Airports look more realistic as well, with new ground textures, towers, pavement effects, and moving jetways at more than 17,000 pre-loaded airports from around the world.

X-Plane 12’s air traffic control system has also seen a major revamp to improve realism and immersion. The simulator has replaced its U.S.-based single global control region with a system of global geographic areas, all with their specific standards and messaging. ATC audio quality now varies based on distance from the airport or controllers, altitude, and terrain, and artificial intelligence now reacts to ATC instruction more realistically. New aircraft include the Alia-250 eVTOL, Airbus A330-300, Cessna Citation X, Lancair Evolution, Cirrus SR22, Piper PA–18 Super Cub, Van’s RV–10, Grumman F–14 Tomcat, and Robinson R22 Beta II. Source: ‚AOPA.org‚. Foto: ‚Beta Technologies‚.

VoltAero: TESI as strategic investor

VoltAero announced the completion of the first tranche in its Series B financing, with Italy’s TESI becoming a strategic investor and industrial partner. The new funding round, which includes a €32 million capital raise, will cover the certification and production launch of the first member in its electric-hybrid aircraft family, the Cassio 330.

“TESI’s decision to become both a strategic investor and an industrial partner is a clear sign of VoltAero’s technology and business model credibility as we take this important step closer to reality for the Cassio airplane family with the Series B funding round,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO & Chief Technology Officer, who is participating in this week’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo in the United Arab Emirates. The Series B round marks the third funding phase for VoltAero, positioning it for industrialization of the Cassio 330, which entered the certification process with Europe’s EASA airworthiness authority in October 2021 – the first member of its Cassio aircraft family powered by the company’s proprietary electric-hybrid propulsion system.

TESI (Tecnologie E Servizi Innovativi S.r.l.) will produce the airframe for VoltAero’s no. 1 Cassio 330 prototype, which is targeted to make its maiden flight in 2023. Cassio 330 is the five-seat version, with a combined electric-hybrid propulsive power of 330 kilowatts. “We have been impressed by VoltAero’s highly intelligent approach with Cassio, applying its dual-source electric-hybrid propulsion concept for regional aviation that will be both sustainable and operationally safe,” stated Luigi Punzo, the CEO of TESI. The Cassio airframe design is based on a sleek, aerodynamically-optimized fuselage, a forward fixed canard, and an aft-set wing with twin booms that support a high-set horizontal tail.

By integrating VoltAero’s proprietary electric-hybrid propulsion system into the company’s purpose-designed airframe, the Cassio aircraft family will deliver an order of magnitude better performance than the current competition and provide significantly lower operational costs. TESI will build the Cassio 330 certification prototype airframe at its Cicerale facility in the Campania region of southwestern Italy. The company is specialized in the production and integration of metallic structures and assemblies, as well as mechanical parts – with in-house capabilities from machining and forming to assembly, backed by resources for heat and surface treatment.

The VoltAero propulsion concept is unique: Cassio aircraft will utilize electric motors in the aft fuselage-mounted propulsion system for all-electric power during taxi, takeoff, primary flight, and landing. The hybrid feature (with an internal combustion engine) comes into play as a range extender, recharging the batteries while in flight. Additionally, this hybrid element serves as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion, ensuring true fail-safe functionality.

Since 2020, VoltAero’s electric-hybrid propulsion system has undergone extensive airborne evaluations, with the full-power 600-kilowatt version installed on the company’s Cassio 1 demonstrator airplane, making it the world’s first parallel electric-hybrid powertrain to fly. To date, Cassio 1 has logged some 10,000 kilometres with this electric-hybrid propulsion system in flights across France and to the United Kingdom, which has allowed the company to validate the operational cost assumptions for its future electric-hybrid airplane through the large volume of data accumulated during 135 flight hours.

Production Cassio airplanes will be built in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. The family will provide a highly capable and reliable product line for regional commercial operators, air taxi/charter companies, private owners, and utility-category service for cargo, postal delivery and medical evacuation (Medevac) applications. First to be certified is the Cassio 330, with five seats and powered by the 330-kilowatt electric-hybrid propulsion system. VoltAero’s follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have an electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts. VoltAero is headquartered at the Aérodrome de Royan-Médis in Southwest France. Its Cassio aircraft are to undergo final assembly in a dedicated facility at Rochefort Airport in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Source: ‚VoltAero‚.

Pipistrel obtains first electric aircraft type certificate

The Pipistrel Velis Electro is the world’s first fully electric aeroplane ever to receive type certification. The two-seater, intended primarily for pilot training, is a game-changing aircraft in terms of technological innovations and cost-efficiency. Its EASA certification paves the way for the future of environmentally sustainable, emission-free aviation. After years of intensive research and several successful award-winning electric aircraft models developed since 2007, Pipistrel has today achieved a breakthrough in aviation history, having type certified the battery powered Velis Electro. Working in tight collaboration with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, whose engagement was essential to reaching this unprecedented milestone, Pipistrel demonstrated that its new Velis Electro achieves the highest levels of safety. “The type certification of the Pipistrel Velis Electro is the first step towards the commercial use of electric aircraft, which is needed to make emission-free aviation feasible. It is considerably quieter than other aeroplanes and produces no combustion gases at all,” said Mr Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel Aircraft. “It confirms and provides optimism, also to other electric aircraft designers, that the Type Certificate of electric engines and aeroplanes is possible. The engine, which Pipistrel type certified separately, is also available to other aircraft OEMs. For Pipistrel, this achievement injects additional motivation for the future eVTOL and multi‑seat hydrogen-powered projects. Pipistrel is especially thankful to all our customers for their confidence in our products, which allows us to continue developing these innovative aircraft,” he added.