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#1 2021-08-05 13:50:32

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,112

Electric Airplane

SpaceNut ... there was only one topic with "airplane" in the title, and that was yours for Venus

This post is for Earth, but considering the success of Ingenuity, it might well work on Mars.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/one-per … 00708.html

Courtesy Opener, LLC

Blackfly’s motors and batteries were all designed in house. “The proprietary propulsion system includes the most powerful motors in the world for their size,” Leng said.

Blackfly flew four times at Oshkosh. Each time, it took off, flew a few hundred yards over a grassy area between the runways, and then returned to the original spot, landing gently on its keel, before tilting to one side

For SpaceNut .... I couldn't help noticing the similarity of this design to your expressed concept for a road vehicle.

If the range is sufficient to carry you from home to work and back, it might be a solution to commuting.

You don't need a pilot's license, according to the article.

(th)

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#2 2021-08-13 08:19:20

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,924

Re: Electric Airplane

From the article:

Created for the US recreational sport-vehicle market, Blackfly operates under Part 103 of the federal air regulations. That comes with a few restrictions. As an ultralight, Blackfly can weigh no more than 254 pounds and may not be flown at night or anywhere near populated areas.

Another functionally useless toy for people with more money and obsession over futurism than practicality or uncommon sense.  It "only" costs as much as a luxury SUV.  Well, for that amount of money you could actually have a luxury SUV, or a real certificated airplane capable of more "recreational flying" than any user of the "BlackFly" will ever be capable of.

For people who want a functional airplane, a guy built one using scrap materials from the junkyard for $6,500 total, including the engine and avionics, although it's one of those "evil" gas burners.  It can fly for at least several hours on a few gallons of gas and it seats two people, much like any other real airplane.

Affordable Flying: Building an Airplane for Less than $6,500

Maybe some people in our government could learn something from him, but that'd require minimally functional grey matter between their ears.

I don't want debts.  I can't afford them. - Tim Buttles

Now, the labor doesn't pay anything, but watching TV doesn't pay anything, either.  So, you have a choice.  Either you're watching TV or you're gonna build an airplane. - Tim Buttles

Actually, the lack of money has been...  I call it "good education".  And if I did have a dollar, I'd still be doing the same things because I enjoy it so well. - Tim Buttles

The dude used spoons with tabs welded onto them to make latches for his engine cowling.

Tim Buttles is a member of EAA Chapter 183981, of Ogdensburg, WI.

My favorite comment on it:

There must have been one hell of a conversation when he got this thing inspected with the FAA.

My favorite comment that shows how little people know of aviation:

R V The other alternative, is not to crash into another plane, or someone else’s hanger. You would only be liable if you damaged somebody else’s property. Otherwise, if you crashed, and you walked away from the crash, you would just build another $6000 aircraft, or rebuild the one you’ve got. And if you didn’t walk away from the crash, well insurance can’t bring people back from the dead so it doesn’t really matter. Pretty unlikely, but you get the picture. Bottom line, insurance is not required in less you’re an idiot. It would be much more likely to be required on a car then on a plane. Cars are much closer to each other on the road, where is your supposed to have a 100 meter gap between aircraft while flying.

A "100 meter gap", huh?

Apart from formation flying with a very communicative lead, if I was ever that close to any other aircraft, even at the leisurely 140kts that that 172RG cruises at, I think I'd have a coronary.  Dependent upon direction, with two aircraft flying that speed, that could easily result in a mid-air in less than a second.  I think ATC woke up my flight instructor when we passed within about 500m of some Cessna or Piper heading in the other direction.  I was shocked at how fast we crossed paths, and he was flying at a different altitude, not directly towards us, and was in no particular hurry.  There's a good reason why you're not allowed to fly faster than 250 knots below 10,000.  Cleetus and Billy Bob may never even see each other with a closure rate that's the better part of Mach 1.

My absolute favorite was that old country boy who built his bird using "nothing but what you can pick up from the Home Deppo".  That old hayseed is an absolute hoot.  Jack "Everything's Home Deppo" Harper.  You couldn't come up with another one of him if you tried.

Home Depot ultralight aircraft, Jack Harper and his Home Depot plans built ultralight aircraft kit!

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#3 2021-08-13 08:41:25

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,338

Re: Electric Airplane

No doubt it would be cumbersome in practice, but I wonder if something like this could be used to power an aircraft?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator

I would propose using charcoal rather than raw biomass.  This can be sustained at very high temperatures in an insulated, pressurised retort and fed a mixture of compressed air and water vapour.  The resulting gas that emerges will be a mixture of nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.  This could be burned in spark ignition piston engines to generate power.

The energy density of the retort and charcoal based fuel would be only half that of kerosene, but 10 times better than battery electric power.  As a biofuel, the biomass derived charcoal is a net-zero fuel.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#4 2021-08-13 13:23:39

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 8,112

Re: Electric Airplane

For Calliban re #3

This idea may well have merit, and I hope it receives support in another topic.

Please leave it here as a reminder of what NOT to insert into this topic.  Instead, just copy it and select a more appropriate topic.

There is no way that I can think of to stretch this interesting idea so it fits in a topic about all-electric aircraft.

For future posters .... there is a LOT going on (on Earth in 2021) in the field of electric powered aircraft.

This topic is set up to provide an appropriate dedicated location for posts about all those efforts.

(th)

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#5 2021-09-19 16:35:05

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,913

Re: Electric Airplane

Rolls-Royce's all-electric aircraft completes 15-minute maiden voyage

The aircraft uses a 6,000 cell battery pack with a three-motor powertrain that currently delivers 400kW (500-plus horsepower), and Rolls-Royce said the aircraft will eventually achieve speeds of over 300 MPH.

Weight is a much bigger problem for airplanes that it is for cars, however. Ford's all-electric Lightning pickup weighs 1,800 pounds more than the gas-powered model, and offers a range that's slightly under half. However, if you added 1,800 pounds to to a Cessna 206 Turbo Stationair, you'd exceed its useful load by 500 pounds before you even loaded passengers (or the pilot) — so it wouldn't even get off the ground.

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#6 2021-09-19 20:32:18

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,924

Re: Electric Airplane

SpaceNut,

Now we know why electric aircraft are toys for rich people who don't intend to do much flying, and workfare for aerospace and electrical engineers not otherwise gainfully employed.  They should rename that thing "Spirit of Never Going to Production".  The only "innovation" that occurred was spending a lot of money for no useful result.

This is the biggest joke of all:

The project was half funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute and UK government, with the aim of eventually creating all-electric passenger planes.  "This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality," said Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East.

People who want to design passenger carrying airplanes, actually design passenger carrying airplanes, not functionally useless and insanely expensive electronic gadgets intended to dazzle the uneducated with bovine excrement.  Rolls-Royce has invested £80 million in electric aircraft battery technology alone, and maybe a century from now when AI designs a battery that stores an order of magnitude more energy than the laptop batteries in this toy, you might have a functional airplane, at least until the battery shorts out and achieves arc welding to surface-of-the-Sun temperatures, at the speed of light.

A better question to ask is what world record was actually broken by this waste of tax payer time and money.

The world record for the greatest amount of money spent to make a single-seat and functionally useless airplane go 300mph?

People routinely make airplanes go 300mph at the Reno Air Races, and while their planes are certainly not cheap, they're nowhere near the cost of this idiocy.

A Glassair III cruises at around 280mph and can easily break 300mph with the throttle firewalled.  The airframe is around $100K, the engine is around $120K, the prop is $15K, and most of them have at least $30K worth of avionics in them.  So, for $275K, you can cruise near 300mph and travel up to 1,300 miles with a single pilot and full fuel, or around 1,000 miles with a passenger and baggage.

The guy in the comments section must be unaware that if 100% of the airframe was covered with 100% efficient solar panels, flying at high noon over a desert would not provide enough power to remain above stall speed.

Modern electric motors are absolutely golden, in my opinion, and fully capable of delivering reliable power and lots of it, no "ifs", "and", or "buts".  Unfortunately, that revolutionary new battery technology is "just" 10 years away, and always will be, at least until AI takes over, then it could be a day or a week or the AI may simply conclude that it's a waste of computing power, because no known electro-chemical reactions come within an order of magnitude of simple chemical reactions, so far as power output is concerned.

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#7 2021-09-30 14:31:11

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,338

Re: Electric Airplane

Back in the early 50s, the Fairey aviation company in the UK, invented something called the Fairy Rotodyne.  It was a large passenger autogyro.  The idea was to use it for short range intercity transportation.  It failed miserably when the British government did what it always does.  Provide limited funding, develop something that works and then cut funding and let it flounder before it is commercialised.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Rotodyne

Maybe instead of electric aeroplanes, there would be a limited market for large, double bladed, electric passenger helicopters.  These could transport a hundred people at a time from suburban commuter towns into large cities.  This is a journey of say 20-100 miles, but is often slow due to gridlocked roads and overcrowded trains.  The distance is short enough that the limited energy density of batteries can be tolerated.  And an electric helicopter like this, does not need runways, so can takeoff and land from fields or even the tops of buildings.  Maybe a niche market that an electric helicopter could fill, especially at peak travel times when wealthy city workers may be willing to pay a premium.

For long-distance transportation, it is difficult to see an application for battery electric aircraft of any kind.  The limiting factor is the low energy density of batteries.  Range is a function of the mass energy density of the fuel you are carrying.
Diesel gets 42MJ/kg and is burned in gas turbines that are 40% efficient.  Li-ion batteries get around 1MJ/kg and DC motors are around 80-90% efficient.  So realistically, you have about 1/20th the mass energy density of a gas turbine burning jet fuel and therefore 1/20th the range, all else being equal.  An electric engine doesn't need any air intake, which is a big source of drag.  There may be some millage in optimising the aerodynamic shape of the plane and putting a streamlined propulsor in the tail.

But non-electric options are worth considering as well.  Gas turbines use around half of their fuel energy compressing the incoming air stream.  And engines and pylons add shed loads of drag.  How about a plane with a LOX tank feeding a tail mounted engine with a turboprop propulsor?  The fuel could be normal jet fuel, gasoline, or LPG or LNG.  Hydrogen is an option.

In the near term, there is value in exploring the possibility of converting existing jet aircraft designs to run off of different fuels.  Gas turbines can tolerate a range of different fuel inputs if the burners are properly designed.  A 747 could be converted to run of off LPG, for example.  This is cheaper than diesel and has a greater mass energy density, which would allow either greater range or greater payload margins.  Shale oil is producing more NGLs than the US knows what to do with.  In the future, we may have less diesel and more gasoline and LPG.  The LNG market is growing as well.  Natural gas is more abundant than oil and LNG provides a way of distributing it globally.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-09-30 14:56:16)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#9 2021-11-19 15:42:25

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,913

Re: Electric Airplane

Here is another first for Rolls-Royce says its all-electric aircraft is the world's fastest after it tops 387 mph

To this end, it will be submitting three claims for world records to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. These are: the aircraft hitting a top speed of 555.9 km/h over 3 kilometers; reaching 532.1 km/h across 15 kilometers; and climbing to 3,000 meters in 202 seconds.

According to Rolls-Royce, the airplane uses a 400-kilowatt electric powertrain "and the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace." In September, it completed its maiden flight, soaring across skies in the U.K. for around 15 minutes.

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#10 2021-11-25 16:44:27

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,913

Re: Electric Airplane

Battery-powered airplanes, the next phase of green transportation

50% of the take off mass is batteries...

EMBEDFullPlane-hy-abc-20211122_1637609124736_hpEmbed_4x3_992.jpg

So we can expect to see fast charge stations for the planes at the air fields.

There would also be a demand for on air recharging from larger planes much the same as the boom refueling that is done by the air force...

While not a long distance plane, 440 miles fits the needs of many regional airlines around the world. Charging the plane will be similar to charging a Tesla. While passengers are boarding, the plane will be plugged in and able to do most of a flight off of just a 30 minute charge.

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#11 2021-11-25 16:58:51

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 1,338

Re: Electric Airplane

A 440 mile range is further than I would have expected.  OK for London to Paris.  Or inland flights in most countries.  Electric planes can have lower air resistance, because the engines are not air breathing.  But the appallingly poor energy density of electrochemical batteries prevents this from being useful for long range applications.

One other point of concern would be power requirements of charging the battery in just 30 minutes.  We have talked about the problems of fast charging batteries before.  A grid capable of meeting those spikes in power demand would need a lot of open exhaust gas turbines.  So why not put the gas turbine in the plane instead, like we already do?

I strongly suspect that flying is a fossil fuel optimised activity.  There just isn't anything else with sufficient energy density for the job.  Or at least nothing that people would tolerate flying over their heads.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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