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Electric Airplanes

Old 12-11-19, 04:26 PM
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Electric Airplanes

It seems like this is a thing. https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ight-in-canada
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Old 12-12-19, 01:48 AM
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Replacing petrochemical consumption with battery-powered electricity is the future not only in cars but also aviation....and of course there is even more fuel and cost-efficientcy in the aviation part. The development of the aviation part has been going on for a number of years now with a number of successful flights. Solar Impulse 2 did the first electrical-powered circumnavigation 3 years ago.
More importantly and as the first step, aviation hybrid electric technology will be available in the E.U. in the near future for commuter/regional travel. Single European Skies in the E.U. has been doing the work in building the needed distributed electric air network and air traffic management for 2 years now and should be ready by the time those regional flights start.
Boeings Zunum Aero should have a hybrid system capable of carrying 12 passengers with 700 nautical miles of flight within the next couple of years. The NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed has been doing the work on both megawatt-scale electric aircraft engines and especially airframe design in the U.S. for large passenger airplanes for 3 years now with the thinking that it will only be another decade to having it available for prototypes.
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Old 12-12-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by clemsongirl View Post
Replacing petrochemical consumption with battery-powered electricity is the future not only in cars but also aviation....and of course there is even more fuel and cost-efficientcy in the aviation part. The development of the aviation part has been going on for a number of years now with a number of successful flights. Solar Impulse 2 did the first electrical-powered circumnavigation 3 years ago.
More importantly and as the first step, aviation hybrid electric technology will be available in the E.U. in the near future for commuter/regional travel. Single European Skies in the E.U. has been doing the work in building the needed distributed electric air network and air traffic management for 2 years now and should be ready by the time those regional flights start.
Boeings Zunum Aero should have a hybrid system capable of carrying 12 passengers with 700 nautical miles of flight within the next couple of years. The NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed has been doing the work on both megawatt-scale electric aircraft engines and especially airframe design in the U.S. for large passenger airplanes for 3 years now with the thinking that it will only be another decade to having it available for prototypes.

​​​​​​Very interesting, but that does put large scale commercial passenger flights out at least 15 years... but wow... quiet skies, eh?
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Old 12-12-19, 09:01 AM
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Zunum Aero seems to be dead in the water. They couldn't get funding to continue their motor.

The largest price in making a new plane or rocket is the engine, and wouldn't expect this to change with electricity. The problems created by the design brief (lightweight, power dense, long service) are hard, harder than they are for cars. A lot of the technology enabling this is mature, brushless motors and lithium batteries and carbon fiber airframes. Someone needs to carry a design over the goal line into successful production.
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Old 12-12-19, 11:16 AM
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They tried using paper but the constant loop-de-loops were upsetting the passengers.
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Old 12-12-19, 11:28 AM
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Yeah, I interviewed with Zunum about 18 months ago. Never heard back. I've been following their 'progress' off and on since, then, since I'm interested in the technology that's also being developed. I was disappointed when they basically folded. My understanding is that the principal's are still involved in the research aspect of it, but mostly on their own dime, and the company is basically suspended.

It's really just a matter of time, probably. I keep hoping that solar electric winds up really developing some good tech that might allow some other pipe dream aircraft, like giant flying wings. I want to see the tech get away from increasing speed, to increasing comfort. If endurance becomes not an issue, and fuel costs are significantly reduced, we might be able to develop large aircraft that are more like cruise ships or travelling by train (which is slower, but much, much more comfortable).
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Old 12-12-19, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Zunum Aero seems to be dead in the water. They couldn't get funding to continue their motor..
A while ago I heard they were doing some good work on it's hybrid concept for regional travel. That’s too bad their investor funding had problems. Boeing is still involved in the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research program isn’t it?
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Old 12-12-19, 03:19 PM
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I didn't know about that one. Looks like it is more concentrated on the folding wing structure than on the propulsion but they did do some work with GE.

This stuff comes and goes but the biggest lesson I've learned is that it has to fit in the existing infrastructure or have an advantage overwhelming enough to destroy the existing infrastructure. The big news back when I was in engineer school was the McDouglas blended wing body and its competitor the Boeing C-wing, these ultimately led to the X-48. But in practice, you couldn't take one of these things up to a terminal gate, and no one really wants the 747 or A380 any more either now that twin jets match their seat-mile cost and range.

In the case of these little electric airplanes, you are competing with tiny turboprop or even piston planes that take off and land at tiny terminals, a fuel truck drives up and tops them off if needed, they do half a dozen flights or something in a day. Little things from Embraer or Beechcraft. Those planes are old designs and their engines are even older designs, like for Vietnam-war era helicopters, all amortized. How do you pay for new engine development, for one thing, and introduce electric charging to the infrastructure, for another? It's not impossible but it does take a change that has to be paid by the airlines and airports, not just the manufacturer.
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Old 12-12-19, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
​​​​​​Very interesting, but that does put large scale commercial passenger flights out at least 15 years... but wow... quiet skies, eh?
I don't know about that, have you ever been next to a hobbyist quadcopter when it spins up? Sounds like a hundred hives of angry bees
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Old 12-12-19, 07:53 PM
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"Electric Airplanes" sounds like the name of '60s tribute band...
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Old 12-12-19, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
"Electric Airplanes" sounds like the name of '60s tribute band...
to "bats without flesh"

I like it.
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Old 12-12-19, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
it has to fit in the existing infrastructure .
China, especially, does a much better job than the U.S. with electric transport infrastructure research and building funding….more importantly using grants/subsidies instead of venture/private capital. Much more has been done in the E.U. than the U.S. on planning/building an infrastructure for passenger regional electric/hybrid-electric plane use. Smaller aircraft will come first then they will get bigger. They also lead in investing in renewable energy airports with all electric on the ground fleet vehicles too.

Some parts of the U.S. are doing some good things in the EV area….thanks to the wa. or. and ca. state initiatives to build a north to south west coast fast charging station infrastructure the west coast’s I-5 is the longest EV enabled corridor in the U.S. now. China does have many more long enabled corridors.

It takes time and commitment to build infrastructure and for technology to also create the battery advancements needed for aviation. Past advancement says a safe bet is that it will for aviation though. With aviation being one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions i look forward to its contribution to a change with e-mobility.

i just looked into it and Boeing is still doing research/development work for the NASA program on aviation hybrid-electric engines.
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