The Anonymous Widower

Nightjet Plans Mini-Capsules For Private Travellers

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette International.

I think they look rather good and they will surely appeal to Japanese tourists.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Opinion: Why Aviation Needs to Go Green, and How

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Aeronautics Online.

Read the article and especially what it says about the Wright Electric Jet.

This is a paragraph from Wikipedia, talking about co-operation between Wright Electric and easyJet.

In September 2017, UK budget carrier EasyJet announced it was developing an electric 180-seater for 2027 with Wright Electric. Wright Electric built a two-seat proof-of-concept with 272kg (600lb) of batteries, and believes that batteries can be scaled up with substantially lighter new battery chemistries: a 291 nautical mile (540km) range would suffice for 20% of Easyjet passengers. Wright Electric plans to develop a 10-seater and eventually an at least 120 passengers single-aisle, short-haul airliner and targets 50% lower noise and 10% lower costs.

I would assume, that the plane also emits a lot less CO2 and other pollutants.

I would assume that the plane will be built by using the best of these technologies.

  • Aerodynamics
  • Lightweight structures
  • Electric Motors
  • Batteries
  • Electronics and avionics.

But I also believe that designing an electric aircraft could be a very different process to a conventional one.

There Is No Fuel

Consider.

  • Fuel is a high proportion of the weight of an airliner on take-off.
  • There are a lot of complicated systems to pump fuel to the engines and also from tank to tank to trim or balance the aircraft
  • When a conventional airliner takes off, it is much heavier than when it lands, as fuel has been burned.
  • Fuel is dangerous in a heavy landing or crash.

On the other hand, I’m fairly certain, that empty batteries and full ones weigh the same.

This would mean, that the plane aerodynamics and structure,  would be designed to be optimal in the various phases of flight.

  • Taxiing out to the runway.
  • Taking off.
  • The climb to the cruising altitude.
  • The cruise
  • The descent to the destination airport.
  • The landing
  • Taxiing in to the terminal or stand.

In the climb, cruise and descent  phases power would be set and the trim adjusted, by the autopilot to attain the right speed and rate of climb or descent.

Aerodynamics

As the weight of the aircraft would be the same in all three phases and would need more or less the same lift, with clever aerodynamics, I think we will see a very simple wing. In fact, probably more like that of a sailplane than an airliner.

Wikipedia says this about the design.

The aircraft is to run on batteries and handle flights of under 300 miles. It will feature high aspect-ratio wings for energy efficient flight, distributed electric propulsion and swappable battery packs with advanced cell chemistry.

Note that sailplanes have high aspect ratio wings.

Compared to say a small jet airliner like an Airbus A318, I suspect that the wings will be longer, but possibly simpler.

The Wright Electric Jet will probably have various aerodynamic aids, like flaps and winglets. In fact the picture on Wikipedia shows the latter, which reduce drag.

A Simple Flight Profile

The fastest way to fly between A and B is probably to take off and climb as fast as possible to the optimum cruising altitude, where an optimum cruise is maintained, until the time comes to descend into the destination airport. Much of the descent would be straight in to the runway.

I have flown in an easyJet Airbus 320 from Schipol to Southend in much this manner and the plane arrived ahead of schedule.

I suspect that easyJet like to fly like this, as it saves fuel, but Air Traffic Control probably doesn’t allow it that often.

But simple efficient profiles like this would be ideal for electric aircraft.

If as I suspect their aerodynamics would allow a better glide ratio than a jet powered airliner. So to get a longer range, an electric aircraft might do a long approach.

A Low Noise Aircraft

As I said earlier, Wright are talking about fifty percent less noise.

This could be a game-changer for a smaller airport like Luton or Southend, where the approach can be over residential areas.

Especially for Southend, where planes from the East could do a long descent over the sea and come straight in on Runway 23.

Could Southend become London’s short-haul airport for electric aircraft?

  • easyJet and Ryanair are already there.
  • There’s plenty of wind power in the area
  • It has a good rail connection to London and could be served by Crossrail.

Essex is a county that likes to be different.

Airbus

The original article also mentions Airbus.

Airbus has the skills to design the required light and strong airframe, the aerodynamic knowledge.and a large support network.

They also have a lot to lose, if someone else takes away, the smaller part of their masrket.

Ignore Airbus at your peril.

Conclusion

The more I think about it, the more that I think a 120 passenger electric airliner with a range of 540 km, could be a very handy plane.

 

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rail Operator Avanti West Coast To Offer Three Classes Of Travel

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first two introductory paragraphs.

Three travel classes will be available on a domestic UK railway line for the first time in more than 60 years.

Avanti West Coast, which has replaced Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line, will offer premium economy as well as standard and first-class seats.

I always use the middle-class on Eurostar and regularly use a Weekend First upgrade, so it could be that this middle-class ticket will be useful for me.

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Crossrail And Stratford Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tangle of lines at Stratford station.

Note Maryland station in the North-East corner of the map.

  • The black lines and platforms are the fast lines
  • The blue lines and platforms are the slow lines used by Crossrail.

The Crossrail lines then curve round through Stratford calling in the following platforms.

  • Platform 5 for London-bound services.
  • Platform 8 for Essex-bound services.

Each Crossrail track is paired with a Central Line track, which are shown in red, in the same direction on an island platform.

These pictures show coming and going on the London-bound island.

Unfortunately, there were only old Class 315 trains running, when I took the pictures.

The layout used at Stratford is rarely used elewhere. Especially, as the layout  dates from probably the 1940s.

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Along Shaftesbury Avenue

These are some pictures I took as I walked up Shaftesbury Avenue at around lunchtime.

This is a summary of what I saw and my views.

  • I only saw one electric vehicle; a black taxi.
  • It was a horrendous collection of diesel trucks and vans. And an ambulance!
  • As someone, who suffers in polluted air, I say two words – Stop It!
  • All deliveries should be done at night!
  • No vehicle should be allowed through unless it is zero carbon.

Note the lack of private cars and I only saw a couple of buses, both of which were New Routemasters.

Conclusion

Shaftesbury Avenue is the heart of London’s Theatreland. And a downright disgrace!

I am lucky, in that if I want to go, I walk round the corner from my house and get a 38 bus direct to the Avenue.

But look at any map and you’ll see there is no Underground station in the area and you have to walk from Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road stations.

Crossrail 2 has a plan to build a station in the area, but as it would involve demolishing the Curzon Cinema, all the usual suspects are against that plan. They were also against the demolition of a theatre at the site of the expanded Tottenham Court Road station. Crossrail are doing the obvious and building a new bigger one!

Surely, the same thing would work for Crossrail 2!

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment