The Anonymous Widower

James Bond Stunt Pilot’s Electrifying Flight

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A James Bond stunt pilot has completed the first electric-powered flights from a UK airport in an aircraft capable of carrying passengers.

The aircraft was a modified Piper Malibu.

  • They can carry a pilot and five passengers.
  • They are single-engined.
  • Some are powered by piston engines and some by turboprops.
  • Over 1,200 of different variants have been produced and the aircraft is still in production.

Tragicilly, the footballer; Emiliano Sala, died in a Piper Malibu.

Zeroavia, the company, who seem to be behind this flight, in my view seem to be on the right track. The Zeroavia Hyflyer, has its own section in the Wikipedia entry for the Piper Malibu. This is the first sentence.

ZeroAvia, a Cranfield University partner, is a U.S./UK startup developing a Hydrogen fuel cell power train targeting to halve a turbine operating costs.

Roei Ganzarsky, who is CEO of magniX, who are a company, who make efficient electric motors for aviation, appears to very much believe that electric aircraft will be cheaper to run.

June 23, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

4 Comments »

  1. that’s an interesting article. I was particularly interested to read the pilot’s comments about torque: it requires less runway and can climb more steeply. There’s a small error in the Times report though, as the planned flight is 300 nautical miles, not miles, so a bit further. Strangely, there’s not much about the Hyflyer on Zeroavia’s website, but there’s a bit more at http://www.emec.org.uk/projects/hydrogen-projects/ (who are based in Stromness).

    The battery-driven Cessna eCaravan has a range of 100 miles, which will just about get you from Orkney to Inverness – fine for island-hopping, but not much else. Whereas, if the Hyflyer can manage 350, that would take you pretty much anywhere in Scotland. If you’re producing the hydrogen from a wind turbine, your fuel costs are pretty much zero. And if these aircraft can really be commercially available in just a few years time, this could revolutionise travel between, say, Britain and Ireland, or S England and N France. I can see converting aircraft like this being a bit like adding batteries or hydrogen to rail rolling stock, and presumably quicker and cheaper than building new.

    If you’ve not seen them, there are several videos of the recent test flight of the eCaravan on Youtube, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UoFNIxF09k

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 23, 2020 | Reply

    • As to the torque, you have to remember that electric motors have a lot of that! It’s one of the reasons why experts like electric trains.

      The great thing about swapping a piston or turboprop power unit for battery or hydrogen power, is that to certify an aircraft with a different power unit is not that difficult and the CAA and the FAA have good procedures to certify the change, as aircraft manufacturers have been swapping piston engines for small turboprops for several decades. They’ve already done it for the Malibu and the Caravan.

      Comment by AnonW | June 23, 2020 | Reply

  2. searching for Zeroavia on Youtube gives https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=zeroavia – the last one is from a recent webinar and gives the company’s overall plans. Also interesting 🙂

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 23, 2020 | Reply

  3. and the BBC now has a short video on the test flight https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-53191819/electric-plane-s-milestone-first-uk-test-flight-at-cranfield

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 30, 2020 | Reply


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