The Anonymous Widower

Air Passengers Can Beat Queues With Uber-Style Private Jet Service

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

Hyer Aviation are starting a service that uses similar technology to Uber to share seats on private jets around Europe.

Their modus operandi is laid out in this press release on their web site.

This paragraph is from the press release.

The concept works like an extra-comfortable UberPool with wings. Passengers can initiate their own flight or join flights proposed by others. This allows them to fly on private aircraft for a fraction of the cost while offsetting the carbon emission of their flights. From London, routes are available to some of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations such as Ibiza, Cannes, Malaga, Amalfi Coast and Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, it is also possible to find flights proposed by other passengers to Nice and Ibiza.

think this business model could fly.

Years ago, I owned a twin piston-engined six seater aircraft and I flew it all over Europe. I don’t fly now, as my medical history would probably stop that, but the experience showed there are many quiet airports all over the UK and Europe, that could be destinations for a 6-9 seater aircraft.

To me the interesting thing about this business model, is that there are several zero-carbon 6-9 seater aircraft under development.

Two are electric developments of the widely-used Cessna Caravan and the Britten-Norman Islander and others are clean-sheet developments like the Eviation Alice or the Faradair BEHA.

ZeroAvia are also experimenting with a hydrogen-powered Piper Malibu.

An electric or zero-carbon future for aviation is closer than many think.

But it will start at the smaller end with ranges of up to 500 miles.

 

 

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK Air Taxi Start-Up Finds Early Buyers For 1,000 Vehicles

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

The article is well worth a read and describes the progress of Vertical Aerospace, which was started by Ovo Energy founder; Stephen Fitzpatrick.

The Vertical Aerospace web site is worth a visit.

Details given of their VA-X4 plane include.

  • Range – 100+ miles
  • Speed – 202 miles
  • Capacity – 5
  • Carbon Emissions – Zero
  • Certification – EASA/CAA
  • Noise – 100 times quieter than a helicopter.

There is a lot to like!

What is certain in my mind, is that there is a market for a short range zero-carbon aircraft of some sort.

Judging by the number of aircraft being proposed for this market, I come to two conclusions.

  • The market isn’t mythical.
  • Someone will make a success of it.

I also wouldn’t be surprised, if the most successful design has rather a weird look about it.

But despite saying that, two of the frontrunners; the Cessna Electric Caravan and the electric version of the Britten-Norman Islander are both conversions of existing successful aircraft.

I believe, that I’m young enough to fly in an electric aircraft.

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will This Be The First Electric Air Service To Take-Off?

This article on GeekWire is entitled MagniX Inks Deal To Retrofit Seaplanes With electric Motors For Blade Flights Around NYC And Hamptons.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Everett, Wash.-based MagniX will provide electric aircraft motors to power Cessna seaplanes flying between Nantucket, the Hamptons and downtown New York City, under an agreement announced Thursday.

The zero-emission motors will be retrofitted onto nine-passenger Cessna Caravan seaplanes operated under the Blade brand name. If all goes to plan, MagniX will start delivering motors for the Cessnas in 2023. The total number of planes to be converted will be determined later.

This is significant for the following reasons.

Blade Is A Different Company

This paragraph describes the company in their Wikipedia entry.

BLADE Urban Air Mobility, Inc. (stylized “BLADE”) is a publicly-traded, technology-powered, global urban air mobility platform based in New York City committed to reducing travel friction by enabling cost-effective air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested ground routes in the U.S. and abroad. Blade users can book by the seat on scheduled flights throughout the Northeast and West Coast or charter or crowdsource a flight anywhere in the world.

Blade is also the first publicly traded urban air mobility company.

Cessna Caravans Are Reliable Utility Airplanes

Cessna Caravans first flew forty years ago and over 2,600 have been produced.

The picture shows the one I flew in from Nairobi airport to the Masai Mara.

Note.

  1. The single turbo-prop engine in the nose.
  2. They can take up to nine passengers.
  3. They have range of nearly 1300 miles.

FedEx operate 260 as parcel carriers.

MagniX Have Already Flown An Electric Caravan

This video shows the Electric Caravan in flight.

This is a video of a testflight on YouTube.

The guy behind the project;Roei Ganzarski gave a very optimistic interview on BBC Breakfast.

Electric Caravans Can Fly On A Supplemental Type Certificate

I explain this in magniX, Sydney Seaplanes And Dante Aeronautical Partner For World’s First All Electric Cessna Caravan STC Program.

It means that the certification process can be shortened, as it builds on what was done to certify the aircraft iby the original manufacturer.

Blade Are At the Top End Of The Aviation Market

The Hamptons says it all!

Conclusion

I think this will be a successful venture.

 

 

May 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Rolls-Royce And Tecnam Join Forces With Widerøe To Deliver An All-Electric Passenger Aircraft Ready For Service In 2026

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first paragraph.

Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are joining forces with Widerøe – the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, ready for revenue service in 2026. The project expands on the successful research programme between Rolls-Royce and Widerøe on sustainable aviation and the existing partnership between Rolls-Royce and Tecnam on powering the all-electric P-Volt aircraft.

This picture from Rolls-Royce shows the proposed aircraft.

The P-Volt aircraft is based on the Tecnam P2012 Traveller.

The specification of this aircraft is as follows.

  • Crew – 1 or 2
  • Capacity – 9 passengers
  • Powerplant – 2 x 280 jW piston engines.
  • Cruise speed – 200 mph
  • Range – 1090 miles
  • Service ceiling – 19,500 ft.

The aim is to have an aircraft in service by 2026.

Use By Widerøe

This paragraph from the press release, outlines Widerøe‘s planned use of the aircraft.

The collaboration offers an opportunity to develop an exciting solution to the commuter aircraft market. Before the pandemic, Widerøe offered around 400 flights per day using a network of 44 airports, where 74% of the flights have distances less than 275 km. The shortest flight durations are between seven and fifteen minutes. Developing all-electric aircraft will enable people to be connected in a sustainable way and will fulfill Wideroe’s ambition to make its first all-electric flight by 2026. The all-electric P-Volt aircraft, which is based on the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft is ideal for the short take-off and landing as well as for routes in the North and the West Coast of Norway.

Conclusion

There are now five electric or low-carbon aircraft in the sub-nineteen passenger segment.

Note.

  1. The Slice and the Faradair are new designs.
  2. The Faradair is hybrid and all the others are fully electric.
  3. The Faradair can carry eighteen passengers and all the others are smaller.
  4. I suspect there are others under development.

Conclusion

The Tecnam P-Volt must have a high chance of success.

  • It’s designed for a purpose in a particular airline.
  • The Widerøe model would apply to large number of small feeder and commuter airlines.
  • Rolls-Royce are well-respected in aviation.
  • An existing airframe is being used, which shortens certification.
  • Norway is not short of a few bob.
  • Cape Air have ordered 93 of the piston engined variant.

I will look forward to flying this aircraft.

 

March 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

magniX, Sydney Seaplanes And Dante Aeronautical Partner For World’s First All Electric Cessna Caravan STC Program

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

This sub-title defines their objective.

Global leader in electric propulsion technology to work with leading charter and integrator companies in Australia and the South Pacific to provide electric aircraft.

Note.

  1. An STC is a Supplemental Type Certificate, which is added to the aircraft’s type certificate, to allow it to be flown, after a major modification, such as a different power plant or a structural modification, such as a cargo door or aerodynamic modification.
  2. In the case of the Cessna Caravan, the gas turbine engine is being replaced by an electric motor and batteries.
  3. Over 2, 600 Cessna Caravans have been built.

This picture shows the Cessna Caravan in which I flew in Kenya.

I look forward to flying in an electric Caravan!

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

MagniX and AeroTEC Put All-Electric Cessna Airplane Into The Air For First Time

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

An all-electric version of one of the world’s best-known small utility airplanes hummed through its first flight today at Moses Lake in central Washington state.

This is a picture of another Cessna Caravan, that I took, as I boarded it in Kenya for a flight to the Maasai Mara.

 

The aircraft are very much a Ford Transit or Mercedes  Vito of the skies.

  • 2,600 have been built.
  • It is still in production.
  • The passenger version can carry nine passengers.
  • Total flight hours are over twenty million.
  • FedEx operates 239 of the type.

It must surely, be an ideal aircraft to convert to electric power.

This is a video of the first flight on YouTube.

The guy behind the project;Roei Ganzarski has just given a very optimistic interview on BBC Breakfast.

He emphasised the various environmental and financial advantages of the aircraft and if you can catch it on the iPlayer, it outlines a possible future for aviation.

I can see electric Cessna Caravans flying around the UK within the next couple of years.

Designing And Building An Electric Aircraft

Three of the designs for commercial electric aircraft under development are conversions of existing designs.

This must make certification of the aircraft simpler, as you’ve just replaced one type of engine with a battery and electric motor of similar size.

The difficult parts of the design; the aerodynamics and structure are probably almost unchanged.

As MagniX are involved in the first two of these projects, I would suspect that they have come up with an electric motor, that fits what is needed for aviation very well.

But then electric motor design is changing, probably driven by the needs of electric transport from bicycles through cars and vans to buses, planes, ships, trains and trucks.

It should also be noted, that the Beaver, Caravan and Islander are all simple aircraft, with a long history of successful operation and a vast knowledge base amongst pilots, engineers and operators of how to use these aircraft safely and in a financially viable way.

Will we see other aircraft conversions from to electric power in the next few years?

This page on Flying Magazine discusses conversion of Cessna 172 to electric power.

 

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch First Electric Caravan Fly

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

As AOPA is the Aircraft Owners And Pilots Association, the caravan is a Cessna C208B Grand Caravan, which has been converted to electric power.

I have flown in a Cessna Caravan in Kenya, where it took me from Nairobi Airport to the Maasai Mara.

It is a typical workhorse all over the world carrying up to nine or thirteen passengers or freight.

  • They have a single turboprop engine.
  • The undercarriage is fixed and very sturdy.
  • Around 2,600 had been built by 2017.
  • It is used by a variety of operators.

I would certainly be happy to fly in one at any time, unlike some aircraft I could mention.

This paragraph from the article details how the maker of the electric motor;magniX is involved in electric flight.

The Grand Caravan is to be the largest, but not the first commercial aircraft magniX has converted to fly with 100 percent electric power. Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, wrote in an email exchange that the de Havilland DHC–2 Beaver first flown in December continues its test flight program in Canada. Harbour Air, a short-haul air carrier with a fleet of seaplanes, is working with magniX to convert its fleet to all-electric power, and the same 750-hp electric motor that will power the upcoming Grand Caravan flight has been performing well in test flights over British Columbia.

Ganzarski is quoted as saying he is pleased with results to date.

The aircraft is lined up to make its first flight on May 28th, which hopefully will be shown on the Internet.

My flight in Kenya was only about half-an-hour and despite the Caravan having a range of nearly 2,000 kilometres, I suspect that many flights in the aircraft are of similar duration.

A Quick Battery Size Estimate

  • 750 hp is 560 kW.
  • So a half-hour flight on full power will use 280 kWh plus whatever is needed for aircraft systems like avionics, heating and air conditioning.
  • The Eviation Alice electric aircraft seats nine passengers and has a 900 kWh battery according to Wikipedia.

I  would suspect a 900 kWh battery should allow the Electric Caravan to do two half-hour trips.

The Future Of Electric Aviation

It is interesting to note, that four of the projects in designing and building a viable electric aircraft are in this nine-seater segment.

Note.

  • All except Eviation Alice, are conversions of proven high-wing aircraft with a fixed undercarriage.
  • Moderately large fleets available for conversion. – Beaver (1,600 plus built), Caravan (2,600) and Islander (700)
  • Conversion only needs a Supplemental Type Certificate, rather than full certification.
  • The DHC-2 Beaver prototype first flew on the day I was born, so it can’t be all bad.

A detailed insight into the reasons and the economics of converting an existing fleet of aircraft are given in a sub-section called Development in the Wikipedia entry for Project Fresson.

  • Scottish Airline Loganair appears to be the launch airline and will use the plane for their short flights around the Orkneys.
  • Several companies are involved in the development.
  • First flight is aimed for 2021.
  • Conversion kits could be available in 2022-2023.
  • It is hoped that operators would get a return on their money for the kit in 2-3 years.

Once they get the design right, there is talk of a nineteen-seat electric airliner.

I can see hundreds of converted electric Caravans and Islanders flying short routes by 2030.

 

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments