The Anonymous Widower

‘It Was Wonderful’: Eviation’s Alice Electric Airplane Wins Praise After Its First Flight Test

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

The long-expected first flight of Eviation Alice has happened.

The flight was only a short one and was described like this in the article.

Alice flew for eight minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 3,500 feet before landing safely back at the airport.

There is also a video in this article on Electrek, which is entitled Watch Eviation’s All-Electric Alice Aircraft First Flight.

This is an important milestone in the history of aviation.

September 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Heart Aerospace Unveils New Airplane Design, Confirms Air Canada And Saab As New Shareholders

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Heart Aerospace.

These are the first two paragraphs of the press release.

Swedish electric airplane maker Heart Aerospace today unveiled significant design updates to its first electric aircraft and confirmed Air Canada, one of North America’s largest airlines and Saab, the Swedish aerospace and defense company, as new minority shareholders.

The new airplane design, called the ES-30, is a regional electric airplane with a capacity of 30 passengers and it replaces the company’s earlier 19-seat design, the ES-19. It is driven by electric motors powered by batteries, which allows the airplane to operate with zero emissions and low noise.

And this is a visualisation of the aircraft from Heart Aerospace..

It looks fairly normal, except that it has four electric engines instead of two turboprops.

This paragraph of the press release gives details of the engine configuration.

The airplane will also include a reserve-hybrid configuration, consisting of two turbo generators powered by sustainable aviation fuel. The reserve-hybrid system is installed to secure reserve energy requirements without cannibalizing battery range, and it can also be used during cruise on longer flights to complement the electrical power provided by the batteries.

Note.

  1. The slightly larger Dash 8-100 aircraft seats just under forty and has 2.7 MW of installed power.
  2. Rolls-Royce have a 2.5 MW hybrid turbo generator that runs on sustainable aviation fuel.
  3. Honeywell have a similar smaller hybrid turbo generator, based on the auxiliary power unit of an Airbus A 350.

I’m sure that Heart can find the hybrid turbo-generators they need for the ES-30.

This paragraph of the press release gives details of the performance.

This gives the airplane a fully electric range of 200 kilometers, an extended range of 400 kilometers with 30 passengers, and flexibility to fly up to 800 kilometers with 25 passengers, all-inclusive of typical airline reserves.

Eight hundred kilometres is sufficient range to serve Bordeaux, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Inverness, Paris and Shannon airports from London City Airport.

The press release also discloses that the company has received 96 letters of intent for the aircraft and expects that the in-service date will be 2028.

I don’t think that the date is unreasonable.

 

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aerospace Electrified By New Technology

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

The article is a good summary of the state of zero-carbon aviation.

July 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

News Of The Day From Rolls-Royce

This press release from Rolls-Royce is entitled Rolls-Royce Advances Hybrid-Electric Flight With New Technology To Lead The Way In Advanced Air Mobility.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolls-Royce is officially announcing the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This paragraph outlines the use of the new small engine.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles. By developing turbogenerator technology, that will be scaled to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, we can open up new longer routes that our electric battery powered aircraft can also support.

There is also a video in the press release, which gives more information.

  • The turbogenerator is compatible to their electric power and propulsion offering.
  • The turbogenerator has a power of 500-1200 kW to serve different aircraft platforms.
  • The system is modular and can be tailored to different applications.
  • The turbogenerator can either power the aircraft directly or charge the batteries.
  • The system can be configured to provide primary power for other applications.
  • Rolls-Royce are designing all the components; the turbogenerator, the gas turbine, the generator, the power electronics, so they all fit together in a compact and lightweight solution.
  • Rolls-Royce intend to manufacture all components themselves and not rely on bought-in modules.
  • Every gram of weight saved is important.

I suspect that one of the keys to making this all work is a very comprehensive and clever control system.

I have a few thoughts.

Weight Is Key

Rolls-Royce emphasise weight saving in the video. Obviously, this is important with any form of flying machine.

An Example System

Let’s suppose you want an electric power system to power a railway locomotive or one of those large mining trucks.

  • The locomotive or truck has an electric transmission.
  • Power of 2 MW is needed.
  • A battery is needed.
  • Fuel will be Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) or hydrogen.

A series hybrid-electric power unit will be created from available modules, which could be very fuel efficient.

What Will Rolls-Royce’s System Be Able to Power?

Although the system is aimed at the next generation of electric flying machines, these systems will be used in any application that wants an efficient zero- or low-carbon power source.

Consider.

  • Some large trucks have diesel engines with a power of almost 500 kW.
  • A Class 68 bi-mode locomotive has a 700 kW diesel engine.
  • A Class 802 train has three 700 kW diesel engines.
  • Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU are a large supplier of diesel engines for rail, road and water.

It looks to me that Rolls-Royce have sized the system to hoover up applications and they have MTU’s experience to engineer the applications.

Class 43 Power Cars

The iconic Class 43 power cars running on UK railways are an interesting possibility for powering with Rolls-Royce’s new system.

  • Despite being over forty-years old, there are over a hundred and twenty still in service.
  • They were upgraded with new 1.7 MW MTU diesel engines in the early part of this century.
  • Rolls-Royce is based in Derby.
  • The Class 43 power cars were developed in Derby.
  • Hydrogen-powered Class 43 power cars, hauling GWR Castles or ScotRail Inter7Cities would be tourist attractions.
  • The Class 43 power cars need to be either decarbonised or replaced in the next few years.

Decarbonisation using Rolls-Royce’s new system would probably be more affordable.

This all sounds like a project designed in a pub in Derby, with large amounts of real ale involved.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.

Will The System Be Upgradable From Sustainable Aviation Fuel To Hydrogen?

This is an except from the introductory paragraph.

The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

This would appear that if used in aviation, it will be possible to upgrade the system from sustainable aviation fuel to hydrogen, when a suitable hydrogen supply becomes available.

But all applications could be upgraded.

A truck, like the one shown in the picture could be delivered as one running on sustainable aviation fuel and converted to hydrogen later.

Conclusion

Rolls-Royce have put together a modular system, that will have lots of applications.

 

 

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2.7M Tonnes Of Co2 Could Be Saved Per Year If UK Domestic Flights Went Electric

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Analysing over 100 domestic routes within the UK, researchers have uncovered some significant Co2 reductions upon the inevitable switch to electric.

It is an excellent summary of the state and potential of electric airliners in the UK.

The article gives this example of the sort of carbon savings, that can be achieved.

One of the shortest domestic flights in the United Kingdom, a 38-minute hop between Belfast International and the Isle of Man, uses around 36kg of carbon dioxide per passenger. In 2019, the route served approximately 20,000 passengers – with a switch to electric aviation, 752 tonnes of carbon dioxide could be cut on the 76-mile flight.

The article says this about one of the more developed electric aircraft; the ES-19 from Heart Aerospace.

One manufacturer, in particular, is seeing a significant surge in interest; Swedish electric aircraft startup, Heart Aviation. Currently holding letters of interest from United Airlines and Finnair, Heart’s 19-seat ES-19 is set to be the first all-electric regional aircraft, boasting a 400km range with a full-charge time of just 40 minutes. The first flight is planned for 2024, with an anticipated 2026 start date.

Airports within a 400 km range from London would include.

  • Anglesey
  • Blackpool
  • Exeter
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • Leeds/Bradford
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newquay
  • Norwich
  • Paris
  • Schipol

Dublin, Isle of Man and Newcastle are just over 400 km.

Note.

I also suspect that Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool would make excellent hubs for electric aircraft.

I used Free Map Tools to get the distances.

 

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Eviation Says Cape Air Will Take 75 Alice Aircraft

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

Orders in the Wikipedia entry for the Eviation Alice says this.

The first buyer for the Alice was Cape Air, a regional airline serving the Northeastern United States as well as the Caribbean. In August 2021, Deutsche Post announced that it had ordered 12 aircraft for use by DHL to transport cargo, with delivery planned from 2024. In April 2022, Eviation stated that Cape Air ordered 75 planes.

It does look like this innovative aircraft could be ready for more than just a first flight.

Applicability To The UK

I have a feeling, that we’ll see a lot of five-to-nine electric aircraft in the UK, as we have lots of islands and quite a lot of small airports.

The Alice has a range of around 500 miles, which is useful, but the take-off run of 800 metres could be a limitation on some islands.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to fly in an Alice.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Electrified Regional Air Mobility Will Be Disruptive & Mature Rapidly In Coming Years

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

It is very much a must-read article, where the author analyses technology and how it will affect regional aviation.

He comes to the conclusion, that electric aircraft will develop much quicker than autonomous systems and full digital air traffic control.

He feels that we’ll see rapid development of electric aircraft flying traditionally with a pilot in charge, who talks to air traffic controllers.

Effectively, this is the system that was in operation, when I used to fly my Cessna 340 all round the UK and Western Europe thirty years ago.

Adding in electric aircraft to this system, is very similar to adding a car with a certified alternative power source  to the traffic of the UK.

I think this means, that electric aircraft need to have a pilot on board to be certified, as any certification involving passenger will have to be as risk-free as possible.

The article mentions Electron Aviation. The author describes their operational model like this.

Electron Aviation, for example, sees that a 4-seater, one-pilot plane can become the workhorse of a regional short-haul leisure and business travel on-demand flight service in the second half of this decade, with planes coming to a small airport near customers, who are delivered by electric Ubers at either end. The economics work out with electric airplanes where they don’t with current internal combustion planes.

As Electron’s UK address is in Mildenhall in Suffolk, which is close to the UK horseracing centre of Newmarket, I know from my past experience that their model of four-seat air-taxis certainly works in the racing industry.

The specification for their aircraft looks impressive.

  • Very aerodynamic with a high aspect ratio wing.
  • Tricycle retractable undercarriage.
  • Twin-pusher propellers.
  • 186 mph cruise at 10,000 feet.
  • 466 mile range.
  • Low noise.
  • Zero emissions.

Looking at the visualisation on the home page of their web site, I suspect that the battery is at the centre of lift in the middle of the plane to give excellent flying characteristics.

I also think, that their concept is scalable and that a larger aircraft could be built to a similar layout.

Conclusion

I am happy to agree with the author’s conclusion, that electric aircraft will revolutionise regional aviation in a short space of time.

 

 

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Alice, The First All-Electric Passenger Airplane, Prepares To Fly

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

It looks like the first flight is just weeks away.

This paragraph describes the aircraft and compares it to a Boeing 737.

With battery technology similar to that of an electric car or a cell phone and 30 minutes of charging, the nine-passenger Alice will be able to fly for one hour, and about 440 nautical miles. The plane has a max cruise speed of 250 kts, or 287 miles per hour. For reference, a Boeing 737 has a max cruise speed of 588 miles per hour. The company, focused exclusively on electric air travel, hopes that electric planes that can fit 20 to 40 passengers will be a reality in seven to 10 years.

Fully electric flight on short routes is a lot closer than we think.

Note, that 440 nautical miles will give sufficient range from London to Amsterdam, Belfast, Cork, Frankfurt, Inverness and  Paris.

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

CEO: Alice Electric Commuter Airplane’s First Flight Days Away

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

The Eviation Alice prototype has certainly been spotted taxiing on the runway and the CEO has said it won’t be long before the first flight.

I have a feeling that this aircraft is going to be a winner.

  • It’s got a lightweight structure.
  • The aerodynamics look to be right.
  • It has received firm orders from quality companies, like Cape Air, DHL and United Airlines.
  • It would be the ideal corporate aircraft for the green billionaire who wants a toy!
  • It looks sexy like Concorde.

I also think that the range, performance and capacity could fit travel patterns well in the UK and Ireland.

Conclusion

I’m looking forward to my first flight.

January 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Spirit of Innovation’ Stakes Claim To Be The World’s Fastest All-Electric Vehicle

The title of this post is the same as that of this press release on the Rolls-Royce web site.

This is the first paragraph.

We believe our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, setting three new world records. We have submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation who control and certify world aeronautical and astronautical records – that at 15:45 (GMT) on 16 November 2021, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds, according to our data. We hope that the FAI will certify and officially confirm the achievements of the team in the near future.

Rolls-Royce also claim that the maximum speed achieved of 387.4 mph make it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.

To put that speed into perspective, it is faster than a Mark V Spitfire, which was powered by a legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. These aircraft were powered by a Merlin 45 engine that generated 1074kW.

By comparison the Spirit of Innovation has a maximum power of just 400 kW.

Why Do It?

This paragraph from the press release gives an explanation.

As well as a stunning technical achievement, the project and world record runs provided important data for our future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The characteristics that ‘air-taxis’ require from batteries, for instance, are very similar to what was developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation’.

I’ll go with that, as Rolls-Royce seem to be associated with several electric aviation projects.

But I can’t help feeling that there are parallels with the 1930s, when Supermarine and Rolls-Royce teamed up to produce the Supermarine S 6B, that won the Schneider Trophy outright in 1931. It is generally accepted that the knowledge gained at the time helped to design the Spitfire and the Merlin engine.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments