The Anonymous Widower

Magnix Revs Up Electric Motors For Harbour Air Seaplane Flight Tests In December

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Geek Wi8re.

The article explains a lot about the state of play in the electric aeroplane market, with two examples possibly starting commercial service in the next few years.

MagniX are the company, who build the electric motors and surely, efficient, lightweight motors are key to flying electric.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Virgin Reports Record Modal Shift From Planes To Trains

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

This paragraph sums up the shift from plane to train.

The operator said rail had a 29 per cent share of the traffic during the 12 months to July this year, and that annual passenger numbers on the route have now reached 700,000, compared with 244,000 ten years ago.

Virgin seem to say it’s all down to them, but various factors with flying are having an effect.

  • Airport delays due to drones and other operational problems.
  • In the case of Glasgow, the lack of a rail link to the airport, might encourage passengers to go the whole way by train.
  • Improved Railcard offerings.
  • Climate change awareness and guilt.
  • Ryanair’s problems.
  • Glaswegians taking long haul flights from Scotland and Manchester, rather than London.
  • Better awareness of rail travel.

I also wonder, if Scotland’s extensive electrification and large numbers of new trains has convinced a lot more Scots to travel by train.

I should also say, that my Scottish friends seem to be using trains rather than flying more often.

Conclusion

Let’s hope that when West Coast Rail take over on December 8th, 2019, the upward trend of market share continues, as it is surely better for the planet.

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Harbour Air Installs Electric Engine Into ‘Prototype’ Seaplane

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

It is as must-read as it gives the thoughts of engineers working on Harbour Air‘s project to create an electric seaplabe, by the conversion of a DHC-2 Beaver.

Will I see an electric aircraft in my lifetime?

If ten years ago, someone had asked me, if battery-powered trains would appear in my lifetime, I would have been sceptical.

But in the last four years, I have ridden in at least two battery powered trains and lived to tell the tale!

So I not only feel that I will see a news film of a small electric airliner carrying around a dozen passengers, but I suspect I’ll be able to fly in one in the UK.

Surely, the ultimate destination for an electric aircraft would be Barra Airport, where airliners land on a sandy tidal beach.

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

All Electric Plane Startup Eviation Aircraft Secures Orders For 150 Units

The title says it all on this article on Nocamels.

Feeder airlines seem to believe in Alice!

I do think, that this is one of the most exciting ideas in development.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Harbour Air Set To Become The First All-Electric Airline In The World

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

This sounds a tough call, but someone will do it, even if it happens sometime in the second half of the 21st Century.

This is taken from the Wikipedia entry for Harbour Air Seaplanes.

Today, Harbour Air refers to itself as the world’s largest all-seaplane airline and became North America’s first carbon neutral airline.

They have a fleet of forty seaplanes and Wikipedia doesn’t list any incidents.

Wikipedia also says this.

In March of 2019, Harbour Air announced a partnership with magniX to electrify the entire Harbour Air fleet. The two companies are planning to begin tests in late 2019; the first converted aircraft will be a DHC-2 Beaver.

Could this well-respected Canadian seaplane operator achieve its goal of an all-electric airline?

I feel that they will certainly achieve a successful test flight, although as countless aircraft have shown, time scales may not be as originally planned.

I’ll start with the DHC-2 Beaver, one of which will be converted to the prototype electric aircraft.

  • First flight of the design was on the 16th of August 1947, which as it was the day I was born, must be a good omen!
  • Over 1,600 were built during twenty years of production.
  • In the past they have been flown by various military and civil operators.

In the Wikipedia entry, under Operational History, this is a paragraph.

The original Wasp Jr radial engine of the Beaver is long out of production, so repair parts are getting harder to find. Some aircraft conversion stations have addressed this problem by replacing the piston engine with a turboprop engine such as the PT6. The added power and lighter installed weight, together with greater availability of kerosene fuel instead of high-octane aviation gasoline, make this a desirable modification, but at a high financial cost.

Consider.

  • Fitting of new engines  has been regularly done to aircraft to extend their operational lives or to increase performance or reliability.
  • So why not change the power unit for environmental reasons?
  • The MagniX electric motor chosen for the trial appears to offer a weight saving.

I believe that provided the mathematics and engineering are correct, that the Wasp Junior piston engine, which dates from 1929, could be replaced with a modern electric motor of the right power level.

How many extra passengers would be drawn to fly in a zero-carbon electric aircraft, which was powered by electricity from renewable sources?

November 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Qantas Completes Test Of Longest Non-Stop Passenger Flight

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Australian carrier Qantas has completed a test of the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight as part of research on how the journey could affect pilots, crew and passengers.

The Boeing 787-9 with 49 people on board took 19 hours and 16 minutes to fly from New York to Sydney, a 16,200-km (10,066-mile) route.

The article also says that they will be running a test flight between London and Sydney next month.

I can’t help thinking about a joke I first heard in the 1980s.

The United States Secret Service had got hold of a very long range Boeing 747SP and used to put the suspect in the plane and fly them around the world.

As they fed them standard airline food all the way, the suspect always cracked and they got the information they wanted.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Boeing Staff Texted About 737 Max Issue In 2016

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

What is in the texts is another reason not to trust the design of these airliners.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

Boeing Left Safety Features Off MAX Jet

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in today’s copy of The Times.

It appears Boeing had a similar problem to that on the Boeing 737 MAX, on the KC-36A Pegasus, so they fitted an MCAS system.

This paragraph in the Wikipedia entry gives full details.

On 22 March 2019, the USAF announced it was reviewing KC-46 training after the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, as the KC-46 uses a similar Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to that implicated in two 737 MAX crashes. However, the KC-46 is based on the Boeing 767-2C and its system takes input from dual redundant angle of attack sensors; it will disengage with stick input by the pilot. The Air Force stated that “The KC-46 has protections that ensure pilot manual inputs have override priority” and that it “does not fly the models of aircraft involved in the recent accidents” and that it is “reviewing our procedures and training as part of our normal and ongoing review process.

Note that there are dual redundant angle of attack sensors and the pilot takes control from the MCAS system, in the traditional manner.

These two features are not fitted on a 737 MAX.

Was the cost too great to maintain sales?

October 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

KLM Replaces Plane With High Speed Train

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to replace one of its five daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol with reserved seat capacity on a Thalys high speed train service from March 29 2020.

KLM say this the start of a process and will be extended provided the timings are as good.

But how do train and plane compare between Schipol and Brussels?

To give the trip a bit of perspective, note these approximate road distances.

  • Heathrow and Liverpool – 210 km.
  • Heathrow and Manchester – 197 km.
  • Schipol and Brussels – 206 km.

Incidentally, you can’t fly direct between Heathrow and Liverpool and there are only four flights per day between Heathrow and Manchester.

I looked up flights between Schipol and Brussels and the flight time is 45-50 minutes, as opposed to the ytain time of one hour thirty-four minutes.

Prices vary, but I suspect that the train is a little bit cheaper, although it probably depends on how early you book.

I think it’s true to say,you take the mode of travel that suits you best!

I have gone to Amsterdam by train three or four times.

  • I go from St. Pancras to Amsterdam Centraal.
  • St. Pancras is just a direct bus ride from my house.
  • I get a gluten-free meal on Euirostar.
  • I get a big table on which to lay out my pper.
  • I could do it cheaper on easyJet, but it wuld take a bit longer.

But I’ve never come back from Amsterdam t London by train.

  • You have to change trains to clear immigration and customs in Brussels.
  • A couple of times, I’ve flown back from Hamburg.

I can honestly say, that the as more direct trains go to and from Europe, I’ll use them more often.

The Future

Over the next few years, we could see a lot of short haul air routes losing market share to high speed trains.

  • Train companies will see a busy air route and run a competing train service.
  • Many tourists prefer to travel around Europe by train and I’ve met many from North America, Australia and the Far East on train journeys.
  • Global warming will sell seats on trains and especially electric ones.
  • Routes like High Speed Two will add lots of extra capacity.
  • Trains are an easy sell.
  • Governments will invest in railways and perhaps cut prices, as it is an easy way to to be seen to be combating climate change.

We also mustn’t forget that driving cars is getting an increasingly expensive and time-wasting process. I don’t miss driving at all!

 

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Zero-Emission Hydrogen Is The Best Way To Power the Cars of Future

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

This is the sub-title.

Hydrogen can provide longer range, faster refueling times and zero emissions

If you believe hydrogen is the fuel of the future and always will be, then read the report.

It even talks about a hydrogen powered rotorcraft from Alaka’i Technologies.

Looks good technology, but I don’t like the name!

But it can carry five passengers or a thousand pound payload for four hundred miles!

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments