Fully Charged Visits Electroflight Which Dreams About Electrifying Aviation

JUL 18 2016 BY MARK KANE 19

Electric aircrafts are a few steps behind electric cars (well, more than a few really), but slowly more and more projects are appearing on the scene.

The Electroflight sport race plane Electric Lightning P1 E (code name: TEACO-BAT)

The Electroflight sport race plane Electric Lightning P1 E (code name: TEACO-BAT)

One of the most interesting is Electroflight’s Electric Lightning P1 E in UK, which as seems obligatory, has now been featured by Fully Charged.

“This remarkable project is still in it’s early stages but is clearly something we’ll be following on Fully Charged.
A fully electric 300+mph racing plane,”

The Electric Lightning P1 E is to be an all-electric, double motor aircraft with some 225 kW of power, which should revolutionize aerobatic acrobatics…when its built.

“Propulsion System

The propulsion system is a wholly new generation of an electric contra-rotating unit. The high torque of the electric motors allows the propeller shafts to be directly driven without gearing or other speed reduction devices and achieves simplicity unknown in non-electric forms of contra-rotating propeller propulsion. Except for the shaft bearings, the motor rotors, propeller shafts and propellers form the only two rotating assemblies in the system.

This allows for almost maintenance free operation for the life of the system. A unique feature of electric propulsion is the ability to apply full power almost instantly with no spool up or inertial lag time found in piston or turbine types. The system’s thrust to take-off weight ratio is greater than one and allows the aircraft to accelerate vertically (vertical take-off) and to operate at extreme altitudes far above oxygen dependant engines in unpiloted conditions.”

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19 Comments on "Fully Charged Visits Electroflight Which Dreams About Electrifying Aviation"

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This aircraft might have the benefits of zero torque roll, making vertical take-off fro zero airspeed possible, but the aircraft in that Photo, does not have said starting position! More particular for a plane like this, would be outrageous ‘Vertical Penetration’, meaning, once it takes if, it could pitch up to the vertical and continue flying, and even accelerate while climbing straight up! Until the batteries run out of power, anyway!

Because of instantly available full power and torque, it would need just a couple of feet’s to put the nose straight up an go.
And if enough propelled airflow is directed at the wing and control surface, it could lift off while the plane is horizontal without much movement with locking brake.
The blast would just tear the plane off the ground.
It would require some really good pilot skill thought.
Wonderful time Is coming!

Isle of Man TT, Pikes Peak and now Red Bull Air Racing. What’s next for electric drive?

Foreshadowing the next great thing in Electric Aviation – http://www.flyingmag.com/extra-unveils-electric-330le

350 Peak HP, two of them used in light to medium Twin Engined Aircraft, replacing the current 260-375 HP, 6-Cylinder Continental and Lycoming Aircraft Piston Engines!

Siamese Twin versions of this motor could be rated at 700 HP, Peak, and 2 of them could be used in light Turboprop Aircraft- Single Engine and Multi-Engine!

Sure, Batteries still might not get you 4-6 Hours Run Time, but if you get 1-2 Hours on Batteries alone, I can see PHEV Aircraft coming in this Decade!

Ability to operate, while others are on noise abatement curfew, and excellent power at altitude are some benefits, and the fueled generation portion, could be Turbine, Wankel, or other form, driving the Generators!

It all makes perfect sense, amazing technology with a huge Potential !

The Aviation Wing Of The Surging Global Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry- A full Size Engineering Model. Very cool, however, Robert Llewllyn and Fully Charged filmed as the Airbus Group E-Fan Double Seater all electric Aircraft claim EV Aviations first crossing of the English Channel in 2015. Link Goes To Fully Charged You Tube- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJKYekL7JsY Airbus Gobal has sights on 100 passenger regional flights as the technolgy improves. Link Goes To Early E-Fan Testing And Airbus Global Future Tech Reveal- See The 2:40 Mark- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6djdWBedhI Further, in an article on this portal one year ago out Mark Kane writes, “E-Fan Electric Airplane Will Go On Sale In Late 2017” Link Goes To Inside Evs- http://insideevs.com/e-fan-electric-airplane-will-go-sale-late-2017/ Not to be outdone, Siemens has joined with Airbus Global producing a flying single seater aircraft with, “~new type of electric motor that delivers a continuous output of about 260 kW and weighs 50 kg.” Link Goes To Charged EV’s Article By Charles Morris, 07.13.2016- https://chargedevs.com/newswire/siemens-260-kw-electric-aircraft-motor-makes-first-public-flight/ Finally, it must be noted that the Solar Impulse team is one flight away from the finishing of the Epic #Si2 Round-The-World Tour without a drop of fuel in a Solar Plane with the wingspan greater then a 747. Link… Read more »

The great things about all this development are the increasing efforts in developing electric motors, and power recovery/usage and storage. Exciting times indeed.

Advantage in that it is easier to add a second motor than to gear a single motor for counterrotation.

However, it is going to be more efficient to double the power on a single motor than to add a second one and second prop. This is more of a gimmic than a real concept, just as counterrotation has been for normal ICE airplanes.

Counterrotation should also increase top speed. Instead of one large diameter plan you you have two smaller diameter plans, which means a lower tip speed for a same thrust. Therefore the speed can be pushed further before approaching the speed of sound at the tip, in turn this provide higher thrust and as a consequence higher speeds. More plans will further increase top speed but the first doubling gives the biggest effect.

In Aerobatics, various Maneuvers require Hard Left Handed Rotations of the Aircraft about the Center-line, followed by Hard Right Rotations. There is also the issue with the Spiraling Airflow from a Single Propeller System, and how it interacts with the Fuselage, Fin and Rudder, which the Contra-Rotating Prop System Cancels out! See: “Contra-rotating propellers” – http://broom02.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Contra-rotating%20propellers&item_type=topic Per the Article – Edited for this aspect of using two motors: “Aircraft equipped with contra-rotating propellers, also referred to as CRP,[1] coaxial contra-rotating propellers, or high-speed propellers, apply the maximum power [of usually a single piston or turboprop engine] to drive two coaxial propellers in contra-rotation (rotation about the same axis in opposite directions). Two propellers are arranged one behind the other, ” Further, on Aircraft like a Conventional Twin Engine )on the Wing) Design – “Contra-rotating propellers should not be confused with counter-rotating propellers—airscrews on separate shafts turning in opposite directions.” Primary Advantages and Disadvantages are Greater Efficiency, at a cost of increased noise: “The torque on the aircraft from a pair of contra-rotating propellers effectively cancels out. Contra-rotating propellers have been found to be between 6% and 16% more efficient than normal propellers. However they can be very noisy” I am… Read more »

“and to operate at extreme altitudes far above oxygen dependant engines”

That’s the finger on something really interesting!

Proof even the Falcon 9 can be at least hybridized.
Even if delta v would be negligible, the reduction of q max would be enormous.

I Wonder who will be the first to build an Electric Plane, that is capable of doing what the High Flying U-2 Spy Plane did?

It could get up to over 60,000 Feet above Sea Level, I think I remember hearing or reading it could reach 70,000 Feet up!

Then the next issue was flight time, but it was also only high Sub-Sonic, in the 500-600 MPH tops range, and that was why it could be, and was shot down by missile!

If you want to go higher than a U2 plane you must replace the tubojet with an electrojet. It will be able to keep flying when Oxygen is to low for combustion and in the same time it will be able to impart a higher exhaust temperature to the flow passing through the engine which will result in higher thrust and speed.
For now, since battery power is limited, it would be good to go the hybrid way. Using a turbojet as a base but adding electric torque on the compressor shaft, creating a turbine by-pass and ending with an arcjet heating on the exhaust.
The electric arcjet will create a stronger IR signature but so high in altitude that it will be out of reach of most missiles.
Adding some stealt should complete the craft.

Last time I looked, electric airplanes were mostly sailplanes with a relatively small electric motor, possibly just an auxiliary motor, and a flight time usually 90 minutes or less; 120 minutes maximum, with a relatively low flight speed, maybe 125 MPH. Now, possibly things have improved recently, with improving battery density. But I think we’re still a very long way from a plane which can operate at high subsonic speed for hours, which is what would be necessary to match the performance of the U2. However, I question that should currently be the goal. The U2 was an example of extreme engineering to achieve very high flying altitude an extended flight time; a very long range. I think a far more realistic goal would be the electric plane equivalent of a Piper Cub; a plane suitable for most general aviation (small private planes) operations. Manufacturing that sort of plane with a TCO (Total Cost of Operation) is a worthy goal, and would be a significant milestone toward eliminating the burning of fossil fuels for transportation. Small prop-driven planes like a Piper Cub operate at a comparatively low speed, unlike the U2. Again, that would be a goal much easier to… Read more »
Actually – I am fairly much in agreement with your “I think a far more realistic goal would be the electric plane equivalent of a Piper Cub” – and we might be able to get a Piper Cub in Electric Mode (due to it’s lower speed and lower power needs) to actually take us out to the 3.5 Hour minimum (Cessna 150), or even out to a typical 4.5 hours of run time (Cessna 172 typical)! Off the top of my head, an original J-3 Cub, of which today there are numerous Experimental Category and Kit Built Designs that this could be applied to – used just 65 Hp, and http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/power/hp-to-kw.htm says that is equal to just 48.47 kW! since Most Aircraft are Max Power Limited to about 5 minutes at 100%, and climb power (about 80%) to something more like 20 minutes to maybe 30 Minutes, with cruise power nominal at 65% – 75% – , with Descent Power at maybe 45% – 60%, we can determine just how much battery energy a 3.5 Hour flight might need, in kWh! Taxi @ 20% x 10 Minutes = 1.62 kWh Takeoff @ 100% x 5 Minutes = 4.04 kWh Climb… Read more »

Interesting…. I know Fully Charged is not a technical program, and seems to be more about the giddyness of Robert L. more than anything else, but I would have appreciated more discussion on the tradeoffs between spacing on the twin props – I’d assume its an interprop turbulence issue mainly..

Of course the ‘high torque’ of electric motors (which is nearly overblown in discussions) – really here boils down to quicker startup times – pretty low inertia of the prop (omega squared R specifically), and since the horsepower required is proportional to the cube of the speed (although I plead a bit of ignorance if that has to be modified with the cascade arrangement here), high torque isn’t really required since the horsepower requirement is pretty nill until it gets to speed.

The advantange here is really quick AVAILABILITY of the power – less ‘warm up’ if you will.

But it is nice to see some mature design going into these things – even with the too easily impressed Robert L’s over the top performance. But then, that is part of the allure of his videos.

Another Advantage available in Electric Powered Aircraft – is Electric Taxiing – so fewer propeller accident potential, as well as less wasted energy during taxi, since direct drive of wheels to pavement – has no loss of efficiency compared to the slipstream of a propeller, and electric taxi could also assist with take-off! – “An interesting concept of the E-Fan is the use of an additional rear-wheel drive that allows the airplane to taxi without using the main engines and to accelerate up to 38MPH during takeoff.” – http://www.cockpitchatter.com/tag/siemens/

Not all designs will use this idea, but it is a beneficial one – http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/meet-airbus-e-fan

Building on the Starting Point of Electric Motor-Gliders, as batteries get better, copies of basic motor gliders could be built, but with clipped wing designs, for comparison to full long wing designs, for testing, handling, speed, and range comparisons!

I am curious about using this idea of Contra-Rotating Propellers, in multiple wing mounted propulsion points, with Smaller Props, and using larger example from the current Model Aircraft World, and a Contra-Rotating Propeller mod from NASA’s Multi-Motor Wings idea, where they could be both mounted on the Wing, and the Horizontal Stabilizer!

Alternatively – could such multi-point thrust arrangement lead to better Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) performance? Could it be combined with core Fuselage mounted larger props for primary thrust, using the wing mounted systems for better lift and flight dynamics control, as well as extra thrust for Take-Off?