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Dan Thomas

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....and when the cost of replacement batteries is shown to be equal to or less then the cost of 100ll over the same number of hours flown (including the price of an environmentally sound battery disposal method), and when battery technology allows them to produce the same amount of power cold, as when they are hot. I reserve the right to add to this list, as I think on it more.
And when they don't catch fire for no good reason, or explode when they hit water, or...

Some interesting reading: https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion

They say that IC car fires are more common than EV fires, but they don't break down the causes of the IC fires. There have been plenty of GM ignition switch-caused fires, and I suspect there are other electrical factors in many more. Gasolione fires are rare except in crashes, I would think, just like airplanes. If airplanes are well-maintained, fuel and electrical fires are also rare.
 

BoKu

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...Once that happens it will be immediately clear to us all when the time has come for a real commercially viable eplane. Right now we are not even close...
Most likely that moment will come not so much because of the increasing utility of electric airplanes, but because of the decreasing practical utility of combustion power. When you plot initial engine and maintenance costs, you see they outstrip inflation by a fair margin. Also, the inherent mechanical simplicity of electric motors will make them increasingly attractive in a world that always becomes more risk-averse. And in an increasingly populated world, the noise and lead-tainted exhaust of combustion power will be less and less tolerated as socialized expenses.
 

tspear

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I am all for electric airplanes... when they are competitively priced to similarly equiped piston powered aircraft, when there is a large number of trained A&Ps who can diagnose and service them all over the country, when the battery capacity is equal to an equivalent weight of 100ll, when there is 20 years of maintenance data that shows they require the same or less maintenance then a typical piston airplane, and when the cost of replacement batteries is shown to be equal to or less then the cost of 100ll over the same number of hours flown (including the price of an environmentally sound battery disposal method), and when battery technology allows them to produce the same amount of power cold, as when they are hot. I reserve the right to add to this list, as I think on it more.

Right now none of that is even close to possible, and cobbling existing technology together, and cramming into an airplane that will never be certified, is NOT A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, or innovative, or pioneering, or a sign that we are getting close to truly viable eplane. Its a curiosity, a cool pet project, a vanity project for the wealthy, a publicity stunt, or a scam to solicit investment.

The real "steps in the right direction" are occurring at universities, in labs, and at engineering firms all over the world as new battery and engine tech is being developed. Once that happens it will be immediately clear to us all when the time has come for a real commercially viable eplane. Right now we are not even close. Right now we are here:
Your requirements such as 20 year history are in direct conflict with your later statements.
Also, consider the Pipestrel and many others the early adopter tax. In the good old USA, the government has abandoned the vast majority of the research and initial development you suggest should be done at Universities and labs. The result, is this is now funded by the private industry, which has to sell dreams to make it happen.

Tim
 

Vigilant1

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And in an increasingly populated world, the noise and lead-tainted exhaust of combustion power will be less and less tolerated as socialized expenses.
In theory, explicitly pricing those negative externalities so they are paid by the responsible party would be a great way to address these issues. Unfortunately, in practice, the fantasticly complex administration of that scheme (to include use of the collected funds to address the "tagged" socialized harm) is entirely impractical. Even the simple (in concept) carbon taxes/credit market have turned into punitive exercises and a degraded morass of rent-seeking.
 

BoKu

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In theory, explicitly pricing those negative externalities so they are paid by the responsible party would be a great way to address these issues. Unfortunately, in practice, the fantasticly complex administration of that scheme (to include use of the collected funds to address the "tagged" socialized harm) is entirely impractical...
Just so. Recent studies have shown quite conclusively that, especially for children, there is no safe exposure level for lead, and that lead exposure is closely linked to reduced IQ. I believe that studies have also shown that lead exposure is disproportionately linked to geographic locations where tetraethyl lead is compounded and blended into gasoline products. In practice, it would be very difficult to administer a program that compensates individuals and their families for the harm such exposure inflicts. In practice, the only fair thing, and I think we'll see this in just the next few years, is the outright ban of the use of tetraethyl lead in commercially-available motor fuels.

In the past, regulators have justified the exemption of avgas from EPA regulations on the basis that the overall harm was miniscule, evenly distributed, and was outweighed by the social and economic benefits of the aviation it facilitates. These days, with most commercial aviation turbine powered, that is a really hard sell.
 

ToddK

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Just so. Recent studies have shown quite conclusively that, especially for children, there is no safe exposure level for lead, and that lead exposure is closely linked to reduced IQ. I believe that studies have also shown that lead exposure is disproportionately linked to geographic locations where tetraethyl lead is compounded and blended into gasoline products. In practice, it would be very difficult to administer a program that compensates individuals and their families for the harm such exposure inflicts. In practice, the only fair thing, and I think we'll see this in just the next few years, is the outright ban of the use of tetraethyl lead in commercially-available motor fuels.

In the past, regulators have justified the exemption of avgas from EPA regulations on the basis that the overall harm was miniscule, evenly distributed, and was outweighed by the social and economic benefits of the aviation it facilitates. These days, with most commercial aviation turbine powered, that is a really hard sell.
Not when every pilot burning Jet A got their wings burning 100ll. I think it’s a safe bet that a lead free 100ll replacement will happen long before electric is commercially viable, or flying in any significant numbers.
 

bmcj

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They say that IC car fires are more common than EV fires, but they don't break down the causes of the IC fires.
Typically, I would suspect that most of the IC fires occur because of improper maintenance (bad hoses, chafed power cables, etc). EV’s can have chafed wires or physically damaged cells that start fires too, so I consider those two even with each other. The one thing that worries me is the spontaneous eruptions from undamaged cells (like the Samsung phone’s had) that are, just guessing, due to improper charging patterns or improper regulation of demand. Are either of those factors identifiable by inspection?
 

BoKu

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...got their wings...
No argument, that was how it was. Causality and correlation being what they are, it doesn't guarantee how it's going to be.

Edit add: I left out the important bit: We use tetraethyl lead as an octane rating booster not because it's the best thing, but rather because it is the most cost-effective (in the absence of the externalized liabilities, of course). The lead-free high-octane fuels under development are all much more expensive than what we have now. That's not going to help the curve any.
 
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Hephaestus

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Not when every pilot burning Jet A got their wings burning 100ll. I think it’s a safe bet that a lead free 100ll replacement will happen long before electric is commercially viable, or flying in any significant numbers.
I think we're just on that cusp... I really wanted to suggest in the weedhopper thread maybe he should go electric.

The electric motor knowledge is there. The ESC stability is getting there in recent years. Really we're in that spot where graphene batteries need to come online for the next step (and next year's cellphones will start seeing some)

So really we are under 10years - but like that first decade of aviation - prior to WW1 there's a lot to learn. At least now we've got the aero a little better understood so it's not developing 2 technologies at once... Just need to sort out the power plant (and build it to suit)
 

BBerson

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Batteries are not the only solution to avoid carbon dioxide emissions, directly or indirectly.
Synthetic fuels can be recycled with net zero emission. Either way, will need industrial scale energy source and the "green" movement is preventing that.
 

Hephaestus

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No but that's outside our power to control...

We do have the power to guide some of the development. I'd love to see a modern grassroots limpne trials startup. That's something that is in our power. All it takes is someone presenting it to the right group/individual, and some uptake by others.

I got my first intro to graphene today some 6S Yowoo 5000mah packs. I'm impressed already... Supposed to be more than double the life of a LiPo...
 

pictsidhe

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Typically, I would suspect that most of the IC fires occur because of improper maintenance (bad hoses, chafed power cables, etc). EV’s can have chafed wires or physically damaged cells that start fires too, so I consider those two even with each other. The one thing that worries me is the spontaneous eruptions from undamaged cells (like the Samsung phone’s had) that are, just guessing, due to improper charging patterns or improper regulation of demand. Are either of those factors identifiable by inspection?
I believe that the samsung batteries were internally faulty, they had manufacturing damage.
 

pictsidhe

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One of the biggest difficulties to replacing lead is not it's octane boost, but the lubricant effect. it allowed engines to run with much softer seats than unleaded does. that was why it took off in a big way, the cars of the time lasted a lot longer running 'ethyl'. With so many ancient engines still flying, forcing many of them to have their valves and seats upgraded is a large consideration in still leading gas. 100LL had it's lead pruned to the minimum to lubricate the old engines. People should think hard about getting their top end upgraded to lead-free valves and seats when doing an overhaul now, 100LF will happen at some point.

Personally, I think that electric should be cut a break while in development. It is the future, but like anything, it needs experience and work to become viable. That can't happen unless it is allowed to be developed in actual use. Having a few electric planes here and there is the first step.
 

BJC

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... Personally, I think that electric should be cut a break while in development. It is the future, but like anything, it needs experience and work to become viable. That can't happen unless it is allowed to be developed in actual use. Having a few electric planes here and there is the first step.
The Experimental category currently provides plenty of opportunity to develop electric airplanes.

I anticipate that the changes to E-AB and SLSA that currently are under consideration will address the several issues that currently constrain commercial SLSA use.


BJC
 

Vigilant1

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When mobile phones were introduced to the market, they were heavy, expensive, and had limited capabilities. Who bought them? People for whom they, despite their shortcomings, still represented a good value. If a real estate agent sold one extra house every year because he carried that brick around, the high cost was worth it. Some folks bought them as status symbols, or for other reasons. 99% of phone users did not adopt them because they were not a good value. These early electric planes are in the same league. They may have value in some applications. Buying them to use at a flight school in the US is inappropriate, and won't do anything but highlight their shortcomings. And buying them with other people's money with the claim that they are cheaper to operate is much worse. In my opinion...
 

pictsidhe

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When mobile phones were introduced to the market, they were heavy, expensive, and had limited capabilities. Who bought them? People for whom they, despite their shortcomings, still represented a good value. If a real estate agent sold one extra house every year because he carried that brick around, the high cost was worth it. Some folks bought them as status symbols, or for other reasons. 99% of phone users did not adopt them because they were not a good value. These early electric planes are in the same league. They may have value in some applications. Buying them to use at a flight school in the US is inappropriate, and won't do anything but highlight their shortcomings. And buying them with other people's money with the claim that they are cheaper to operate is much worse. In my opinion...
I can see them being quite useful for the usually fairly short flight lessons. What are they, 45 minutes? Electric is currently only good for short flights, but the cost of each flight will be fairly low.
If the student doesn't want to pay to learn in an electric plane, he can currently choose to go to ANY other flight school. Possibly at the same airport. If the market isn't there or the business plan is not viable, the project will fail. If this one tanks in a few months, electric schools are hardly likely to be springing up everywhere... I'd bet that it is viable, though.
 

ToddK

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I can see them being quite useful for the usually fairly short flight lessons. What are they, 45 minutes? Electric is currently only good for short flights, but the cost of each flight will be fairly low.
If the student doesn't want to pay to learn in an electric plane, he can currently choose to go to ANY other flight school. Possibly at the same airport. If the market isn't there or the business plan is not viable, the project will fail. If this one tanks in a few months, electric schools are hardly likely to be springing up everywhere... I'd bet that it is viable, though.
I will say this, when you are setting on the taxi way waiting to take off in the flight school eplane, behind 2 Cherokees, a 172, and a Duchess, while some student from ATP is on long final 5 knots above stall, being able to turn the airplane off and the on instantly while waiting (along with the hour meter), could save students some serious cash.

Now 45 min of flight time? Useless. Most schools take at least 10-20 min to get out to the practice area. A solid 3.5 hrs of flight time should be the minimum. Its still going to be a hard sell against a clean used 172 that is a quarter of the price.
 

Vigilant1

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Electric is currently only good for short flights, but the cost of each flight will be fairly low.
Can you explain that a little more? The amortized battery replacement costs under the most optimistic conditions provided by the manufacturer are $31 per hour. This is higher than the per hour fuel cost and engine reserve costs of a similar plane powered by a 912.
The direct hourly costs for electric won't be lower, even if electricity is free (and it ain't).

Moreover, the "overhead" costs, which need to be spread across the hours actually flown, are much higher for the electric planes. Insurance costs are much higher ($6500 vs $3600 per plane, annually). And the capital tied up in the electric airplanes is much higher.

If this one tanks in a few months, electric schools are hardly likely to be springing up everywhere.
They'll be springing up just like now--in the rare spot where they can use green marketing to overcome objective analysis.
 
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Dan Thomas

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One of the biggest difficulties to replacing lead is not it's octane boost, but the lubricant effect. it allowed engines to run with much softer seats than unleaded does. that was why it took off in a big way, the cars of the time lasted a lot longer running 'ethyl'. With so many ancient engines still flying, forcing many of them to have their valves and seats upgraded is a large consideration in still leading gas. 100LL had it's lead pruned to the minimum to lubricate the old engines. People should think hard about getting their top end upgraded to lead-free valves and seats when doing an overhaul now, 100LF will happen at some point.

Personally, I think that electric should be cut a break while in development. It is the future, but like anything, it needs experience and work to become viable. That can't happen unless it is allowed to be developed in actual use. Having a few electric planes here and there is the first step.
There are a lot of old engines running nicely enough on unleaded Mogas. They seem to get by without the lead well enough. And the plugs don't foul nearly as quickly. The 100LL is still necessary for the higher-compression engines since AFAIK there is no 100-octane mogas yet. Those engines have a higher detonation risk and only the lead helps prevent that. TEL controls the burn rate and resists the autoignition that we know as detonation.

Old cars lasted a long time using the leaded fuels because detonation ("pinging," we called it) could really bust an engine up. Cracked pistons, heads, broken rings, lots of damage. Yes, the lead helped the old valve seats and guides last longer, but that metallurgy has come a long way since then, even in aircraft engines. Lycoming changed their valve guide material to a high-chrome-content bronze 20 years ago already.
 

BBerson

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I will say this, when you are setting on the taxi way waiting to take off in the flight school eplane, behind 2 Cherokees, a 172, and a Duchess, while some student from ATP is on long final 5 knots above stall, being able to turn the airplane off and the on instantly while waiting (along with the hour meter), could save students some serious cash.

Now 45 min of flight time? Useless. Most schools take at least 10-20 min to get out to the practice area. A solid 3.5 hrs of flight time should be the minimum. Its still going to be a hard sell against a clean used 172 that is a quarter of the price.
I got tired of flight school "milking". They started billing for ground instructor time while watching me do the helicopter preflight.
45 years ago, I had a deal with a private owner to fly his C-152 by "tach time". Seemed to work well.
 
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