Looking for a loop hole

Discussion in 'The light stuff area' started by RonL, Jan 17, 2007.

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  1. May 8, 2018 #41

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

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    I need some education on the creation of Part 103. What law required the FAA to create Part 103? Where is the intent of the law defined?

    Thanks.


    BJC
     
  2. May 8, 2018 #42

    Dana

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    No, the act of congress created the FAA. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 that created the FAA gives the FAA authority to promulgate (I think that's the word they use) regulations. Part 103, like any other part, is purely a creation of the FAA, congress was not involved. Any proposed regulation is published in the Federal Register, after a comment period after which the FAA may or may not make changes, it's published again and becomes law.

    One could argue that only the electrons are fuel, the battery is just the structure required to contain them.

    I agree that the FAA's interpretation of the battery thing is dumb, but I'm also in the camp that says, "don't let the FAA even think of messing with 103."
     
  3. May 8, 2018 #43

    blane.c

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    Battery energy density is the problem not the rules. If I was going to ask the FAA for anything it certainly would not be a litigation battle. I would ask them for a waver or such like they give for ballistic chutes and floats. Ask for a weight increase for electric powered, you are far more likely to get permission than to win a lawsuit. A well worded and reasoned argument based on less noise pollution and reduced carbon footprint may gain permission for electric powered ultralights to have a weight increase, and would be and addendum to the current rules not a change in there interpretation.
     
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  4. May 8, 2018 #44

    ARP

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    Dana:- "One could argue that only the electrons are fuel, the battery is just the structure required to contain them."

    So the battery structure is part of the aircraft empty weight as would the fuel tank be on a conventional part 103 aircraft.

    Development of 'safe' lithium-ion batteries using solid-polymers are likely to be available in the near future. https://tlo.mit.edu/technologies/solid-polymer-electrolyte-lithium-ion-battery

    The solid electrolyte is flame retardant and a demonstration video showed it could be cut or stabbed through without causing a fire or even shorting out the power.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  5. May 8, 2018 #45

    spaschke

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    there is a way to make liquid batteries lighter. Probably not practical, but a solution.
    Put a drain on them. The fuel is actually the acid in a lead acid battery. drain the electrolyte and they will weigh less. This is also a quick charge method. You can have bottles of "charged" electrolyte, and spent electrolyte. There are other battery chemistries you could do this with also.
    This had been discussed many years ago on the ev-list.

    Steve Paschke
     
  6. May 8, 2018 #46

    REVAN

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    I always reserve the right to be mistaken. That said, this is how I understand things happened.


    Ultralights started in the late '50s to early '60s with the bamboo bombers, man carrying kites made from bamboo and painter's plastic tarps. They'd fly for the weekend on dune hills and on Sunday they would be broken down, the tarps discarded and the bamboo recycled back into service as painters scaffolding. Come the next weekend, a new set of tarps would be ready for another weekend of fun. These were illegal aircraft per the definition of the FAA at that time. The FAA is at airports, not at the dunes, and so people got away with it, and the FAA didn't really care to deal with the situation. They were busy with more important matters such as the evolving jets in airline service.


    Over time, these illegal weekend kites evolved to me more permanent devices. People started adding engines to them, and still the FAA didn't care. They said that since the ultralights didn't have any wheels, they were not aircraft. Then people started adding wheels. For a long time, the FAA just looked the other way on the hole issue. I can still remember seeing the ultralights at Oshkosh '78. There were a lot of them there and flying. They had no N numbers and were not legal, but folks did it anyway.


    It got popular enough that the FAA eventually put a couple guys on the job to figure out what to do about these illegal flying machines. They came up with Part 103, which determined that an ultralight is not an aircraft and not subject to the regulations for aircraft. They defined the aerial vehicle that is our definition of an ultralight today. Part 103 was proposed as new legislation, Congress voted and passed the legislation, and it was made law in 1982. Ultralights operated illegally for over 20 years with the FAA looking the other way, not wanting to be bothered with them. In 1982, they became legal aerial vehicles.


    Congress is unlikely to support any legislation that is not supported by the FAA, but they are the entity that creates federal law.


    New aviation laws usually happen like this: Due to some changing or emerging need, the FAA proposes new legislation to deal with the situation (although technically anyone can propose new legislation). EAA, AOPA, etc... and individuals who write their congressman support or reject it. If there is enough support, Congress votes and passes the proposed legislation into law.


    That's the history as I understand it.


    Again, I don't want to change part 103. But, I think it is a ridiculous assertion, on part of the FAA, that only the electrons are the fuel. When filling a 5 gallon container with gasoline, it being filled with many more protons and neutrons combined than it is being filled with electrons, which are the only part of the fuel that react through the electromagnetic force to release energy. The protons and neutrons are just the "structure" that support the electrons. To change this physical interpretation of matter and energy for a battery is nonsensical. It is a radically absurde interpretation that will not stand up to the scrutiny of a judge, IMO. By the way, it is the job of the judiciary to interpret the law, not the executive branch (FAA). However, the judicial branch of government cannot rule on the interpretation until someone takes it to the court for a decision to be made. Until then, it hangs in limbo. The FAA has their interpretation, and I have mine. I think I'm right and they are flat-out wrong.
     
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  7. May 8, 2018 #47

    Derswede

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    That will only work with a liquid electrolytic battery. Almost all the current tech are Lithium based, with no liquid component. Interesting idea, but won't work with the current high cap batteries. Also, the new LI-FE batteries are extremely light. I have two, neither weighs more than 2 lbs, but I can start a car with one. Ran one this past weekend for an amateur radio (portable) and it barely dropped during operation. I also have a small solar panel (15V, 250 MaH in max sun) which will keep it charged. As battery tech improves, as well as recharge tech, we may soon see a reasonable battery pack for an ultralight.

    Derswede
     
  8. May 8, 2018 #48

    BJC

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    Part 103 is a regulation. Almost no regulations - but not all - are drafted as a proposal by the regulatory agency, often with input from interested parties, published for comments, discussed with stakeholders and interested parties, re-issued as revised and eventually issued as a new regulation. The rationale frequently is included. Regulatory agencies have been given that authority by our elected representatives, senators, and president. (I have been neck deep in that process at both the state and federal government levels. It is akin to trying to get the kid who owns the baseball to accept your rules for the game.)
    Technical point, but everyone here is appreciative of technical nuance. Regulations are rules that implement laws, but are not themselves law.

    Congress did pass a law, over the objection of the the FAA’s parent organization, the Department of Transportation, that required the FAA to establish the Basic Medical rule.

    That is a common situation with state and federal regulations, but it is costly to resolve, takes a long time, and may have nothing to do with who is right or wrong. The outcome may depend solely on whether or not the agency has the legal authority for issuing the rule, and whether or not they followed the prescribed process.

    It is possible that a law was passed that required the FAA to create Part 103, but I don’t recall such a law. If there is such a law, I’m hoping that someone here can point to it.

    Either way, the question remains, why not develop an electric E-AB, where there are few restrictions?


    BJC
     
  9. May 8, 2018 #49

    BJC

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    That won’t fly.


    BJC
     
  10. May 8, 2018 #50

    REVAN

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    The regulations come from the law passed by Congress. It was the same with 103. The law that was passed and the regulation implemented by the FAA needed to comply with the law, as does the interpretation of the requirement. I don't think the FAA has the authority to change 254 pounds to another value without getting Congress to change it first, and then the regulation must be changed to reflect the new law. I think the 254 pounds was written into the originating law. The FAA subsequently implemented several exemptions to the 254 pound definition, excluding certain items from that defined limit. Also, for safety reasons, there was a training exemption. The exemptions are not a part of the originating law and they are, therefore, far more fleeting and volatile than the parts of the regulation that Congress mandated. This is evident by the fact that the training exemption has been taken away and rolled over into the LSA regulations (which were a new set of regulations mandated by another law passed through Congress).

    This is how I understand it, but again, I reserve the right to be mistaken.
     
  11. May 8, 2018 #51

    BJC

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    That would not be the usual way.

    Can you, or anyone else here, point to the “originating law”?


    BJC
     
  12. May 8, 2018 #52

    REVAN

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    Not without doing some research.

    Just for fun, I looked at an 18650 battery that is available to purchase here: https://www.imrbatteries.com/awt-18650-3000mah-flat-top-battery-red/

    It is a 45 gr. battery that occupies 17.24 cc. That works out to 21.8 pounds per gallon. 5 gallons would be about 109 pounds and would contain about 1098 cells for a total of 3300 A*hr. A 90% efficient motor could be operated at 30 HP for about 1.5 hours (1 hour with 30 minutes reserve).

    If your ultralight has an empty weight of less than 145 pounds, it is better to accept the current FAA interpretation. If it has an empty weight more than that, you would do better with the 5 gallon interpretation.

    If I made an electric ultralight, I'd probably be in the sub 145 pound area as I like foot launch and really light weight stuff. Bottom line is, I'm not likely to be the one pressing this issue. I just think the FAA is wrong, and I like to point that out when the opportunity to do so presents itself.
     
  13. May 8, 2018 #53

    Hot Wings

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  14. May 8, 2018 #54

    pictsidhe

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    1098 x 3.6V 3Ah cells = 11.9kWh
    x 90% = 14.2 hp-hr
    Your 30hp electric ultralight is going to be expensive, disappointing and illegal.

    A carbon dragon has a glide ratio of 25 at 35mph. At 360lb, that's 960W (1.28hp) of power to keep it level. Lets say that with extra weight, prop and electric inefficiencies, it needs 3hp. Now, 550 cells would give over 2 hours. Legally.

    The Samsung 25R cells at 2.5Ah looked good to me. Much cheaper and I'm also suspicious of the retail cells.
     
  15. May 8, 2018 #55

    jedi

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    But that is the current interpretation. The battery to hold the electrons is the fuel tank and part of the empty weight.
     
  16. May 8, 2018 #56

    pictsidhe

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    Trying to get a 30lb allowance could result in a change to 30lb TOTAL battery weight.

    The FAA won't decide this in a courtroom. Their people will.
    Their current policy seems to be leave 103 alone, we should do the same.

    Electric-LSA would be worth looking at.
     
  17. May 8, 2018 #57

    jedi

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    The event that got the FAAs attention was the demonstration flight at Oshkosh where Larry Mauro did his unintentional series of low altitude loops. Officials observing this realized that some regulation was needed. The Ultralight industry was questioned about the limits desired and the FAA took the industry recommendation of 150 pounds and added a 100 pound buffer to get the 254 pound limit. Chuck of CGS Hawk was the one hold out for more weight and was over ruled by others in the industry. Comments at the time by those who wrote the regulation were that we could have had 600 pounds if we had asked for it.

    When Light Sport was being written the UL industry was promised additional weight as an exemption for additional safety equipment including brakes and electric starters. That has never happened partly because no one has been pushing the issue. There is a lot of pressure to not push for higher weights and very little official push for more weight. If more weight is needed do what Terrafugia and Icon have done. Show a need.

    Build what you want to build and then petition for the ability to fly it safely and the legal authority to do so. If the machine does not fit the law, fit the law to the machine.
     
  18. May 8, 2018 #58

    Himat

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    Get hold of high capacity primary battery cells that burn when empty. As they go up in smoke after being used there should be little discussion about them being fuel.:gig:
    The regulation say five us gallons of fuel can be carried, nothing about it have to be combusted within the engine.;)
     
  19. May 8, 2018 #59

    BJC

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  20. May 9, 2018 #60

    REVAN

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    From definition 2: [FONT=&quot]a source of incentive

    [/FONT]
    Certainly, this describes the role of the battery in a battery-electric powertrain.

    Also, I'll note that burning is defined as the consumption of a type of fuel as an energy source. It is also a redox reaction. When something is burning, by definition it is oxidizing. In the battery, the oxidation happens at the anode. It would meet the definition of fuel in this case as well. The battery is consuming, through oxidation, something as an energy source. Any way I look at this, the battery has to be considered fuel. Anything else is nonsensical.[FONT=Roboto, arial, sans-serif] [/FONT]
     

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