New ultralight - Electric or Gasoline?

Discussion in 'The light stuff area' started by Head in the clouds, May 31, 2012.

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If you built a new ultralight what powerplant would you like?

  1. Gasoline engine

    39 vote(s)
    51.3%
  2. Electric motor

    29 vote(s)
    38.2%
  3. Other - please describe on the Challenge thread

    8 vote(s)
    10.5%
  4. Gasoline engine

    39 vote(s)
    51.3%
  5. Electric motor

    29 vote(s)
    38.2%
  6. Other - please describe on the Challenge thread

    8 vote(s)
    10.5%
  1. May 31, 2012 #1

    Head in the clouds

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  2. May 31, 2012 #2

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    Thats pretty quick off the blocks, Clouds.

    We should note the question comes with the rider......... assume the ideal system that would suit your aircraft, assume a perfect solution is available in either electric or gas engine.

    Phil
     
  3. May 31, 2012 #3

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    Since I have now voted and Electric has 100% of the votes...................................



    ...............Electric wins.:roll:
     
  4. May 31, 2012 #4

    Hot Wings

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    Voted gas, even though I'm a hybrid proponent, because I like longer flights than the hour that is practical for pure electric.
     
  5. May 31, 2012 #5

    bmcj

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    What about a smaller gas engine (for economy cruise) with an electric 'booster' for take-off and climb? I'm not talking separate props, just a way to help drive the gas engine with an electric assist.
     
  6. Jun 1, 2012 #6

    BBerson

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    I watched Dale Kramer fly his twin electric ultralight at Oshkosh every day last summer. Quite impressive, but not cheap. The two motors not so much money. But the dual battery system and dual speed control and oh yes, dual charger system.... and yes dual Honda generators to power the chargers. Quite a bit of electronics systems, perhaps more than I would tolerate.
    BB

    p.s. the other electric ultralight at OSH 2011 had a motor burnout. These electric motors and things are not bulletproof at this time, so I voted for gasoline.
     
  7. Jun 1, 2012 #7

    BDD

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    I vote gasoline powered because of increased power, range, etc. Electric is interesting though and could be more reliable. For now gasoline power seems more practical and effective to me.
     
  8. Jun 1, 2012 #8

    bmcj

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    Gasoline, because we don't need to invent the motor at the same time as we invent the plane.
     
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  9. Jun 10, 2012 #9
  10. Jun 10, 2012 #10

    SVSUSteve

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    Exactly. Why not stick with something that actually has a better than even chance of working and not costing more than a Van's Kit?
     
  11. Jun 10, 2012 #11

    Sir Joab

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    OTHER: Vertical launch using a JATO rocket. :devious:
     
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  12. Jun 10, 2012 #12

    SVSUSteve

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    I am completely in support of this if anyone is dumb enough to try it. However, I do have some paperwork for you to sign and get notarized beforehand. LOL
     
  13. Jun 10, 2012 #13

    PaulS

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    While I like the idea of electric (and the parts are available) I think we need to wait until battery prices come down a bit. we can always retro-fit an electric motor later. I like four cycle engines (I understand them better, having designed and built a few)
    I would like to see a three cylinder radial for light weight and operational simplicity but a light weight two cylinder could work.
     
  14. Jun 11, 2012 #14

    oriol

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    Right now the electric components are too expensive an have very limited autonomy.
    Such electric devices may only fit in a very reduced aviation field: powered expensive sailplanes like the stemme.

    Nissan presented in the last detroit auto show an electric van.

    0 (1) nissan e-nv200 2.jpg 0 (1) nissan e-nv200.jpg


    Plans are that the factory in wich the van is gonna be assembled in Europe is in barcelona. Apparently with the rising prices of gasoline many European autotransporters would be very interested in that vehicle.

    To increase the autonomy of the vehicle Nissan has made an agreement with some gas station suppliers to have a network of recharging points in the whole country, so we are no longer dealing with reduced range ecomopeds or small city cars.
    There would be two kinds of recharging modes a faster one, and a slow one to refill the maximum capacity of the battery: like a mobile.

    Once the electric auto configuration become a reality it would naturally be adapted for sport aviation.


    Oriol

    _) I´m sorry I haven´t found much info about the van performances on the net, I assume the van would cost like a comparable reciprocating engine van.
     
  15. Jun 11, 2012 #15

    SVSUSteve

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    Maybe....the weight and power issues are something I don't see being overcome for anything beyond the group you already pointed out (the high end sailplanes) where large amounts of power (more than a few horsepower) is needed for any length of time. I'm 31 and I doubt I'll live to see a meaningful all electric aircraft outside of the LSA or UL categories.
     
  16. Jun 11, 2012 #16

    oriol

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    I agree with you, there wont´t be an all electric aircraft capable of substituing modern turboprops or even a traditional Cessna 152, I´m not even dreaming on putting that engine on a helico.
    Maybe the hydrogen engine will do that one day without releasing contaminant gases.


    I think the all electric aircraft, with a minimum practical range, would may be suitable for 2 stroke engines of 2 axis trikes.
    Other interesting candidates for zero emission aircafts would of course be powered sailplanes.


    Oriol


    _) What I like the most of the electric concept is that you avoid the risk of fire in case of crashing etc.
    I´ve heard of someone who was trapped into a cowled ultralight. He managed to escape but now he looks like freddy kruger. Composites melt with fire and I don´t feel very confortable when I remember that type.
    The risk of explosion, even if the aircaft is aluminium made, neither make me feel better.
     
  17. Jun 11, 2012 #17

    SVSUSteve

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    Eh...they'll make nice one offs but I don't see them even supplanting the low-end standard fuel engines anytime soon simply from a cost and weight standard.


    Remember, it's not zero emissions. Somewhere along the line, pollution was created during the power or battery generation process. Reduced? Yes. Zero? Not even close.

    You're talking to someone who researches crash survivability. The problem with electric aircraft as a way of reducing post-crash fire risk is that to compensate for the added weight of the batteries, you'll have to reduce weight in another area (since batteries weigh a lot more than a comparable amount of fuel for similar energy levels) and in ultralights and LSAs the only left to remove is structural protection for the occupant. As horrific as burning alive in a post-crash fire is, if an electric aircraft crashes the chances of being crushed by the batteries as the aircraft collapses or being tossed out and killed are going to keep the mortality rate high. It might even increase it significantly.

    There's a much simpler pair of ways to reduce the risk of post-crash fire:
    1. better designed fuel tanks and lines
    2. Switch to a kerosene based fuel like Jet-A or diesel.

    Composites burn. They don't generally melt like plastics do. Some of the fabrics are flame resistant but the resins used by most homebuilders are not. The biggest problem in composite aircraft isn't the effects of fire on them but the fact that the way we currently use them in homebuilt and commercially manufactured aircraft (looking at you, Cirrus), they shatter and fail and lead to higher mortality rates. It's one of those things that most people overlook when parroting "But composites are stronger than steel!!!!!" Foam core composite is not something you want to bet your life on in a crash scenario.

    The nice thing (if you want to look at it in a morbid and sardonic manner) is that chances are good that most of the time the people in a crashed composite aircraft will be dead before the fire gets to them.
     
  18. Jun 11, 2012 #18

    oriol

    oriol

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    Thanks for your comments SVSUSteve I appreciate it.


    I´m sorry I can´t back my comments with facts I didn´t found info refering to Nissan´electric van performances, technical details.
    I just wanted to put on the table that a big company was planning to build and develop a mass production full electric vehicle, cheaper to operate than equivalent combustion vehicles. My note: this is not an hybrid or concept electric car (like the cool but expensive tesla) but a duty vehicle.

    If the market exists then sooner technical improvements would be made to increase electric batteries autonomy, costs...


    Of course I can´t assure that this would happen tomorrow, but electric engines are less noisy, produce less vibrations, require less maintenance, can work at high RPM for long time... they´re ideal for airplanes!
    The problem is of course the batteries we have to wait until someone decides to improve them, maybe nissan can do that, let´s hope so.


    Refering to your considerations about a zero emission vehicle. I agree for the moment this is an utopia because somewhere on the production line there´s always some pollution generated.


    So just consider a minimum emission airvehicle. Most of the structure should be wood, you cut a tree then you plant another one.
    So far so good, now the difficult part: the powerplant. Close to zero emission there´s only the hydrogen engine but it requires high pressure tanks, in case of crash you risk a big boom.

    The only other feasible engine is an electric one. The better suited candidates are by far powered sailplanes. They can carry the batteries instead of the water ballast. You should try to use the engine only for take off and landing/emergencies. So that you waste the minimum energy from your batteries.

    It may result a very cool airplane. I guess the nissan van may cost below 20000 E, around +-18000 U$. You scrap the powerplant/batteries of the van and you buy some spruce. Cheaper than stemme!


    It may or it may not work but it´s a cool flying utopia:)!


    Oriol



    Baby-Albatros-cockpit.jpg homepage.jpg WindPowered-Car_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  19. Jun 11, 2012 #19

    canardlover

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    Batteries do burn and very well in fact in the case of LiPo technology. Do a little ggogle research on Lipo battery fires in the modeling world, you'll be surprised and shocked, I think!

    Jeff kerlo
     
  20. Jun 11, 2012 #20

    bmcj

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    The answer is right in front of your eyes. The two pictures are BEFORE and AFTER pictures that show the limited range! :gig:
     
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