Traditional Homebuilts Suited to Electric

Discussion in 'Electric Propulsion' started by Tiger Tim, Aug 2, 2019.

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  1. Aug 5, 2019 #21

    Tiger Tim

    Tiger Tim

    Tiger Tim

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    I remember reading about that one when it was unveiled. I guess Sonex probably only had the resources to pursue the electric Waiex or the jet and we all know which way they went. Can’t say I blame them, that little jet is neat.

    I agree that an Opal would be awesome with any power plant but neither plans nor kits are available so again someone would be stuck developing an airframe and a power plant at the same time.
     
  2. Aug 5, 2019 #22

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    Tim,

    true no plans or kits but the basic principles and specs including airfoil are known and the original is still in the family hands.

    It might be possible to convince his brother to finish the resto and make some more or make plans available. Initially it was thought the accident was structural failure from a modded spar carrythrough to take the oxygen. But it was the drive that caused the damage.

    It was still flyable but a unfortunate fence then tree sealed his fate.

    The aircraft apparently flew extremely well and safely. I do not think it would be a huge effort to produce a new one today and given advances in composites including pulltruded rods could be stronger.

    AS far as inventing a new aircraft and engine at same time?
    Follow the original design and it should not be too big a issue. Power wise, it could all be tested in a ground cell and then in a mule aircraft if needed. Or fly with a gas engine then change to electric- not my preferred option.

    As far as producing the design- I would think it would have a large potential market compared to anything else that runs on sparks or even slick glass motorgliders.
    Due to its wing plus pilot design, it should be quite a bit cheaper and faster to build than almost any other design.

    And performance wise it is without equal. A Experimental version would be easy, as would a sub 300kg version for Europe and Australia. Part 103? To fast with that wing foil, you would break the speed limit even climbing at 2000 ft/min.

    Could a part 103 be done- probably but that would be a waste of potential.

    It does not need big long spars, it has a very simple wing shape. Does not need anything removed for storage or transport. No traditional tail structures. A very small fraction of the aircraft is non lifting- so very efficient use of materials.

    Yes it needs a quality smooth finish, but its tiny and small amount of work compared to a 'normal' aircraft.


    On this site we all love to play the design game to produce a better hamburger tripper or a speed machine or something better than available. We all want a breakthrough aircraft to propel the sport.

    I think in a electric world- this is a great start.
    I love it.
     
  3. Aug 5, 2019 #23

    Hephaestus

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  4. Aug 5, 2019 #24

    Hephaestus

    Hephaestus

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    Here's one that could seriously be improved on with electric...

    image_050.jpg

    Eliminate the big driveshaft, o360 with massive fuel tank capacity...
     
  5. Aug 5, 2019 #25

    BJC

    BJC

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    Is there a report detailing the cause? If not, please explain what you mean by “it was the drive that caused the damage”.

    Thanks,


    BJC
     
  6. Aug 5, 2019 #26

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    From memory, the redrive had a failure.

    But I will check the report.
     
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  7. Aug 5, 2019 #27

    BJC

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    I like the looks of the Orion, and the seating forward of the wing, but that configuration has several characteristics that I prefer to avoid in a homebuilt design.

    Drive shaft. Too many issues there.

    Pusher propeller. Always a challenge to have a decent rotation angle on takeoff. Susceptible to FOD. I prefer to have prop blast available over the rudder and elevators for maneuvering at lower speeds. Also can raise the cabin too high for entry without the need for external steps, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue with the Orion.

    For a multi-passenger airplane, having the engine at or near the CG rather than the variable load there presents balance for flight and ground handling challenges. Those issues would be acceptable to me in a one-off single seater designed just for me.

    There are reasons that more than 10,000 RV-XX aircraft have been flown.

    Since I don’t like the idea of moveable batteries, and the retractable LG is extra weight, I would be hesitant to try to convert the Orion to electric power. YMMV.


    BJC
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  8. Aug 5, 2019 #28

    mcrae0104

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    The electric Waiex was completed long before the jet project began; there was no need to choose one or the other. One benefit of a small, privately-held company that is financially healthy is that they get to develop whatever interests them (somewhat independent of market demand).
     
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  9. Aug 5, 2019 #29

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    The OP mentioned a two-seater flown as a single-seater, and someone else mentioned lots of wing area for flight on low power. Depending on your mission, that could mean anything from a Xenos (Sonex) motorglider to a Pietenpol Air Camper. A Cub clone like the one from Wag Aero would be fun, and you could solo from the front seat since the back seat would always be occupied by batteries.

    Personally, while I find electric power very appealing for everything from a little plane to a second car to a moped, I have always been surprised by the complexity of the engineering required for a safe, durable system. If and when someone comes out with a true plug-and-play electric power system, say an 80 hp engine with all the controller/throttle/display hardware and a variable number of self-contained batteries to suit weight/balance/range needs, then I'll bite.
     
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  10. Aug 5, 2019 #30

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    They have Matt,

    It is called a ZERO motorcycle, take the entire system and battery pack.

    Viola, Aircraft power system.

    Others have done this and ZERO even sold the systems sans motorbike.
     
  11. Aug 5, 2019 #31

    BJC

    BJC

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    Are you saying that the ZERO motor and battery delver 80 HP with a decent endurance?


    BJC
     
  12. Aug 5, 2019 #32

    Hephaestus

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    You wouldn't need a long driveshaft with a electric motor :D

    Long driveshaft is there to allow the Lycoming to sit on cg. In electric your worry would be the battery weight the motor could actually go to the back.
     
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  13. Aug 5, 2019 #33

    BBerson

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    Even an IC engine can be placed in the far aft tail if enough dead weight (batteries) is forward of the CG. Think Predator drone, with it's electronics in front and prop aft of tail. Some sort of electric and IC mix might work.
     
  14. Aug 6, 2019 #34

    litespeed

    litespeed

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    I do know the ZERO gear has already been used by some homebuilts and they were happy with it.

    I do not know the range they got, but I will look.
     
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  15. Aug 6, 2019 #35

    cluttonfred

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    Maybe I wasn’t clear, but I was talking about a solution specifically for aircraft use, just bolt to firewall, put on the prop and go, I don’t think the Zero setup is there yet.

     
  16. Aug 6, 2019 #36

    Heliano

    Heliano

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    Here are some numbers: at a 18.5% efficiency (typical of today's solar panels in the reatail market) one can get 18w/ft2. So if one has a 130ft2 wing covered with solar panels, he can get 2.34Kw, that is, 3.15HP. That isn't much. However if it is a high-L/D (as pictsidhe said), light aircraft this low power may be as much as 30-40% of the required power in long range cruise, and the autonomy can jump for example from 2h:00 to 2h:40m. But the situation is dynamic: Lately we've seen the solar panel efficiencies to improve at a rate of 3% every 5 years. This rate tends to pickup. Therefore in 10 years time the scenario will be much better.
     
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  17. Aug 7, 2019 #37

    John.Roo

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    Exactly - actually is better to use solar panel on the roof of your hangar :) Ideally with some battery to store the energy, but that is already increasing the price of installation.

    Also dont forget two details:
    1) solar panel on the wings + converters aboard etc. are increasing empty weight of airplane. And question also is how is solar panel on the wing affecting aerodynamics.
    2) composite constructions generally do not like high temperature and solar panels are black and definitelly not cold.

    Best regards!
    Martin
     
  18. Aug 7, 2019 #38

    Heliano

    Heliano

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    Good point, John.Rhoo. It is exactly that.
     
  19. Aug 7, 2019 #39

    pictsidhe

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    Silicon panels have improved very little in efficiency over the last 20 years. Perhaps 3%. They have a theoretical limit of about 30%. To go higher, you need other materials and/or multiple junctions. NASA has been using GaAs cells for a long time, but they are not cheap. The actual silicon cells are not very heavy, the weight of a panel is mostly in the glass front.
     
  20. Aug 7, 2019 #40

    Steve C

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    The guys who did the S2 conversion said the opposite. They said you have to buy a whole bike and Zero wouldn't even talk to them when they mentioned an airplane.

    I read or heard the Opal was not such a nice flying airplane. It was intended only for records and that made it acceptable. Plank wings like this have a very small cg range for performance. Get it right and you have efficiency with hyper sensitive elevator control. Then there's adverse yaw.
     

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