Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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Aesquire

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eVTOL aircraft are the coolest part of Electric flight. IMHO.

But the Networked robotic air taxi thing is a Security Paradigm shift away. Hackers, both script kiddies and Nationals make networks very risky.

See the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where the title ship is literally a museum ship with obsolete No-Network equipment.
 

blane.c

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Ground based NAVAIDS have traditionally not been hacked? So instead of this network thingy that is hackable why not "trained qualified pilots" in aircraft? Those that are VFR only, only get to escape the rush hour madness on VFR days, Those that are IFR rated get to escape the rush hour traffic on more days and those with IFR category xx even more days.

Then it is relatively the same as the current system except with a larger volume of slower traffic going to multiple landing pads.

The idea of autonomous vehicles with idiots in all seats is scarier to me.
 

cluttonfred

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In some ways I think we may be reaching a turning point in human history where some technology is just too invasive and people just say "enough." I can absolutely see that in the way that I, and especially my teen and young adult kids, spend so much time in front of screens and seem far more isolated than past generations. That was a premise in Frank Herbert's Dune in which electronics were carefully regulated (no AI, nothing even close) and humans trained as organic computers following a long period of warfare. See Butlerian Jihad

eVTOL aircraft are the coolest part of Electric flight. IMHO.

But the Networked robotic air taxi thing is a Security Paradigm shift away. Hackers, both script kiddies and Nationals make networks very risky.

See the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where the title ship is literally a museum ship with obsolete No-Network equipment.
 

Dan Thomas

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I can absolutely see that in the way that I, and especially my teen and young adult kids, spend so much time in front of screens and seem far more isolated than past generations.
Yup. I spend more time here talking to people I never meet, than to friends at the coffee shop or the neighbors. Of course, here we can get into a big fight without wrecking the furniture...
 

Aesquire

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Ground based NAVAIDS have traditionally not been hacked?
I shortened my post down quite a bit on first edit. ( went well off topic with terrorism references )

ADBSLGBTQ ;) is scary in how a hacker can steer planes with bad intent. But Die Hard 2, now that you mention it, had that happen with physical access. And GPS jammers are proliferating, since current guided weapons use it, and if you're a Bad Guy you want your tent/cave/fortress of dudeliness not to be blown up, etc.

It's also why high speed evacuated tubes and orbital towers will stay science fiction for a while.

I camp every year { except the past 2, because The Thing ) with an eclectic group. I hang out with the EMT types some nights, ( Medical & Military & Aviators &... Have a sense of humor "civilians" find quite " rough" ) and attend a campfire "unofficial seminar" with a bunch of vets, LEO, MIB, Alphabet Agency, etc. where we speculate on Bad Stuff so they can get ideas on preventive measures.

Often it becomes a "top this" of wild ideas on how to do supervillain Evil. Like shutting down pipelines by hacking ( happened this year ) or Redacted. A win is when a Special Forces Colonel announces you're scaring him.

One new guy complained a discussion "sounded like a bad Tom Clancy novel" which resulted in one of those dead silences you get at parties where someone says something really embarrassing. Everyone looks at him until a voice pipes up, "you didn't know?" Dead silence...

It's more cheerful at the EMT tent. Where we argue the best song to play in your head while doing CPR. And which ones never to mutter aloud when the relatives are standing there. It's a tie between "Staying Alive" & " Another one bites the dust". :)
 

tspear

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New battery tech, I still think a decade away from initial commercial use. However, proven to manage more than 500 cycles and retain 80% charge with an energy density roughly ten times current Li polymers. Overall a solid start.


Tim
 

tspear

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And now another electric plane announcement, but this one from a well known manufacturer. The 90 minute flight time would cover a lot more training then Pipistrel's. And the production timeline is fast. Question is if Diamond actually can hit it.


Tim
 

FarmBoy

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New battery tech, I still think a decade away from initial commercial use. However, proven to manage more than 500 cycles and retain 80% charge with an energy density roughly ten times current Li polymers. Overall a solid start.


Tim
In the meantime, there are several companies preparing to begin volume production of 400-500Wh/kg cells. Here is another one entering the fray:

The safety of the cell is a big plus (nail fail proof) as is its charge rate (80% in 15 minutes). Volume production of 400Wh/Kg cells likely in 2023-4. While only a little better than the promised next-gen Tesla cells that have yet to appear (supposed to jump from 260 to 380 Wh/Kg). They appear to have the upper hand on safety and longevity (lower dendrite growth to begin with and capable of reversing said growth).

This is only the beginning. The number of companies and amount of capital being spent on research is regularly producing advancements (most that you don't hear about until they near production, for competitive reasons). That said, I agree that 10x is definitely more than a decade away but 500+ Wh/Kg is probably closer than you think.
 

Dan Thomas

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An update from LILIUM

Still not showing much range or speed but a bit of detail about their swiveling motors is in evidence...

When I see that sort of thing I am reminded of attempts such as this:

1636389238789.png

Edit: Or this:

1636390457761.png

The Dornier DO-X. 12 engines on that thing. 92 years ago already.

History, physics, and the market have not treated overly complicated aircraft kindly.
 
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tspear

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@Dan Thomas

I think electrical is easier than mechanical to manage multiple devices. Failure modes are easier, less complexity on the number of moving parts components interconnected. (The engineering station on the DO-X was really awesome based on pics I saw, assuming I am remember the correct one).

The question will be is Lillium or others can actually deliver a plane which is very simple but appears to be complex.
I forget which evtol company, but one of them was going multi-copter in a large way and I watched an interview with one of the engineer reps. The complexity discussion came up in an interview with the rep for the company actually addressed it head on. He stated they actually sacrifice efficiency in failure modes, so if there is a failure in any engine on one side, the system automatically reduces the available power on the other dimensions unless the pilot does an emergency override. In emergency override, all engines on the side of the evtol with the failed engine can produce more than max power for a limited duration. Another example was the gear, all gear are magnetically suspended; no power the gear descends and locks using gravity... Another one battery capacity, when the battery gets below a certain level, the system automatically looks to descend; it does not take off unless there is more than specified level of charge in the system...

It will be interesting to watch from the sidelines, to see who (in anyone) pulls this off, and if technology can beat human failings since we always seem to find new ways to kill ourselves.

Tim
 
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