Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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Dan Thomas

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Nothing will make you appreciate modern equipment more than flying IFR with an ADF where you have to fly outbound and do procedure turn back inbound in a strong crosswind.
Did that enough, working on getting my ticket. Did a bit more of it, teaching IFR students.

Yeah. The good old days that so many accuse us of wanting. Those accusers need to find and learn to use some of that old technology; we old guys would suddenly gain a bunch of respect. The even older guys had to use the radio range systems for navigating and approach in IMC. Really non-precision stuff, very stressful when making an approach to an airport surrounded by rugged, rocky mountains. Cumulogranite.
 

Tiger Tim

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Why limit the time period between sunrise and sunset? See Solar Impulse 2
Daylight hours were just arbitrarily chosen to represent an occasional long day of flying. Maybe 500 miles a day makes more sense for a long-ish trip but the real question was what would the plane look like that I can fly when I want.

I’m aware of the achievements of the Solar Impulse team, but am also aware that it’s not the kind of machine you could take anywhere for fun. Weather planning would be challenging and finding hangarage would be on a whole other level from what we’re used to.
 

Aesquire

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E-genius flew from Stuttgart to Milan - 521.2kilometers.
That's very impressive. Beats the 358km out & return record set in June 2020 by Owen Morse.

Not quite as far as the 764km record by Dustin Martin (USA) and Jon Durand (Australia) who set off together on 4 July 2012 across Texas. ( almost a formation landing! )

But those folk only had a small battery for instruments, and no heavy electric motors or fuel cells, so obviously had an edge over the E-genius crew.
 

Dan Thomas

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If you were really interested, you would have tried contacting people about, like I've been doing.
If it flew, it would have appeared both here and on Pilots of America. One of the developers of the thing was here on HBA for a time.
 

Sraight'nlevel

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That's very impressive. Beats the 358km out & return record set in June 2020 by Owen Morse.

Not quite as far as the 764km record by Dustin Martin (USA) and Jon Durand (Australia) who set off together on 4 July 2012 across Texas. ( almost a formation landing! )

But those folk only had a small battery for instruments, and no heavy electric motors or fuel cells, so obviously had an edge over the E-genius crew.
Right, but isn't the aim to carry people ? Just a pilot reaching 500 km cannot be enuf, we need at least 4-10 people from point A to B in any weather.
 

Sraight'nlevel

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W don't need 25%. We need 500%. Or more. Airliners would need several thousands of percent more. A Boeing 777 has two 110,000 HP engines. It can fly ten hours at a stretch, easily. How much battery does it need to run 220,000 HP at maybe 75% power for ten hours?

I don't think we need 500% more...just different kinda attitude and possibly doubling the the present out put. Slightly slower flying planes can already save a lot fuel.

We also need more trees to suck up the CO2 emissions.
 
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Aesquire

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we need at least 4-10 people from point A to B in any weather.
but my examples were equally relevant to replacing liquid fuels with blocks of lower density solid batteries as an experimental powered sailplane. No motors after launch, at all! Pure skill and weather. Also exceptional pilots with state off the art gear of zero use to commuter passengers.

There may even have been implied sarcasm.

you need ANY weather, use a car or bus, and accept that you will fail to achieve 100%. Snow storms, in my growing zone, can & do stop all transportation except the dedicated loons.

I know, that was my job. When ( multiple times a year ) the local Sheriff called for all non-essential people to stay off the road, I was not who he meant. I was expected to show up during biological warfare assaults that murdered my co workers. ( not hyperbole, it happened ) I run studded snow tires and have run mountain passes where the police roadblock folk were flabbergasted to see me come out of the storm from the closed side. That is especially ironic when it's where the highest fatalities among mail planes took place.

"I don't think we need 500% more...just different kinda attitude and possibly doubling the the present out put. "

Nope, that Just gets you up to late 1920s biplane range. You need more than that to get to DC-3 range and viable commercial flight.

Lowering your expectations far enough to match current battery technology means lowering so far a Kitfox is superior by orders of magnitude in multiple ways.

Hey, I'm not against advancing technology. I'm against fooling myself that the current tech is there yet. Doesn't mean you stop trying or don't applaud the folk pushing the limits.
 

J.L. Frusha

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I assume you're talking about cars.

What to car passenger counts have to do with airplane passenger counts?
Everything. Cars, planes, boats motorcycles... They are all modes of transportation. Many aircraft fly with but a single occupant.

Right, but isn't the aim to carry people ? Just a pilot reaching 500 km cannot be enuf, we need at least 4-10 people from point A to B in any weather.

If the aim is transportation, does it matter to the pilot that he/she is alone, anymore than any other mode of transportation?
 

Saville

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Everything. Cars, planes, boats motorcycles... They are all modes of transportation. Many aircraft fly with but a single occupant.

If the aim is transportation, does it matter to the pilot that he/she is alone, anymore than any other mode of transportation?

Yes.

You are talking about electric aircraft supplanting ICE powered aircraft.

So factoring in car, boat bicycle or motorcycle passenger counts is totally meaningless.

The aim is for electric aircraft to achieve similar performance of ICE aircraft and also what has to happen before electrics are part of the infrastructure.

cars have nothing whatsoever to do with that
 

tspear

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W don't need 25%. We need 500%. Or more. Airliners would need several thousands of percent more. A Boeing 777 has two 110,000 HP engines. It can fly ten hours at a stretch, easily. How much battery does it need to run 220,000 HP at maybe 75% power for ten hours?

Dan,

Curious, what metric are you comparing the need for a 500% increase?
Obviously excluding cost and recharge aspects as separate topics. Just focused on energy density.
e.g. For me, the trainer market is 1.5 hours of flight with 1 hour reserve; that seats two. So, compared to Pipistrel Elektro, they need a 250% increase in capacity.

Tim
 

tspear

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Dan Thomas

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Dan,

Curious, what metric are you comparing the need for a 500% increase?
Obviously excluding cost and recharge aspects as separate topics. Just focused on energy density.
e.g. For me, the trainer market is 1.5 hours of flight with 1 hour reserve; that seats two. So, compared to Pipistrel Elektro, they need a 250% increase in capacity.

Tim
500% is ballpark, based on the most popular light airplanes. Four seats, 100 knots or better. Baggage capacity. Sure, a little two-seat Pipistrel that does 85 kts at low level for a couple of hours will satisfy some people, but hang gliders also satisfy some people. Most folks want something with distance and altitude capability. They don't want to fly for two hours, then take a motel for the rest of the day and night while the thing recharges so they can fly another two hours in the morning. Might as well drive.
 

Dan Thomas

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We also need more trees to suck up the CO2 emissions.
NASA and other agencies that do satellite photography tell us that the planet is greening due to the raised CO2 levels. More trees are growing, and growing bigger. Crops are giving bigger harvests. Places that were marginally desert are showing greening.

Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds

We could help by stopping the cutting of trees for "biomass" electrical generation. What an abomination that is. We're even sending wood to Europe for them to burn in their generating plants. Cutting down trees and turning them into CO2. Idiocy.
 

Vigilant1

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Cutting down trees and turning them into CO2. Idiocy.
Many of those trees are crops just like any other crop (they just take about 30 years before final harvesting). The carbon they contain came out of the atmosphere (as CO2). When the wood is burned, the carbon goes back into the atmosphere. No net increase in atmospheric carbon compared to if the trees had never existed (or if the land had been used for a different crop).
In nature, as in forestry, trees temporarily store carbon. In nature, the carbon in the trees goes back into the atmosphere as CO2 or CO when it burns or CO2 or methane when it decomposes.
 

opcod

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Overall it's quite a joke. Can you cross the ocean in a piper J3 ? It's so bad, this don't have any significant range. So quite the same... the definition of Mission. All new tech are still in lab and they are about 5 diff style. so the chemistry now and in 4-5 yrs will be quite diff. Same as when they announce fast charge. iGarbage stuff implement it and you can fast charge in 8min. so time frame of about 4yrs again. Let just build more coal central to charge our electric stuff, so we will tell all that we are green. Marketing just as all product.
 
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