Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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Rhino

Well-Known Member
I think it should be tailored to the student. I had no overload whatsoever on my first few flights. Quite the contrary, I was chomping at the bit for more. My instructor said I was a natural, which indicates to me that there is no perfect, cookie cutter recipe suited for all students. The Air Force taught me instructional systems development when I was a technical training instructor.

blane.c

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
I thought batteries swapped for fresh one's after each flight for a training environment.

EzyBuildWing

Well-Known Member
Otto's brilliant "Celera 500L" as shown on website below desperately needs a 550 HP MagniX green electric-motor to totally eliminate those two shockingly hideous-looking air-intake scoops on top of the rear-fuse......
Otto pitches a beautiful smooth laminar flow front-end at us , then shows us a dog's breakfast rear-fuse!
Gotta keep the smoothness going,.....

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I think it should be tailored to the student.
That is the trick.
I too could have flown for hours for my first lessons in a PA-12.............but that was decades ago. I'm a different student today.

But we are getting into serious thread drift here.

Electric aircraft are probably a good fit for low volume training sites, especially for the first phases of training. For high volume schools battery charge time may be the pinch point. Since I have no experience with high volume flight schools or electric aircraft that is just my speculation.

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Electric aircraft are probably a good fit for low volume training sites, especially for the first phases of training. For high volume schools battery charge time may be the pinch point. Since I have no experience with high volume flight schools or electric aircraft that is just my speculation.
Hmm, I dunno. From a financial perspective, the capital cost of airplane ownership matters less to a high-volume training site, flight cost per hour becomes a more significant issue.
For a low volume site, the capital costs of the plane are more important (since that monthly cost gets amortized over fewer flight hours), while hourly flight costs are relatively less important. And, at a low volume school, whatever airplanes they have are probably going to need to be flexible-- pattern work, area work, cross countries.

Electric trainers are more expensive to buy, which makes them less suitable for low volume schools. The charging cycle makes them less suitable for high volume schools. And, the battery replacement costs bring serious questions to the claims of low hourly operating costs, especially with rapid recharge use.

I think these factors explain their low rate of adoption.

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Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
For a low volume site, the capital costs of the plane are more important (since that monthly cost gets amortized over fewer flight hours), while hourly flight costs are relatively less important.
Agreed. But this presumes that the low volume school is using decades old trainers that do cost less.

Our local training is the very definitional of low volume. Probably a full 1/3 of the students are through the local community college. The rest of the students have only the weekends to train due to having to work. It varies year to year, but the norm is 3 172s, one 1 'full time' instructor, 2 part time instructors, and a couple of independents with their own plane.

Of those 3 172's they have about a 70% availability rate due to maintenance needs. During the week days there are plane hours that go unused. During the weekend there is a shortage, especially if one of the planes is out of service. One other is out on cross country flights or on rent. That leaves one plane for hourly instruction on the weekends for working class students.

Electric just won't work in this situation. It also means that the local rate for instructors is $70/hr because that can only work a few hours a week due to either a student shortage during the weekdays or a plane shortage on the weekends. Move up to using new 172s and new electric trainers, with presumed comparable capital costs, allows a low volume flight school to train using the 2 electric trainers for initial hourly lessons and still have a legacy 172 in the fleet for transition training and for cross country flights/rental. The 2 electric can be swapped out during the high volume weekends for hourly instruction so one is always available...............but this still requires more up front capital investment than a fleet of nothing but legacy 172s. So after a lot of words - electric trainers just aren't going to be practical until we run out of ICE powered legacy trainers, they are outlawed or there is enough electric tax advantage/rebates to make the playing field even. blane.c Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Welcome to communism. Practicality and economic viability have nothing to do with it. Gas planes will be outlawed and those that are not outlawed will be taxed into a corner that allows electric to be artificially less expensive. Hot Wings Grumpy Cynic HBA Supporter Log Member Is there a significant difference in the training of instructors in the US and here in Canada? I really can't comment without some research. I know my brother got a 'pass' on that part of his CFI because he has a teaching degree. I do know that many instructors here seem to have forgotten, or simply disregard, whatever they were taught in this area to get their CFI. From your link: "Learning 6. No one ever learns except through their own activity and there is, strictly speaking, no such art as teaching, only the art of helping people to learn." In FULL agreement with this. The word teach, as it is conmanly used (teach = impart or bestow knowledge), is an activity that is impossible to do. Pops Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Log Member I never took the FAA check ride for my instructor rating. A friend started a flight school with a lot of international students. Realized people are just to complex for me. Animals are easier. Never forget the mad Russian. Told him fighting instructions had an extra charge. PredragVasic Well-Known Member Welcome to communism. Practicality and economic viability have nothing to do with it. Gas planes will be outlawed and those that are not outlawed will be taxed into a corner that allows electric to be artificially less expensive. But this is precisely what you have today in the USA, with the colossal tax breaks for the oil industry. USA subsidises its fossil fuel industry by a huge margin, so that the retail price for fuel is half that of EU, where a US gallon of 100LL averages$12.

One could argue, the battery-electric industry is fighting with one hand tied behind its back (or, more precisely, fist-fighting against fossil fuels industry that’s fighting with a knife or a gun).

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Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
But this is precisely what you have today in the USA, with the colossal tax breaks for the oil industry. USA subsidises its fossil fuel industry by a huge margin, so that the retail price for fuel is half that of EU, where a US gallon of 100LL averages $12. One could argue, the battery-electric industry is fighting with one hand tied behind its back (or, more precisely, fist-fighting against fossil fuels industry that’s fighting with a knife or a gun). Obviously, direct and indirect govt subsidies are a very complex issue. But If we are looking for the heavy hand of government, we can start with this" In the US, the federal tax on gasoline for motor fuel is 18 cents per gallon. States add to that. In the EU, the average tax on gasoline is$2.35 per gallon.

This difference is enough to account for nearly the entire difference in retail gasoline prices. Not a US government subsidy for gasoline, but an EU tax designed to mold/ influence/control behavior.

Unless we invoke some sort of Newspeak where perceived failure to tax "enough" is now a "subsidy."

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PredragVasic

Well-Known Member
Well, in addition to that tax difference, there are special tax breaks of all sorts, amounting to at least $10 billion (and by some researchers, up to$53 billion) per year for fossil fuel industry that simply don’t exist in the EU countries.

USA tends to strongly financially support its fossil industry, as it is currently its biggest energy source. Those who work in the renewable energy industry face stiff competition that is strongly supported by the government.

This is why it is quite likely that the electric airplanes will first start selling well in the EU (where the cost of fuel is a significantly higher component of the TCO). Quite a lot of development in this field is actually happening over there anyway.

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
One could argue, the battery-electric industry is fighting with one hand tied behind its back (or, more precisely, fist-fighting against fossil fuels industry that’s fighting with a knife or a gun).
The electric vehicle promoters are their own worst enemies. They make big claims that turn out to be based on currently non-existent, often speculative technologies. They fail to point out charging current needs and charge times. They loudly advise us of the advantages without mentioning the disadvantages, and interested folks find out the truth elsewhere, which now makes them suspicious of the whole electric propulsion idea.

And until they can come closer to the range of an ICE vehicle, they aren't going to sell vast numbers. The FF industry has nothing to do with that. Further, some people prattle on about FF industry tax breaks and subsidies; what about the free charging stations everywhere, paid for by the taxpayers? Is that fair?

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Well, in addition to that tax difference, there are special tax breaks of all sorts, amounting to at least $10 billion (and by some researchers, up to$53 billion) per year for fossil fuel industry ...
Yes. I recall back in the 1970s the math would generally attribute some huge portion of the DoD budget to the need to maintain access to mideast oil ("If it weren't for the need to access that oil, we would need XX fewer fighter squadrons, x fewer divisions,..." ) They'd get the "real" price of gasoline up to \$10/gal. The US is now not dependent on those oil sources and those promised DoD savings were apparently illusory. I'll await the retrospective corrections by the experts.
The subsidy/tax game is a complicated one.

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
One could argue, the battery-electric industry is fighting with one hand tied behind its back (or, more precisely, fist-fighting against fossil fuels industry that’s fighting with a knife or a gun).
Speaking of fighting and government subsidies (tangible subsidies, not the absence of a confiscation of the benefit of productive work) see https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2020/10/pdf/pr-2020-104-en.pdf

Our hobby is subsidized, too, by local governments, state governments, and the imperial government.

BJC

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Bunch deleted. Getting too political..............
The squeaky wheel gets the grease subsidies.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Sport Pilot was promised to cut training in half and grow. Almost two decades of neglect and that didn't happen.
Electric isn't even allowed.

dog

Well-Known Member
One of you introduced me to the concept that all design processes are iterative.For which I am greatfull.
Batteries are bieng developed at what could
very well be an unprecidented number of variants and then iterations in all
of human endevor.
I think that everyone can see two things,
one ,that battery teck is at the cusp of bieng
used in aviation with current teck,and two ,that
in order for batteries to replace liquid fuels requires an increase in capacity of 10x ,which is currently at the level of primary research,and not even in experimental trials.
Though as physics and chemistry allow for very large energy density and the research tools get smaller and much cheaper ,we are aproaching a million phd candidates with a million scanning electron microscopes.
And the simple fact that every single one of us is pushing for a better battery,with a longer life
and faster charging at a lower cost, and we all spend significant sums on the stuff that we complain about now,of course for the simple reason that we are all utterly dependent on battery teck now.
As near as I can tell ,all of the efforts towards a
an electric aircraft are hedging there bets because of the critical scruteny and that the teck is moving so fast that there is a danger of commiting to old and orphaned non competitive teck.

rv6ejguy

Well-Known Member
Otto's brilliant "Celera 500L" as shown on website below desperately needs a 550 HP MagniX green electric-motor to totally eliminate those two shockingly hideous-looking air-intake scoops on top of the rear-fuse......
Otto pitches a beautiful smooth laminar flow front-end at us , then shows us a dog's breakfast rear-fuse!
Gotta keep the smoothness going,.....

I don't think you appreciate the amount of intercooling required with a high HP diesel at altitude. Due to the very high pressure ratios required (about double that of an SI engine), the compressor discharge temps are very high. There won't be any laminar flow this far back on the fuselage anyway. You need massive intercooler cores and a lot of air to feed them plus these also feed the rads.

The engineers knew what they were doing here. They have a good shape to the ducts and proper variable geometry exit doors to minimize cruise drag. With this big V12, the heat exchanger space and packaging present real challenges. They have the best compromise here IMO.