Motorbike, jet ski, snowmobile, jet pack…

Welcome to the future: New Zealand approves permit for jet pack20130813-225616.jpg

“It’s essentially a motorbike in the sky, so I imagine anyone who has a snowmobile or a jet ski, this is going to be something they’re going to want in their garage,” CEO Peter Coker told the New Zealand Herald.

. Well… Maybe…

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An Electric Air about them

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Flying hybrid: This two-seater electric-gas airplane may be the first of many to take to the skies

Read more at MIT TR :Once a Joke, Battery-Powered Airplanes Are Nearing Reality20130709-183958.jpg

UVa’s Sustinere design for a 50-seat jet eschews batteries in favor of a turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) concept – two 2,500shp turboshaft engines under the wing generating electrical power to drive six 3,300lb-thrust fans arrayed in a duct that wraps around the upper fuselage.

Read more at AWST: Battery or Superconductor – FAA Picks Hybrid Winners20130709-184659.jpg

The EADS IW concept uses a single large turbine engine to generate electricity to power six ducted fans that provide thrust. This allows propulsive and thermal efficiency to be optimized separately. The turbine engine can be optimized for thermal efficiency (turning fuel into shaft power) while the ducted fans increase effective bypass ratio and therefore propulsion efficient (turning shaft power into thrust).

Read more at AWST : eConcept – EADS’s Hybrid-Electric Airliner20130709-185351.jpg

Two years after Honeywell and Safran announced plans to develop an electric-drive system, the team is preparing to demonstrate a proof-of-concept system on an Airbus A320 at this year’s Paris air show.

Read more at AWST : Electric Taxi Puts On A Show At Paris By Guy Norris20130709-190343.jpg

The result of close collaborations with Finmeccanica companies – Selex ES, Ansaldo Breda, and Ansaldo Energia – and partner companies from Italy, UK, U.S. and Japan, the aircraft embeds some unuque features: aesthetically pleasing styling and aerodynamically unique tiltrotor configuration; carbon graphite exterior surfaces; High-Integrity Flight Control Computer and Actuator Control Unit; custom produced electric motor inverter and motor control algorithm; axial flux permanent magnet electric motors.

Read more at : http://theaviationist.com/2013/03/21/project-zero-images/

From The ENGINEER: Bumble Bee Drones at War

The rise of the micro air vehicle
13 June 2013 | By Jon Excell
Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/in-depth/the-rise-of-the-micro-air-vehicle/1016519.article#ixzz2XeLGHbVs
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A soldier of The Queen’s Royal Lancers launches a Black Hornet, Nano UAV from a compound in Afghanistan during Operation QALB.

…one of the compelling advantages over larger surveillance UAVs such as the Reaper is that the system can ‘be tasked in a matter of seconds’, whereas a reaper might take half an hour to arrive at the scene.

…Prox Dynamics’ CEO and founder Petter Muren told The Engineer that the technology that appears on the PD100 is considerably more advanced than anything that would be found on a remote-controlled aircraft. The motors, servos and sensors are, he said, smaller and more efficient. The radio-link is more advanced, the system has fully integrated GPS, as well an autopilot system, and is far more robust.

And the beat, wing beat, goes on…
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From The ENGINEER // What a Beauty! A Bugatti designed aircraft could soon fly

The ENGINEER :In the wings: recreating the Bugatti 100P
20130629-184925.jpg20130629-184939.jpgAlmost eighty years ago aircraft design was still more art than science and what science there was revolved around slide rules and mechanical, even human, calculators, but they took chances and pushed boundaries.

This aircraft used the period’s (late ’30’s early ’40’s) advanced composite, plywood, made of hardwood and balsa wood as well as sophisticated aerodynamics to achieve a remarkable projected performance, 500 MPH, at a time when 300 was fighter fast. This aircraft had a cooling system similar to the breakthrough one in the P51 mustang, a half decade earlier, and the composites were used in the famous British strike bomber the Mosquito, also a half decade later. But the original of this remarkable aircraft never flew, being shipped out of the path of the oncoming Nazi army and ending up as decayed parts in the Experimental Aircraft Associations museum in Oshkosh WI. Now a team of enthusiasts are building a replica they expect to fly soon.

EADS eFan electric training aircraft

From: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/06/e-fan-electric-airplane20130619-072229.jpgA tiny ducted fan aircraft, only about 40 hp and it can do aerobatics, 1 hour touring around or about 30 min of loops etc.

People still say that battery technology is throttling eTech but I see huge amounts of work based an nano tech, material tech, graphene / carbon tech, etc which points to continued significant improvements in battery energy density etc for many years to come. Along with the rapid improvement in light strong structures, much of it fueled by carbon fibre technology, the improvements in electric propulsion, electronics, sensors, etc one wonders if the Jetsons are really all that far off…

Wired // Pilates PC-24 Jet Set Roughing it…next they’ll pu floats on it

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Pilatus Aircraft has been producing airplanes since the 1940s, but the Swiss firm’s newest model, the PC-24, is its first jet. Pilatus didn’t want to just be another jet maker. Instead, the company borrowed from its very successful single-engine turboprop, the PC-12, to create a jet that can do everything conventional business jets can do and fly in and out of relatively short, unpaved runways. Oh, and it has a big cargo door as well.

A short piece at Wired…not a real airplane yet, the above is one hell of a rendering. Pilatus’ world trotting PC-12 is the air ambulance of choice in the nether regions of the world…it’s also a preferred discrete ride for SOCom, one wonders what they will do with the PC-24?