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Thread: Electric Flying

  1. #11
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    Maybe the 'typical farmstrip' could install a diesel generator for charging aircraft

    [ducks!]

  2. #12
    Guys, I'm not an expert on the subject but we have to remember this is in its infancy. I don't doubt we have, or are very near to having, the tech. A lot of the stumbling blocks will be human greed; how can it be taxed etc.

    I honestly believe that e power is going to get more popular in the future and it'll catch up. Either way, as an overall society, we need to make changes in the way we make and use energy.

  3. #13
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    E power is hardly in its infancy. At the turn of the last century (c1900) electric cars were dominant, pre-dating and out-selling IC engined cars, holding speed records and in use as taxis.
    Recent developments in rare earth magnet motors and lithium batteries have yielded significant improvements, but the technology is limited by fundamental laws of physics.
    If E power is become useful for applications such as microlights, the power will not come from batteries. It may come from a small fusion reactor, or something similarly far off in terms of development.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Walsh View Post
    Maybe the 'typical farmstrip' could install a diesel generator for charging aircraft

    [ducks!]
    I see what you did there...
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  5. #15
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    Actually, I wonder what the cost would be for a solar/wind/battery energy generation and storage set up would be to support a clutch of, say, half a dozen electric SSDR machines with typical hobby usage.

    Anybody tried to work it out? Would it be big enough to need planning permission?
    The pilot formerly posting as MadamBreakneck
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  6. #16
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    Ok, here goes:
    If we assume 6 electric microlights will be flown once per week and each uses 30kwh per flight, we have an energy requirement of 180kwh per week or 26kwh per day, or just over 1kw.
    An onshore wind turbine might operates at an average of a quarter of its maximum output (e.g. approx 6 hours/day), so we would need a 4kw turbine. This is a realistic sized unit with a rotor diameter around 6' and costing under 2k.
    Solar panels might operate at an average of a tenth of their maximum output, so we would need a 10kw array. This would cover over 50m of hangar roof and cost between 5k and 10k.
    Of course, one could mix and match between the two.
    This is all good provided we are happy to charge the aircraft batteries slowly and leave them charging unattended. Most airfields don't like even a small trickle charger to be left unattended.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  7. #17
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    Interesting, so rapid charge would require separate storage batteries capable of delivering about 30kw to an individual aircraft for an hour or so (= 10 electric kettles). Alternatively the aircraft battery installations could be designed to be interchangeable and belong jointly to the club. Individual users could book them out, so to speak, so if one didn't want to fly that day then somebody else could have two flights. They'd be local flights, obviously, unless they persuaded someone to drive to the destination carrying a spare battery for the return journey.

    So it's plausible. Independent slow charging facilities could be available within the price range of an aircraft power battery, though rapid charging for occasional use could be a different issue.

    Our hypothetical electric fleet, were it to be realised, would doubtless best be stored separately from any petrol powered fleet, just in case
    The pilot formerly posting as MadamBreakneck
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  8. #18
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    30 KW of batteries for an hour. That is forty Horsepower. An hour's use of a 447, Not a 912. How big and heavy would 30 KW hours worth of batteries be?
    The one from my old Mercedes weighs about the same as an installed 447 and has a capacity of 95 Amp Hours at 13.2 Volts. 1254 Watt hours so twenty four of those will propel my SSDR for an hour.
    Yes, that is going to work.
    For my next trick, an orderly Brexit!

  9. #19
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    An easily removable, interchangeable and standardised battery would be an ideal way to manage a number of issues surrounding electric vehicles of all kinds. However, it is not the simple 'unplug and lift' operation one might imagine. The high power batteries required for electric vehicles have complex liquid cooling systems, which would need to be disconnected (without risk of leaking the special coolant - you don't want it on your skin!). Alternatively, the cooling arrangement could be part of the removable battery pack, but as the assembly becomes larger and heavier it also becomes more difficult to manage and to package for multiple applications.
    Tom, the battery from your old Mercedes (from your figures) is a lead-acid type. The batteries used in electric aircraft are Lithium-ion and much lighter.
    Re. 30kw, the discussion has been about what is possible. Of course, more powerful electric aircraft can be built, and they will require proportionally longer charge periods or higher charge current.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  10. #20
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    Let us assume an that the lighter battery weighs twenty per cent of my old lead acid, in line with the bomb that nearly destroyed my aircraft versus it's now replaced and reliable SLA equivalent. Can you now get the power pack to a practical size and weight to fit the proposed 600 kg microlight?

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