EVIATION* Pioneers

randall-fishman-electraflyer-c    Randall Fishman, First On The U.S. Scene…

Electric Aircraft Corporation  http://www.electraflyer.com/ is an American aircraft manufacturer that was founded by Randall Fishman, a retired New Jersey jeweler. The company is based in Cliffside Park, New Jersey and specializes in the design and manufacture of electric aircraft under the ElectraFlyer brand name.

The company’s first product was the Electric Aircraft Corporation ElectraFlyer Trike, an ultralight trike powered by an in-house designed electric motor and battery pack. The company then started selling power train components to convert existing ultralights to electric power. The single-seat ElectraFlyer-C followed, using the same 18 hp (13 kW) electric motor and a converted Monett Moni motorglider airframe. The company is currently developing a new design intended for production, an all composite electric aircraft, the ElektraFlyer-X.

In 2008 Fishman won the http://August Raspet Memorial Award for his electric aircraft work. The award recognizes the “person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of light aircraft design” each year.

The late 2000s recession caused development of the company products to be delayed. In 2011 Fishman said, “The recession has made this not a great business right now. I have done okay because I have kept it small, selling a few complete trikes and many propulsion kits, meters and electronic controllers for people to modify their own ultralights.”

The company has the rights to develop the electric powered version of the http://Airsport Song

(from Wikipedia.com) 

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Dale Kramer — Canadian entrepreneur who long ago established a company that sold the Lazair, ultralight motor glider, which sold well and is well respected…

In 2011 he developed a prototype electric ultralight called the E-Lazair, and later an E-Lazair on floats.  The prototype was a great performer, based on this configuration:  2 Jobi JN-1 motors,  an Aerolastic 3 Blade Prop,  a 25 amp hour ‘pouch’ of LINIMAG Cobalt batteries (lithium nickel magnesium cobalt — a chemistry that allows more cycles than normal lithium) and a battery management system.  There was no regenerative charging, so the battery pack was charged ‘on the tarmac’ with four 20 amp dumb chargers (no programming) run by Honda generators.  Flight time was about 1/2 hour with a 15 minute reserve; charging time was 2.5 hours.  Not in production, but check out their other products:  http://lazairinfo.com/electric-lazair/fourteenth-pilot-report/

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Mark Bierle — Owner/developer of Thundergull, in Santa Margarita, CA,  a high-wing enclosed cockpit ultralight/or experimental aircraft.  In 2014 he was flying a prototype E-Gull with a Zero Electric Motorcycles motor… (We contacted Zero Motorcycles to purchase just a motor but they said they are no longer providing them for aviation use–DWR).

In an interview published by John Morris in Aviation Week Network in 2014 he lamented:

“Let’s face it, electric aircraft are still only marginally useful,” says Mark Beierle, owner of Earthstar Aircraft, who has experimented with different batteries, motors and propulsion systems for the last five years. “We started with golf cart batteries and model aircraft engines. They worked, but not well.”  

Now Beierle is flying a Joby Energy Inc. engine that he helped develop with 20-kilowatt output (about 27 hp), powered by two 2.8 kW hour lithium-polymer batteries from Zero Motorcycles. They allow an endurance of 40 minutes, although using a larger 11.4 kW hour battery allows the aircraft to stay up for 1 hr 10 min. An on-board charger allows the batteries to recharge in seven hours, but a larger ground unit can give a one-hour turnaround.

Beierle maintains that electric aircraft are now viable for sport aviation, given that a recent survey of ultralight pilots showed their average flights were only 40 minutes, with a minority claiming they stayed up for an hour.

So why haven’t they caught on? The batteries are expensive, he says, and just as with computer technology, buyers are putting off a decision into the future as they know the battery technology is advancing rapidly.

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Brian Carpenter —

Eric Raymond —

James Wiebe —

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Image result for george bye photogeorge-bye    George Bye– Mr. Bye is the Founder of Bye Aerospace, Inc, and more of a ‘heavy hitter than the builders above.

From his website: ‘He is the creative innovator behind the company with two decades of experience as an aerospace entrepreneur and executive. In early 2007 he founded Bye Aerospace, with a business plan to balance engineering services and internal research of advanced concepts.  Among the designs, which utilize advanced aerodynamics, composite structures and alternative propulsion systems are https://www.amazon.com/Circuits-Have-Known-Nuts-Bolts/dp/0615312373 two new solar-electric hybrid UAV concepts.  Previously, Mr. Bye launched and developed Aviation Technology Group, Inc., where he led the team designing the Javelin, a transonic two-seat advanced jet for military and civil utility.  Mr. Bye holds the design patent for the Javelin jet, U.S. patent D500,730 S, January 11, 2005. The Javelin first flew in September 2005 with further tests in 2006 and 2007.  Prior to the Javelin, Mr. Bye was T-6 JPATS turboprop trainer project manager for Flight Safety Services Corporation.  His responsibilities included installation planning of the ground-based training systems.  Following his service in the U.S. Air Force he was an instructor pilot subject matter expert in the analog avionics to digital avionics modernization program (AMP) for the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter in the mid-1990’s.  Mr. Bye holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington, and an Airline Transport Pilot rating with over 4,000 flying hours.  His varied flight experience includes the supersonic Northrop USAF T-38 where Mr. Bye flew as an instructor pilot in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard AFB and the C-141B strategic cargo transport as a USAF and Aircraft Commander IP, including service in Desert Storm.’ Learn more about George Bye at   http://www.georgebye.com

In 2013, Mr. Bye co-spearheaded Cessna’s electric aviation experimental 172… and ushered its completion and several test flights.  I interviewed a Cessna/Textron public relations manager at the Sun N’ Fun airshow in 2015, who told me that the main technical problems were that the 172 became very heavy, and its limited range was due largely to the Cessna’s stock aerodynamic profile — not slick enough.  Planned solar wings and wingtip generators weren’t installed.

electric-cessna-in-flight

Mr. Bye went on t0 form Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation and build and test the “Sun Flyer Electra One”  light sport, one seat aircraft.  Based on an airframe from Europe, the plane uses regenerative power from wing mounted solar panels to put energy back into the battery pack, which powers an electric motor.  Not publically known how effective this was — and would be most effective in sun-drenched climates, or above the clouds.

PC Aero is now based in Germany — and the Elektra One has made an Alps crossing, (over them, in the air, not with Sherpas).  Amazing.

In 2014 Mr. Bye has moved his operation (and vision) to Florida: and formed AEAC, Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation to produce the two seat “Sun Flyer” and bring it to market. They said, “We intend to serve general aviation by providing a clean, renewable energy, solar-electric training aircraft. As a privately-held Nevada Corporation, the company is headquartered near Denver, Colorado and is working closely with its founding and contract partner, Bye Aerospace.  Deposits for 65 of the trainers have been made. 

Check out this speech from CEO, George Bye at the Sun Flyer Roll out Event on May 11, 2016:

https://youtu.be/NCzv2rqpSOQ

This latest version of the Sun Flyer prototype is a Lightning LS-1 contructed by Arion Aircraft of Tennessee.  It will solve the aerodynamics problem nicely — looks like a flying Ferrari…

                                                                         Sun Flyer               sunflyer-fl-electriclightning-ls-1-sunflyer  Lightning LS-1

A 1.5 hour flight time is the goal.  FAA Approval will be the key to building and selling the aircraft.

Could our Turbine Regen System work on the Sun Flyer?  Yes, but it would be expensive and time consuming to engineer the system into that airframe, which is optimized aerodynamically for its range envelope as a trainer.

This is why we would like to have a larger aerospace firm purchase the patent (and our prototype) and develop their own longer-range electric aircraft.  Pioneers like George Bye are paving the way — FAA certification being an obstacle once again.

—All reports here are by Dale Robinson, CEO, ElectronAir LLC

*EVIATION Registered in US Patent and Tradmark Office No. 5,392,301