The Solar Impulse has made significant progress toward its aim of being the first solar-powered aircraft able to fly at night. The team initiated by famous balloonist Bertrand Piccard began construction of the 200-foot-wingpsan prototype just four weeks ago. Flight tests should start next year.
The ultra-light Akoya, an original amphibian twin-seater, is to make its first flight by this summer. The Akoya can takeoff from land, water or even snow thanks to innovative features, Lisa Airplanes CEO Erick Herzberger explained to EBACE Convention News. Simultaneously, the Chambery, France-based company is working on a fuel-cell powered aircraft, the Hy-Bird.
Securaplane Technologies of Tucson, Ariz., has announced the availability of a sealed lead-acid battery for Gulfstream IIIs and IVs and Falcon 2000/2000EXs. The EnerSys Hawker battery is a direct replacement for the Ni-Cad battery and does not require any modification to the existing charger or battery-temperature system on the aircraft.
One of the technologies that Honeywell says promises to revolutionize aircraft design is something known as “more electric architecture” (MEA). This “breakthrough” technology will replace much of today’s heavy and maintenance-intensive pneumatic and hydraulic fluid and power systems, enabling OEMs to design aircraft with lighter, simpler and more reliable “electric” systems instead of miles of tubing, pumps and valves.
Rolls-Royce is now exploring future engine technologies that, although challenging, are key to the ambitious Advisory Council for Aerospace Research in Europe (ACARE) goals for 2020 in terms of nitrous oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission cutting and noise reduction. These technologies range from heat exchangers to shape memory alloys and magnetic bearings.
The dream of solar-powered, long-distance flight is taking shape. Bertrand Piccard, one of the two pilots who became famous with the first round-the-world balloon flight, yesterday introduced a model of a sun-powered, single-pilot airplane that could fly in 2008. The latest design update of the Solar Impulse aircraft, shown here at the Paris Air Show, included noticeable design changes since program launch late in 2003.
Noise and vibrations continue to be the focus of several research projects in Europe. For instance, the pan-European Sefa and ABC projects are targeting external aircraft noise and passenger comfort on airliners and helicopters, respectively. French-funded Dyna is trying to better understand engine aeroelasticity and behavior under impact. Several manufacturers, as well as research institutes, are involved in these programs.
The Quebec government will provide Montreal-based Pratt & Whitney Canada $250 million in “reimbursable support” for research and development over the next three years. The company said it will use the money for jet engine design, validation and integration, as well as for improving engine performance, reducing weight and lowering customer costs.
Aircraft fuel efficiency depends on many factors, not all of them directly controllable by operators. These include available technology, infrastructure capacity and safety, legal and environmental constraints. There are also many tradeoffs among emissions, noise and other design requirements.