Honest reporting on electric airplanes

Datadriver

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Datadriver
This video is the first from a major news outlet I've seen that dares burst the bubble on electric airplanes. Finally some honest reporting
Video link
 
This looks pretty much the same as every piece of credible reporting I've seen. To say "Finally some honest reporting" you must have really been cherry-picking what you've been looking at.

Nobody with an ounce of intelligence thinks we're going to be flying to Istanbul in electric airliners any time soon.
 
With just over 2% of Co2 emissions attributed to aviation, I think they’re looking for a solution to a nonexistent problem. Far bigger contributors to global warming to go after.

As far as an alternate to fossil fuels, I’m all about that but it better be cheaper. This Alice aircraft which hasn’t even come close to its range projections, will only fit a very niche market. Even then, I’d be interested in seeing a cost breakdown on it vs a PC12 or a C208.
 
Currently, an EMP would only disable the aircraft's electrical systems, since the spark generated for the engine is produced by magnetos. If we move to the entirety of the propulsion system generated electrically, an EMP would cause the engine to stop functioning. Now, airplanes wouldn't just fall out of the sky, but they would turn into gliders, but this, in my estimation is the largest oversight of the entire electric airplane argument.
 
Currently, an EMP would only disable the aircraft's electrical systems, since the spark generated for the engine is produced by magnetos. If we move to the entirety of the propulsion system generated electrically, an EMP would cause the engine to stop functioning. Now, airplanes wouldn't just fall out of the sky, but they would turn into gliders, but this, in my estimation is the largest oversight of the entire electric airplane argument.

I'm not saying you're wrong but how many huge EMPs have you encountered recently?
 
in my estimation is the largest oversight of the entire electric airplane argument.
FYI: EMP protection is not part of any civilian aircraft certification I've ever seen. However, HIRF, EMI, RFI mitigation has been part of aircraft certifications for quite some time so no oversight on the part of the regulatory authorities. But keep in mind most commercial aircraft use some sort of FBW, FADEC or other types remote systems so if an EMP happens it will turn all those into gliders or in some cases flying bricks.
 
Currently, an EMP would only disable the aircraft's electrical systems, since the spark generated for the engine is produced by magnetos. If we move to the entirety of the propulsion system generated electrically, an EMP would cause the engine to stop functioning. Now, airplanes wouldn't just fall out of the sky, but they would turn into gliders, but this, in my estimation is the largest oversight of the entire electric airplane argument.
Well it doesn’t have to be an electric plane. There are turbine engines with no mechanical linkage to the fuel pump (HMU). All FBW.

Edit: what @Bell206 said.
 
I'm not saying you're wrong but how many huge EMPs have you encountered recently?
Well, let’s see now… jk

Obviously, the historical risk factor is low, but with our world seemingly on the constant brink of falling apart, the future risk seems to be higher than the historical risk.

How many engine failures have I experienced? None, but the longer I fly, the future risk is always higher than the past risk (until you actually have one) due to the fact that past risk is zero. That doesn’t mean that I freak out every time I fly, but it means that I need to be aware of, and plan for that possibility. You don’t retract the gear and then rip out the breaker for it because “look I’m flying!” That seems to be the mentality though of the Eplane world. “Look, we can do this thing. Let’s throw out the safety net.”

If they want to adopt the parallel hybrid, that’s fine because you still have the safety net there if something on the electric side fails.
 
The first honest analysis (known to me) on applicability of alternative energy was made in USSR, by Piotr Kapitza in 1975. Solar, wind, fuel cells, hydro, geothermal are all suffering from low density of the energy flux. https://vivovoco-astronet-ru.transl...uto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=wapp But easy FED money made wonders and so we see all these "solutions" for non existing problem. From tesla roofs to weird looking electric flying coffins and wind turbines smallpoxing the mother Earth
 
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Well, let’s see now… jk

Obviously, the historical risk factor is low, but with our world seemingly on the constant brink of falling apart, the future risk seems to be higher than the historical risk.

How many engine failures have I experienced? None, but the longer I fly, the future risk is always higher than the past risk (until you actually have one) due to the fact that past risk is zero. That doesn’t mean that I freak out every time I fly, but it means that I need to be aware of, and plan for that possibility. You don’t retract the gear and then rip out the breaker for it because “look I’m flying!” That seems to be the mentality though of the Eplane world. “Look, we can do this thing. Let’s throw out the safety net.”

If they want to adopt the parallel hybrid, that’s fine because you still have the safety net there if something on the electric side fails.

I would suggest that the chance of failure in a piston engine is many, many times higher than that of an electric motor - even if slightly more susceptible to a highly unlikely EMP, I think the net reliability change is a big positive when moving to electric.
 
...Not to mention that after a major EMP event, the distribution system for liquid fuels is likely to be significantly disrupted. Diesel trucks may not be affected (though the starters may be) but the pumps involved are likely to fail. Even if the motors survive, many pumps have computer controls.

Ron "Where's that handy-billy" Wanttaja
 
A sufficiently strong EMP might well induce enough current to fry the coils in a magneto. However, if that happens I suspect a forced landing will be the least of my worries.
 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN did experiments on the feasibility of nuclear powered aircraft.


Those test towers are still standing, fairly close to our E TN home.
 
JimK- I thought about coal, but living in South Ga, we have an abundance of pine trees and zero coal mines.
 
An EMP event will clear the deck for all aviation....not just the new AAM vehicles. As for the new air vehicles.....they are toys with little utility. They currently are scrambling to "add" range by adding duel fuel or hybrid systems.
 
As far as an alternate to fossil fuels, I’m all about that but it better be cheaper.
The alternative that we need to focus on is renewable, carbon-neutral gas/diesel/ethanol.

The carbon increase problem has nothing to do with the use of internal combustion. The problem is the fuel source.

When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon compounds that have been sequestered undergound for millions of years. This is the reason that fossil fuels are bad for the environment.

In contrast, when we create ethanol from a plant, the plant's carbon came from the atmosphere when it grew, so the net carbon impact can be very close to zero, especially if renewable energy is used to power the production processes.

We don't need electric vehicles. We need net-zero fuel for the vehicles we already have
 
Have another cup of Kool-Aid.
If you believe CO2 is the great bugaboo, then I suggest you investigate the actual carbon footprint of corn liquor fuel--from planting to irrigation to fertilization to harvest to fermenting to distillation to finished product. In the end you're still burning an evil hydrocarbon and releasing the deadly CO2. From an total carbon footprint, I'll bet natural gas has a lower carbon footprint.

The energy density of the fuel is also a factor. Ethanol has an energy density of 27MJ/kg. Methane has an energy density of 50MJ/kg. So you have to burn twice the amount of ethanol to get as much work done as burning the same amount of methane.
 
The alternative that we need to focus on is renewable, carbon-neutral gas/diesel/ethanol.

The carbon increase problem has nothing to do with the use of internal combustion. The problem is the fuel source.

When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon compounds that have been sequestered undergound for millions of years. This is the reason that fossil fuels are bad for the environment.

In contrast, when we create ethanol from a plant, the plant's carbon came from the atmosphere when it grew, so the net carbon impact can be very close to zero, especially if renewable energy is used to power the production processes.

We don't need electric vehicles. We need net-zero fuel for the vehicles we already have
I’m all about alternative fuels but none of them are on par as fossils fuels for cost & efficiency. Many hurdles for Efuels to become mainstream.
 
I’m all about alternative fuels but none of them are on par as fossils fuels for cost & efficiency. Many hurdles for Efuels to become mainstream.
Absolutely true.

Lots of work is being done in this area, with a number of trial production facilities being started up. Biodiesel is in mass production and use in Texas. Formula One is going to net-zero fuels in 2026.

Net zero synthetic fuels are a whole lot closer to viability than EVs, though. Battery technology is nowhere near the density and charge rate that is necessary for large-scale transportation, but synthetic gas and biodiesel are viable today, if we can get production costs to a reasonable level.
 
Familiar enough to know I can only use up to b-20 in a 2018. That's still 80% regular diesel. And if I can find it it's more expensive.
 
...Net zero synthetic fuels are a whole lot closer to viability than EVs, though. Battery technology is nowhere near the density and charge rate that is necessary for large-scale transportation, but synthetic gas and biodiesel are viable today, if we can get production costs to a reasonable level.
Also, EVs will not be net zero unless and until electricity production becomes net zero. I've heard that electric power plants are about twice as efficient as internal-combustion engines, but that's still not net zero.
 
Also, EVs will not be net zero unless and until electricity production becomes net zero. I've heard that electric power plants are about twice as efficient as internal-combustion engines, but that's still not net zero.
True.

Ideal situation is charging at home via solar. That’s about as good as it gets.
 

The “honest” assessment has been around awhile. It doesn’t stop hucksters from raising $ for the next quadcopter Air Uber/Lyft.
 
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The “honest” assessment has been around awhile. It doesn’t stop hucksters from raising $ for the next quadcopter Air Uber/Lyft.

:yeahthat:
Electric airplanes are the alpacas of aviation.

Every article I read in the popular aviation press says glowing things and promises a bright future and ends with something like "As soon as higher capacity batteries become available." OTOH, everything I read in the engineering press says the required battery capacity is a long, long way off.

I have yet to see any aviation pub do a factual piece on battery technology.

The airplane companies are all raking in investor dollars and spending it on slick-looking prototypes with very limited capability. I don't see any of them investing in the core piece of enabling technology, or even discussing it other than saying "someday."
 
Also, EVs will not be net zero unless and until electricity production becomes net zero. I've heard that electric power plants are about twice as efficient as internal-combustion engines, but that's still not net zero.
EVs using grid energy from fossil fuel plants are nowhere near twice as efficient as a direct-applied ICE. In fact, they can't possibly come anywhere close.

1) Modern ICEs have now exceeded 50% thermal efficiency, and that energy is delivered directly to the vehicle, with only driveline losses. [https://www.greencarcongress.com/2021/02/20210226-nissanepower.html]
2) Transmission and distribution losses don't exist in ICE-powered vehicles, but run about 10-11% for the US grid (roughly evenly split between the transmission and distribution portions of the grid).
3) Even the most efficient combined-cycle gas plants barely crack 50% at peak, and on average don't achieve it: [https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=44436]
4) Battery charging and discharging losses are rarely if ever taken into account in the EV sales pitches. [https://insideevs.com/features/555906/tesla-charging-losses-explained/]
5) Battery self-discharge is a small but significant reduction in efficiency that is also rarely taken into account.
 
Yeah, don’t know any horses that can draw either, at least not well. Mr Ed could carry on a pretty good conversation with Wilbur, but don’t think he could pass his Class 3 medical. Plus, with the weight of the steam engine, he would probably be over gross on the RV 18 I’ve started in the garage.
 
Interesting. I didn’t know Global Fortune 500 companies were considered hucksters. But what I do know is that the UAM/AAM driven portion of the "e" aircraft industry is moving right along as planned.

Will it succeed? IMO and experience, yes. At what rate will its success move at? I think it will be a bit slower than the predictions are indicating, but once it proves itself both operationally and financially, I think it will grow at a much faster rate than predicted.

And no, it does not include “electric airliners” or "electric Tecnams" as those ventures are much newer and have not been part of the decades long UAM/AAM transport concept currently moving forward in a number of countries. But you won’t have to wait long.

I believe there are 3 companies that will start provisional public eVTOL flight ops this year, and the FAA/EASA will complete their certification process on several powered-lift aircraft in 2025. Interesting times ahead.
 
How willing do you think the general public will be to step into an all electric, autonomous drone that acts like a taxi in large cities?
 
How willing do you think the general public will be to step into an all electric, autonomous drone that acts like a taxi in large cities?
Under 25 won’t even bat an eye over it.
 
A sufficiently strong EMP might well induce enough current to fry the coils in a magneto. However, if that happens I suspect a forced landing will be the least of my worries.
The mag would likely survive. Its "antenna" is the coil core and it's pretty small.

The Soviets knew that vacuum-tube electronics would be resistant to EMP. Everything in a tube circuit is extremely massive compared to transistorized stuff. The latest circuitry is on the molecular level and it would take very little EMP to cook something, and there is a lot of something to cook. One little break is enough.

The MiG-25 that Viktor Belenko defected to Japan with in 1976 had vacuum-tube technology. The US took possession of the airplane and examined it closely. From Wikipedia:

  • The majority of the on-board avionics were based on vacuum-tube technology, more specifically nuvistors, not solid-state electronics. Although they represented aging technology, vacuum tubes were more tolerant of temperature extremes, thereby removing the need for environmental controls in the avionics bays. With the use of vacuum tubes, the MiG-25P's original Smerch-A (Tornado, NATO reporting name "Foxfire") radar had enormous power, about 600 kilowatts. As with most Soviet aircraft, the MiG-25 was designed to be as robust as possible. The use of vacuum tubes also made the aircraft's systems resistant to an electromagnetic pulse, for example, after a nuclear blast. They were also presumably used to provide radiation hardening for the avionics.[37][38]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
 
When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon compounds that have been sequestered undergound for millions of years. This is the reason that fossil fuels are bad for the environment.
And where did those underground carbon compounds come from? From prehistoric plants and animals. Where did they get it from? The atmosphere of the time, which had as much as 9000 PPM of CO2. Compare that to today's level at a little over 400 PPM, or less than 1/20th of CO2 levels when the earth was covered in lush greenery and animal life exploded. The earth did not burn up.
 
How willing do you think the general public will be to step into an all electric, autonomous drone that acts like a taxi in large cities?
Current powered-lift regulations require a pilot. While somewhere in the distant future it may move to remote pilots, I dont think pilotless ops are even an option at this point for various reasons.

But from all the surveys and report data I've seen and heard about, it averages out to be 50+% of the public will fly in a piloted eVTOL: about 30-40% in the 1st year of operation raising up to 60-70% after the 1st year of ops. There have been quite a few studies on this globally at many different levels as it was instrumental in what direction the industry moved.

Under 25 won’t even bat an eye over it.
Interestingly, age was not a big qualifier in who would fly in one. Urban vs rural residency and cost vs time saved were the big drivers listed in a number of reports.
 
And where did those underground carbon compounds come from? From prehistoric plants and animals. Where did they get it from? The atmosphere of the time, which had as much as 9000 PPM of CO2. Compare that to today's level at a little over 400 PPM, or less than 1/20th of CO2 levels when the earth was covered in lush greenery and animal life exploded. The earth did not burn up.
No, of course not. It was not a suitable envronment for humans, however.

Regardless, the global political environment leaves us at a point where we must play the game. That means finding and forcibly implementing better solutions than battery-powered toy cars, trucks, and planes.

I, for one, would rather see synthetic fuels than an outright ban on ICE-powered transport. Don't kid yourself - that is what the tree-huggers and socialists intend to implement.
 
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