August 2017

  • AeroExpo UK
  • Flying Cars and Electric Aeroplanes – Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Palmers Farm Fly-in details

AeroExpo UK 1 – 3 June 2017

OK, it’s not Friedrichshafen, but AeroExpo at Booker is the major commercial GA event in the UK and I thought worth a visit.  In the event I found it a bit muted; not so many visitors or new exhibitors.  However there was some interesting stuff to see; here are my highlights.

First thing on walking from the car park was the Helicopter Challenge Cup in full swing (literally) with lots of small helis with people hanging out of the doors holding buckets on lengths of rope.

It all looked a bit chaotic but fun.  Maybe helicopters lend themselves more to these sort of antics than fixed wings?

There was a selection of aircraft from the posher end of GA on display, including an ostentatious ‘gold plated’ Diamond twin. (Click on the images below to enlarge them.)

‘Fun’ aeroplanes were represented by the Super STOL and Aviat Huskey

And of course some interesting kit aircraft were on show. You may recognise this guy?  Alongside the excellent Bristell, Tony and Farry were also showing a new and beautifully engineered variable prop.

The CAA had a tent full of representatives of their various GA relevant sections.  Amongst others I had an interesting chat with this lady representing the AirProx Board.  One good piece of information was that the excellent “Skyway Code” is going to be published on paper a bit later in the year.  Perhaps surprisingly as a computer buff, I hate reading on-screen and my printer won’t cope with printing out that many pages!

There was a used car aeroplane plot with a very interesting collection of aircraft in it.  Just turn up with a wodge of cash and fly away…  Here is a selection.

A few other stands caught my eye.  This is a ULPOWER Belgian aero engine.  Not a manufacture I’ve come across before and an additional choice beyond Continental/Rotax et.al.

I also had a good chat with the Aerobility Disabled Flying representative about adapted controls.  It turns out that to take advantage of relative push-pull and twisting strengths, the controls do not operate in the most intuitive way!  Certainly a cause worth supporting.

An interesting approach to hangaring your aircraft was on display by Aerocave; a marquee type hangar just big enough for the aircraft.  Put it behind a hedge and no one would know it’s there.

Finally, not strictly part of the event, but some pix of the vintage gliders in a hangar on site.  I have fond memories of flying in a Sedbergh as a kid. 🙂

Worth an afternoon visit, but I’m still looking forward to the LAA Sywell Rally.

Richard Griffiths

Flying Cars and Electric Aeroplanes

Thanks to my son working on one of the displays at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (29 June – 2 July 2017) I managed to blag an exhibitor’s pass for an interesting afternoon.  There was a significant aeronautical presence, ranging from some classy top of the range turbine singles in the static park (Pilatus PC-12 NG and Cessna 208B Grand Caravan) to flying-car concept mock-ups in the Future-Lab hall.  Of particular interest was the Magnus eFusion Sport aeroplane with Siemens SP45D propulsion system.  Some details on this below, but first – the flying cars!

The picture below shows the Italdesign & Airbus Pop.Up, described as “the first self-piloted, modular, fully electric, zero emissions passenger concept vehicle system.”

It comes as three bits: the passenger capsule, the ‘ground module’ (the wheeled bit the passenger capsule sits on) and the ‘air module’ (the four fan device hovering overhead).  No driver/pilot required; you plan your journey on a mobile-phone app and the system decides the best way of taking you.  The capsule may show-up sitting on the wheels, or fly in with the fans attached.  You sit there playing games on your mobile phone as the wheels and fans come and go autonomously depositing you at the required destination – next generation Uber!  Perhaps not available tomorrow, but Airbus have obviously spent some serious money on their shiny mock-up, so someone thinks that this may happen.  Actually there was another stand presenting the Neo X-Craft, as sort of scaled-up drone thing, so not just Airbus thinks this is future….

A real surprise was to see the prototype PAL-V Liberty in the flesh.  Described as “the world’s first commercially available flying car” it’s not just a concept – this one really does fly!

It is basically an autogyro combined with a three-wheel car.  The car (the Carver) was developed independently as a road vehicle; it tilts as it corners at 100 mph, so not a Reliant Robin!  The autogyro form factor, particularly when designed to be foldable, lends itself well to a roadable vehicle.  Alongside it was an expanded-polystyrene full-size mock-up of the production version.  Amongst other details the propeller has been improved with a simplified and more rigid folding mechanism (prototype on left, production design on right)

I want one!  Now I just have to find the €499,000 to put in an order… 😐

Magnus eFusion Sport aeroplane with Siemens SP45D propulsion system

All of the above was interesting, but I was particularly keen to see the Siemens powered electric aircraft.  This looks very relevant to LAA flying; an electric power-plant developed to fit a small airframe and capable of operating in realistic environments.  For example the propulsion system has been demonstrated towing a glider.  See video.

A particularly interesting aspect is the removable battery pack.  This deals with the current prolonged charging period for batteries – a problem for the current generation of electric cars. While one battery pack is in use, others can be charging up, and swapping the pack takes minutes.  See video.

It’s beginning to look as if internal combustion is going the way of the steam engine (though I suspect it’s demise will be lingering).  I even heard The Stig enthusing about electric cars on Radio 4 this morning!   It is great that as significant an engineering company as Siemens has started to think about how this will affect our sort of aircraft.  From their publicity material:

Siemens designed a safe and robust propulsion system, including the battery, for aviation use, optimized for the cost-sensitive categories of Very Light and Light Sport Aircraft.

A nice detail – a sticker on the aircraft:  

To track the development of this project, visit the website: siemens.com/press/electric-aircraft

Oh, and there were a few cars at the Festival of Speed too – here is my son pointing out his next birthday present (dream on….).

 

Richard Griffiths

Fly-in at Palmers Farm Saturday 5th August 2017

Tony is hosting his annual fly-in at his strip near Hailsham.  Members are invited to fly and drive in.  Food and drink provided free!  Visiting by air is strictly PPR.  For contact and other details download these briefing notes.

Upcoming Events

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.

Please suggest/volunteer to organize some more. :-)

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