Siemens and EADS developing hybrid electric aircraft.

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Hybrid Power by Siemens and EADS

June 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Scientists and engineers seem to be working around the clock to find solutions and create innovative green technology that will reduce damage to the environment. In the motoring industry, vehicles such as the Chevy Volt, the Kisker Karma and the Toyota Prius have revolutionized efficient motoring options that are less costly to run, as well as being much quieter, reducing noise levels dramatically. Now, Siemens and EADS are working together to do the same in the aviation industry, in the form of the DA36 E-Star.

For the EADS and Siemens team there is only one goal in mind, and that is so create an aircraft that will reduce noise levels and emissions. Together they hope to be able to reduce the noise level of the DA36 E-Star by at least twenty-five percent. As reducing the noise levels while the aircraft is on the ground is most important, the team is looking at having the E-Star operate only on battery power while taxiing on the ground and during takeoff, while being able to run at an even speed while in the air. The concept will reduce the use of gas dramatically and reduce the noise level where it is needed most. Less fuel usage also means less emissions being released, and once pilots are in the air they can turn their aircraft into the direction they need to fly in, and be able to maintain a specific RPM while in the air, even though it does not offer the known stop-and-go options that are usually found in hybrid vehicles.

The gas engine that is located in the aircraft is solely to power up the battery that runs the motor, and therefore has no part in creating power for the engines of the aircraft. This gas engine will be an Austro Engine, which is a Wankel rotary engine, and able to provide forty horse power. The hybrid power will in turn provide power to the seventy kilowatt electric motor that is provided by Siemens. Other electric aircraft have been in existence, but are also striving to generate longer traveling distances on the battery power. It is hoped that continued work on the battery technology and drivetrain will enable the DA 36-E-Star to reach these goals.

Taxiing System Goes Green

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Safran and Honeywell will be undertaking a project to try to minimize emissions released into the environment while aircraft are taxiing. The new system will hopefully not only protect the environment but operational efficiency of the airlines will also be improved. If the project to create an electric taxiing system runs according to schedule, it is hoped that it can be fitted to new and existing aircraft by the year 2016. A memorandum between the two companies was signed recently, highlighting their commitment to the venture and this innovative system that will bring green systems to the runway.

The project plans to not only reduce carbon emissions but improve fuel consumption. The entire project is focused on the environment; however, it will save the airlines costs as well, making it a lucrative system for all involved. The unit will see to it that while the aircraft is on the ground, the engines will switch off and the Auxiliary Power Unit will switch on, generating power for electrical motors to move the aircraft while conducting ground operations. With emissions and cost reductions, aircraft can taxi along the runways without polluting the air or being reliant on fossil fuels to move. Not only will the airlines be benefitting from this innovation, but it is hoped that consumers will also profit from this system, reducing travel costs and therefore being a cost saving system for all.

The partnership between Safran and Honeywell is advantageous for both parties, as Safran has extensive knowledge and experience in regard to landing gear systems, while Honeywell hold the keys to unlocking auxiliary power. Both companies are known for their innovative improvements in the aviation industry through their mechanical systems, and by joining forces the aviation industry is guaranteed to receive a product that will bring great change to the world of aviation. Both sides have expressed their excitement to be working together and are positive that by combining their experience and strengths, the new system will be a breath of fresh air for aviation and produce a product that will be welcomed by everyone in the industry.

Testing of New GEnx-1B Boeing 787

June 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

There is a huge build up of excitement surrounding the new GEnx-1B Boeing 787 aircraft, as two of the aircraft are almost ready to undergo functionality, reliability and ETOPS evaluations. It is estimated that if all goes well, evaluations will be able to begin in July 2011. General Electric has confirmed that two Boeings, which are nearing the end of their certification tests, have amassed numerous flight hours. ZA005 and ZA006, which are GE-powered aircraft, have been performing better than expected and General Electric have expressed that they are pleased at the progress being made.

Boeing looks at complete flights in regard to the progress of the testing of an aircraft, and the aircrafts have therefore completed approximately two hundred and eighty flights, which means that over eight hundred hours of flight have been accumulated. Looking at General Electric statistics, the aircrafts have completed 1 150 engine flight cycles and more than one thousand five hundred engine flight hours. The aircraft now stand on approximately seventy percent completion of certification tests and eighty percent of tests conducted by Boeing. Boeing commented that they will begin reliability, functional and ETOPS tests by the end of June, before the aircraft go for final certification. They hope that if all goes according to schedule that the first aircraft, which was commissioned by All Nippon Airways with a Rolls Royce engine, can be launched by August or September. Bill Fitzgerald, the General Manager of the GEnx product line, commented: “We’re several weeks from entry-into-service of the GEnx-1B-powered 787 in October with Japan Airlines.”

In total, there are seven aircraft in the 787 test fleet, and all have accumulated close to four thousand flight hours. The aircraft with the most flight time, ZA001, is scheduled for undergoing maintenance, while ZA002 is now undergoing auxiliary power unit tests, and ZA003 is being inspected by being stripped down. The aircraft ZA004 is currently being upgraded with Package B Rolls Royce engines. General Electric, as engine manufacturers, are extremely excited to see the first aircraft being delivered to its first customers, and soon the Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be taking to the skies with their first passengers.

Tour the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

June 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

The USS Intrepid was nicknamed The Fighting “I” and was commissioned into military action in 1942, during World War II. She was used as an aircraft carrier and was instrumental in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After a short decommission, she underwent a modernization process and rejoined the United States Navy as an attack carrier in the 1950s. Intrepid also fulfilled a role as an antisubmarine carrier and participated in the Vietnam War. She also assisted the space industry by being the recovery ship for the Gemini and Mercury missions. Even though she was instrumental in various missions, she also spent a lot of time in the dry docks for repairs. She was officially decommissioned in 1974.

Intrepid was brought back into duty in 1982, not as the war machine she was originally but as a museum that is now known as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. As one of the most prolific war ships in the history of the United States, it is only fitting that she would become the vessel that would educate the public and visitors on the history of war. She also stands as a monument to all the soldiers who worked aboard her, as well as every soldier who fought in the same wars she did. Almost a million visitors walk aboard the Intrepid each year, and there are exhibits for both young and old to enjoy, also providing interactive exhibits and educational programs for school groups. The A-6 Cockpit Simulator is one of the most popular attractions in the museum, as well as the Fleet Week celebrations that are hosted by the museum to honor all military personnel.

The Hangar Deck is the heart of the Intrepid. It is the major indoor exhibit of the museum, as it takes visitors on an in-depth tour of the ship that has so much historical value. The Flight Deck goes hand in hand with the Hangar Deck, as it not only allows visitors to experience the adventure of discovering the bridges and islands of ship, but has a massive display of aircraft. Visitors are also allowed to explore the restoration tent where these historical aircraft are kept in pristine condition, and a concord is amongst the collection. The Exploreum Hall is an extension of these first two decks as it focuses on the history of the Intrepid, as well as zones made especially for children where space, life on the seas and in the air is highlighted. For those who have always dreamed of exploring a submarine, the Growler Museum will give them that opportunity, as well as a look at a missile command centre that was once a top secret facility. The Gallery Deck hosts the Pilot Ready Room, information on marine berthing and a variety of combat information. After exploring this massive ship, visitors to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum are invited to get a bite to eat at the mess deck or at the Au Bon Pain Café.