Have you ever wondered if electric aircraft is really possible? You have a long flight ahead of you are thinking about cruising at low altitude, but what will your flying experience be like with a Model Electric Aircraft (MME) in your hands? This is something many aspiring electric aircraft pilots want to know. Electric aircraft has the same lifting and maneuverability characteristics as a gas-powered engine. However, there are some major differences from a gasoline-powered engine.
By using electric motors instead of propellers to power plane engines, to reduce emissions in the air. Electric aircraft also means fewer hours for scheduled maintenance since electric engines only have to be overhaul 10 times a year versus the traditional (petrol) engines which need to be overhauls 100 times a year. The lower number of hours of required maintenance also cuts down on the amount of money needed to maintain the aircraft. These two combined will make it less expensive to operate an electric aircraft.
Electric aircraft have the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of fuel being burned for passenger transportation, and also reduce the amount of fuel required to propel the aircraft. This will in turn reduce the emissions released into the environment. With zero emissions, less carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere making it easier for the earth to preserve its natural balance. These facts combine to make electric propulsion a greener choice for both aviation and transportation.
Although a full sized electric aircraft hasn’t yet been flown, prototypes have been created and are now in use for testing purposes. They are much closer to being a reality than most people think. Electric powered vehicles will be a major part of the worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions years away. An early flight of a such a vehicle could take off as soon as next year.
In order to explain the process of EVTOL more clearly I would like to describe it in simple terms. EVTOL stands for, “Electronic throttle, Thumb Wheel Start, Vertical takeoff and landing”. It is technically correct to say, “Electronic throttle, Thumb wheel start and vertical takeoff” but it would be more accurate to say, “Electronic throttle, Start and Vertical takeoff”. In this example noertker is the electronic system which provides the electric power which allows you to start the aircraft from a standing start. The electric motors then give the power required to take off vertically.
Most modern passenger planes have flown using some form of wing-tip airfield inboard pusher engine, called the inboard electric engine. This technology was first developed and used on military aircraft in the 1950’s. Since then it has found application on light sport aircraft, and flying toys. Electric lift augers are used on small scale commercial aircraft and there are a number of reasons for this. The first being that it increases the efficiency of take off and landings by allowing the pilots to make several turns at once reducing the energy needed to complete one flight.
So if we were to launch an electric passenger plane from a static airfield into a powered up hover battery of some type would this technology allow us to do this? Well of course! In this article we will look at some of the applications that electric aircraft are able to use on a daily basis. To start with the obvious applications of electric lift augers on passenger planes would be for take off and landings at airports. There are two major limitations to this though, the first being that the batteries have a very short life, typically just lasting around sixty minutes, and the second being that the generated electricity needs to be stored somewhere, most often in the form of a series of deep cycle batteries.
Modern day electric fan driven fans have a much longer operational life than the in flight electric fan engines, some going up to two hours, but even then the efficiency ratio is not quite as good as traditional jet engines. The other big limitation is the weight of the aircraft, they need to be lightweight, and although this can be helped through the use of some lighter materials such as carbon fibre it still takes a lot of engineering know how to reduce the weight. One great example of this is the use of lithium batteries, these are lightweight and extremely reliable. A future flight fuel cell may well be part of the future of electric aircraft, although whether they will be as efficient as fuel powered engines is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that future aircraft will be able to switch to battery power more readily than they can switch to fuel powered engines, meaning that future electric commercial aircraft could have substantial battery packs on board.