Aviation

Electric Air Taxis may be a Reality Sooner than Expected thanks to German Startup Lillium

Imagine stepping out of your office and onto the street. Your taxi has arrived, ordered a few minutes earlier through an app on your smartphone. Your taxi is all electric and can travel up to 186 miles on a single charge. You get in, shut the door and fly away? While this may seem like a scenario from the distant future, the small German startup Lillium is pushing for this to be the norm sooner than you may think. According to Lillium, their all-electric air taxi service will be up and running in multiple cities around the world as early as 2025. Their service plans to link multiple landing pads in various cities and will accommodate up to five travelers at a time. While the company is keeping the lid on tight with regard to how much fares will cost, the company’s Chief Commercial Of...

Flying Taxi Firm Kitty Hawk Gets a Partner: Boeing

The topic of (so-called) flying cars and electric, drone-like ride sharing platforms keeps coming up in conversations about the future of travel, regardless of whether or not that topic makes any sense. The latest one of these to attract media attention is Kitty Hawk, whose Cora air taxi division is developing a VTOL-capable, all-electric air taxi for the near future. They’ve done a lot more than attract media attention this time, however. They’ve attracted a big-time commercial partner: Boeing. “Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, in a written statement that may or may not be dripping with irony after the recent media ...

Harbour Air Set to Become First All-electric Airline

Harbour Air recently announced plans to convert its fleet of over 30 seaplanes to electric power with help from motor builder, MagniX. Each of the fleet’s current ICE engines will be replaced with a Magni500 electric motor packing an astonishing 750 (seven-hundred and fifty) HP! “Harbour Air first demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007 (through the purchase of carbon offsets),” explains Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air. “Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion. We are e...

HondaJet Elite is the Most Delivered Aircraft in its Class

Nothing says “luxury” like a private jet; nothing says “reliability” like a Honda — that’s why the aptly named HondaJet Elite is a work of ground-breaking innovation. Its light weight allows it to simultaneously manage to be the most fuel efficient and fastest jet in its class. It’s also, arguably, the overall best jet in its class, managing to be as comfortable, luxurious, and safe as anything else out there. That level of innovation and excellence comes at a price, however. The Elite, coming in at $5.25 million, is around twice the price of competitors of the same class. Still, Honda continues in its founder’s spirit of efficiency, and the market has spoken. The HondaJet Elite was the Most Delivered aircraft in its class for the first half ...

EasyJet Says Electric Airplane Service Could Begin Within A Decade

European carrier EasyJet says it expects to begin using an electric airplane in commercial service for flights of less than 300 miles within 10 years. It is working closely with US company Wright Electric to design such an airplane.

Martine Rothblatt Creates First Full Size Electric Helicopter

Serial entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt has linked up with Tier 1 Engineering to create the world's first full size electric helicopters. She says she was inspired by Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. She owns 7 Teslas herself.

Electric Airplanes Getting Closer To Reality

DARPA and Zee Aero are both working on electric airplanes. Both use electric motors, large rear wings and smaller canard wings in front. DARPA expects a prototype of its plane to fly in 2018.

Electric Plane Controversy — If Jerry Springer Had An Electric Plane Show

Okay, it may not be that wild, but there’s been a bit of controversy in the world of electric aviation as of late. A French pilot, Didier Esteyne, believed he set a record for being the first pilot to fly in a battery-powered plan across the English Channel — hopping from one shore to another (or one runway to another, as it may be) with all of the energy coming from batteries. However, another French pilot, Hugues Duval, seemed to have been eavesdropping on Didier Esteyne’s plans or something and hopped across the Channel first — just a day before Didier — in his Cri-Cri electric plane. Hair pulling, clawing, bird-like screaming, “yo mama” jokes, and minor stabbing followed. Jerry Springer tried to calm Didier and Hugues down while giving them som...

Solar Impulse EV Airplane Aiming For New York-To-California Flight In 2013

Do solar electric vehicles have a future...in the sky? Some innovative aero-engineers seem to think so, and they aim to prove the viability of their concept by flying across the U.S. using nothing but the sun for power. The Switzerland-based Solar Impulse team is aiming for make a sun-powered flight across the continental U.S. sometime in the next year.

Solar Powered Plane to Fly the World In 2014

Some analysts have said that we are about to enter a golden age of solar technology, as the cost of solar electricity and installations becomes increasingly competitive with established fuel sources. But will we ever use solar power to fly? A team comprised of engineers and adventurers wants to build the first plane to circumnavigate the world solely on solar power. Bring Your Sunglasses A tall order, to be sure, but solar-powered transportation has been gaining ground in recent years as solar cells become more efficient and batteries are engineered store more energy in less space. A solar-powered boat is currently sailing the world, and by 2014 the Solar Impulse team hopes to launch a plane that can fly by day or night solely on solar power. Founded in 2003 by Bertrand Piccard (whose fami...

Video: Hovering Robotic Electric “Aero Train”

While the debate in America rages over the future of high speed rail, Japan is still looking for ever more futuristic ways to get around. The latest idea; a hovering “Aero Train” that floats above the ground. This is like something out of the Jetsons. The Aero Train is a ground-effects vehicle…kind of like a combination between a Harrier VTOL jet and a hovercraft. Using electrically-powered motors, the aero train hovers just inches above the ground, eliminating any rolling resistance and allowing for a smooth ride and allowing for speeds of up to 124 mph. While the idea of an airplane/train hybrid is nothing new, the unique setup of the Aero Train sounds promising, if not in any way practical. A U-shaped channel that the Aero Train travels down would control air flow and provide the Aero T...

MIT “Double Bubble” Plane Uses 70% Less Fuel

Air travel is often hailed as the safest form of travel, and there is something to be said for getting where you need to go in a hurry. Of course, to cruise six miles or more above the Earth going hundreds of miles per hour requires highly combustible jet fuel. Lots and lots of it. A Boeing 747-8 can carry up to 64,000 gallons of jet fuel and, depending on how fast it flies, can burn through over three-thousand gallons of fuel per hour. No matter what you say about efficiency-per-passenger, that is a whole lotta jet fuel. Everybody knows it, including NASA, which enlisted six research teams to design a more efficient aircraft. A team led by researchers at MIT came up with a plane they call the “double bubble” that is supposed to reduce fuel consumption by 70%.

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