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light aircraft engines

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light aircraft engines

Old 27th Nov 2021, 09:51
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Electrical systems

I was offered a self launching Silent motor glider by a retired KLM captain. I test flew it after a full briefing from the owner from Vinon and into the Alpes de hautes Provence; what the owner omitted to tell me that there was an ignition fault which would occasionally stop the engine accelerating above idle. A simple on off switch which interrupted the alternator field had been installed on the instrument panel.
I got very low at one stage and decided to use the engine which isnít the easiest operation nor the least stressful. It extended, started but wouldnít produce power until I played a one armed wallpaper hanger with the throttle and the switch.
The glider went back into the box and he flogged it to some other victim. I never attempted to use a glider motor in the mountains again.
Apparently the fault existed on all of that mark of motor glider.
Thanks Nic.
PS I was asked to become a partner and instructor on a series of microlight aircraft but turned it down; my would be partner crashed with the authoritiesí test pilot after the engine failed to start.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 10:07
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Originally Posted by lightonthewater View Post
I realise that old aircraft will have old engines, but given the complications and difficulties in managing them .....
I've spent thousands of hours flying turbocharged light twins. with both Lycoming and Continental engines.
They are not at all complicated or difficult to manage at all.......

Provided the person with that responsibility puts away the camera and concentrates on being a pilot instead of working on his next you tube chapter.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 13:05
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Originally Posted by Peter Fanelli View Post
Provided the person with that responsibility puts away the camera and concentrates on being a pilot instead of working on his next you tube chapter.
Hooray! Somebody agrees with me
Also true of students you tubing their 'journey' to being a pilot. I just want to say that their journey would be quicker and cheaper, and they'd maybe end up being better pilots. But what do I know?
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 17:23
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I think the transition to electric trainer is a done deal, it is only a matter of how long it is going to take to make the switch. Practical electric GA touring aircraft is a different story as the challenge of getting enough range to be useful, is considerable. However car companies are investing tens of Billions on battery technology so progress is inevitable.

I truly believe GA gasoline engines have no future so significant development of them is pointless. An interesting question is what to do with vintage aircraft. Harry and Megan drove off on their honeymoon in an electric Jaguar E type, is there an electric Chipmunk on the boards ?
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 17:30
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The future for ground based transport in the long term isn't electric, it's hydrogen.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 18:07
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Originally Posted by Heston View Post
The future for ground based transport in the long term isn't electric, it's hydrogen.
The market has spoken and it is battery electric technology.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 18:09
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@lightonthewater,

Like you I agree it seems crazy that in this day and age we are using the most basic engines in light aircraft, whose only "automation" is mechanical spark timing advance and fuel mixture tracking with mass airflow into the engine, (within the carburettor). Having to adjust the mixture and apply carburettor heat manually is incredibly crude - and not a long way on from early cars, in which this as well as ignition timing also had to be adjusted manually and double de-clutching had to be performed by the driver.

Modern car engines are so automated now that they behave almost like electric motors: push one pedal for go, another for stop. Nothing else need to be thought about by the driver - not even gears in modern autos - leaving the driver to concentrate fully on the road and the driving task.

Modern cars are also incredibly reliable and will start on the first turn of the starter motor in any weather - without us even having to sit in the car during starting ! Who else remembers the "dawn chorus" in the '70's, of people trying to start their cars on cold frosty mornings, and then warming them up? - I have had similar problems trying to start Cessna 152's on similar cold mornings.

But, as others say, electronics would need to be backed-up in an aviation setting, and supplied by a backed-up power source, with the attendant complication of electrical busbars and contactors etc. Atmospheric conditions at even a few thousand feet agl can be much more challenging than those at ground level. So much as I hated the crudeness of having to do the mixture and carb-heat 'donkey work', it is probably here to stay unless one starts paying millions for light aircraft instead of hundreds of thousands.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 18:47
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The market has spoken and it is battery electric technology.
The market has spoken to not want electric technology as of today. This is why electric cars get massively subsidised. I agree with Heston that hydrogen is much more promising given the slow progress in battery performance combined with their very high weight. Possibly we might end at some combination of liquid or gaseous fuel that get converted to electric energy used by electrical engines.

Whatever we use to store the energy the energy itself must be generated "green". This is why the battery mantra is leading nowhere.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 19:45
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
And here a salutary tale of having an engine or two reliant on wiggly amps.

https://www.aviationconsumer.com/ind...ate-1-fadec-0/
Reliance on electrical power is the case on some gas turbine helicopters, too, where there is no reversion to manual fuel control. Itís very important to ensure that the battery is fully charged and in the case of a double generator failure, the aircraft needs to be landed ASAP before the charge runs out.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 19:46
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
The market has spoken to not want electric technology as of today. This is why electric cars get massively subsidised. I agree with Heston that hydrogen is much more promising given the slow progress in battery performance combined with their very high weight. Possibly we might end at some combination of liquid or gaseous fuel that get converted to electric energy used by electrical engines.

Whatever we use to store the energy the energy itself must be generated "green". This is why the battery mantra is leading nowhere.
This is a VHS vs BetaNax argument. It dId not matter that BetaMax was superior technology all that mattered was the industry made a decisive shift to developing VHS machines. Similarly Industry and governments are investing heavily in Battery technology and charging infrastructure. Like I said the ship has sailed and we are not going back except in certain niche areas, which aviation may actually be one with respect to the future of airline aircraft propulsion. I just donít see that for GA
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 19:57
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Electrical aircraft will need range and need to be lightweight. Until then no way except for niche applications. Like the Pipistrel Velis.
Electrical cars will need to be autonomous driving including driverless to self drive to automated charging stations whenever needed. Then they need to come back fully charged to get to a certain range and usability. We are not there yet. We are just converting inefficient fuel burner SUVs to inefficient battery SUVs.
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Old 27th Nov 2021, 20:41
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I'm not sure what the future is, I.suspect a mix of battery and fuel cell cars to come
However battery electric cars are hugely more thermodynamically efficient than internal combustion unless the electricity comes from coal or gas, which we should have ditched years ago. Battery technology will get there.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 04:08
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
Yes, this factored in the foremost of my thinking as I plot the systems for the diesel Beaver. I was involved with the testing and certification of the Lycoming powered DA-42, and these systems discussions were peripheral to that. When I flew the Theilert DA-42's this was on my mind, but they behaved fine (save for one failed turbo controller).

But the absolute requirement for electricity introduces a absoluteness of requirement which has had design compliance wiggle room up until now....

I have a computer fuel injected (Bosch) powered Polaris Ranger utility vehicle, and what a pain that system is! I wish I could convert it back to carburetted! It has never run well, and one broken wire ('cause Polaris made the engine harness too short) becomes a huge troubleshooting chore. At least Polaris' own service manual tells you that most engine problems are electric - yeah! If they'd designed their wiring better, they would need so much repairing!!! I really miss my carburetted, no computer Polaris Sportsman ATV - so what if I had to use a choke!
They rectified the problem by adding extra batteries to supply the Fadec in an emergency, see

http://support.diamond-air.at/filead...cl-EASA-AD.pdf
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 09:26
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Originally Posted by Heston View Post
The future for ground based transport in the long term isn't electric, it's hydrogen.
Great. Where are you going to get the hydrogen from? It may be different in your part of the world, but around here hydrogen mines are a little thin on the ground...

PDR
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 09:32
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
They rectified the problem by adding extra batteries to supply the Fadec in an emergency, see

http://support.diamond-air.at/filead...cl-EASA-AD.pdf
Most battery failure modes are age and environment related, so unless one battery is explicitly required to be half the age of the other there's a high-ish probability that both will be dead on that cold winter morning when the driver wants to fly.

I guess people missed the fact that the cause if the DA42 crash wasn't the battery or the engine failures - it was the driver. The manual said starting both batteries from a ground power unit was verbotten, but the driver knew better. I can see no justification for believing that drivers will pay attention to the battery states and condition monitoring requirements that are an inherent part of this solution. You can always tell a pilot, but you can't tell him much...

PDR

Last edited by PDR1; 28th Nov 2021 at 10:13.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 09:59
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Great. Where are you going to get the hydrogen from?
From the same sources you load your batteries from. "Green" hopefully.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 10:23
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Originally Posted by PDR1 View Post
Great. Where are you going to get the hydrogen from? It may be different in your part of the world, but around here hydrogen mines are a little thin on the ground...

PDR
https://orsted.co.uk/energy-solution...wable-hydrogen
First website I found when Googling.

Batteries have a big problem - strategic access to the raw materials needed to make them.
It's still early enough for the investment in battery technology to be a blind alley. Interestingly, Johnson Matthey, a UK materials company, have just ditched their development of materials for batteries in favour of hydrogen (their big customer is the automotive industry)
https://matthey.com/en/news/2021/bat...s-announcement
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 10:36
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"Great. Where are you going to get the hydrogen from?......PDR"

You 'split' sea water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen gases using electrolysis. We did it in chemistry at school. You just need sea water and electricity connected to two electrodes submerged in the water. A chemical reaction takes place and the hydrogen gas accumulates above the negative electrode, the oxygen above the positive.

Use wind turbines, solar panels or tidal flow turbines to provide the electricity to split the seawater, and you produce hydrogen.

Note: Sea water rather than pure water because the salts in the seawater make it electrically conductive.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 10:54
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
This is a VHS vs BetaNax argument. It dId not matter that BetaMax was superior technology all that mattered was the industry made a decisive shift to developing VHS machines. Similarly Industry and governments are investing heavily in Battery technology and charging infrastructure. Like I said the ship has sailed and we are not going back except in certain niche areas, which aviation may actually be one with respect to the future of airline aircraft propulsion. I just don’t see that for GA
A problem for larger ‘lectric aircraft is that unlike liquid fuelled ones they don’t “burn off” weight as fuel is used. This will cause design challenges because as we know, larger aircraft can take off at a higher all up weight than at which they can land. Undercarriages will have to be stronger and heavier, reducing payload.

Also, it won’t be possible to trade off fuel uplift for extra performance demands, such as at high density altitudes or short runways.

As always, design is a compromise.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 10:58
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This permanent overweight operation doesn't bode well with the short ranges of battery powered aircraft.
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