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The future of the helicopter is electric.

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The future of the helicopter is electric.

Old 17th Sep 2011, 05:37
  #101 (permalink)  
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Why do battery packs have to be a part of the hybrid idea? Locomotives, earthmovers, ships etc. have long operated in a diesel-electric mode. i.e. a generator followed by a motor. Their Horsepower requirements are high too but nobody passes all that power through a battery pack.

Of course, there will be batteries but for ancillaries. You don't need to size batteries for full operating power.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 21:58
  #102 (permalink)  
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The advantages of combining a limited amount of electrical storage (battery or capacitor etc) with the hybrid source are;

1/ The power from the electrical storage device is combined with that from the 'generator' for short duration - high power requirements, such as during a takeoff.

2/ Should there be a failure of the generator power source, the storage device will provide a short duration safety, such as during a landing.

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Old 23rd Sep 2011, 02:01
  #103 (permalink)  
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Great stuff.

Well, the battery technology and the electric propulsion technology has advanced so much in the last 20 years that it's incredible, so it's not beyond the realms that in another 20 years we'll see workable technology. Compare that to the combustion engines who virtually have stood still since the 30's. At least in aviation. I just sent my magneto off for overhaul again and that damn thing has not changed since the 30's, lemme tell ya...

Once again, I can only compare to the automotive industry and how lightning fast things have been going there recently in regards to electrics. Tesla's Model S is imminent for release, will cost $50K and have 300 mile range. Now that's going to be very competitive. Numerous other makers have similar offerings in the works. Just look at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show - every major car manufacturer has some kind of electric or hybrid thing going on, even Ferrari!

Tesla Model S

I don't think we'll be driving combustion engined cars in 20 years. In fact, if I ever buy a new car again it's going to be some kind of hybrid or electric thing. Not because they make more sense financially, but because it drives me nuts that my whole car is rattling, making heat, noise, emissions and burning fuel at a stop light... An all electric helicopter might take a bit longer, but I wouldn't discard some kind of hybrid by then.
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Old 23rd Sep 2011, 18:00
  #104 (permalink)  
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Compare that to the combustion engines who virtually have stood still since the 30's.
Not quite stood still.

Point first.
Electronic fuel controls which adjust for temp and atmospheric pressure, and injector ports and tune fuel/air mixture fine precision. (Granted, diesel engines continue to hold their own, but you cannot simply write off emissions.)

Point second: use of new alloys in engine blocks and other components, improve HP to weight. Good for cars, good for planes.

Won't proceed farther. The reliability of IC engines currently produced dwarfs reliability of even a generation ago. MTBF lower. (I specifically refer to cars here, suspect aircraft IC engines similarly improved)
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Old 23rd Sep 2011, 18:27
  #105 (permalink)  
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Your points are good from a overall perspective.

AdamFrisch references the aviation industry. To my knowledge, Lycoming and Continental have not improved their engines over the decades, and their reason is that the volume of engines manufactured for aircraft will not justify the high developmental costs.

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Old 23rd Sep 2011, 18:45
  #106 (permalink)  
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Thanks, Dave, I see the point in a different light now.
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Old 4th Oct 2011, 17:06
  #107 (permalink)  
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Received a reference today of Eurocopter flying a AS350 hybrid yesterday. Anybody? What about Sikorsky's patent? The article says it is a backup incase of engine failure it seems to assist and ease auto rotation?
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Old 4th Oct 2011, 18:17
  #108 (permalink)  
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victor papa,

Pascal Chretien, who flew the first electric helicopter a couple of months ago, is also moving his interest toward hybrid propulsion for helicopters.

Sikorsky's patent application for ELECTRIC POWERED ROTARY-WING AIRCRAFT, which is covered on the PPRuNe thread Is Sikorsky Attempting to Inhibit Others from Developing Electric Rotorcraft?, is before the Board of Appeals.

Hopefully, the US Patent Office will continue to decline Sikorsky's intent to patent that which already exists.

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Old 6th Oct 2011, 02:19
  #109 (permalink)  
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victor pappy-

Eurocopter targets safety boost with hybrid helicopter

According to the article the electric motor and lithium ion battery pack are in the cabin area on the demonstrator.

Eurocopter has successfully tested a new safety feature on an AS350 helicopter that combines a regular turboshaft powerplant with an electric motor that will provide power to the rotors in the event of a main engine failure, enabling a safer autorotation landing.

The demonstrator helicopter is a production version of Eurocopter's light single-engine AS350, which has been equipped with a supplementary electric motor.

In the event of an engine failure, the electric motor provides power to the rotor, allowing the pilot greater control of the aircraft during descent.

The airframer is now studying how to bring the concept to maturity and implement it on its production aircraft.

"Eurocopter's research and development efforts are used every day to push the frontiers by increasing helicopter safety and performance for the benefit of our customers, and we are proud to have brought the first helicopter equipped with an internal combustion engine and electric propulsion system to flight," said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter president and chief executive.

Hybrid power has the potential to cut fuel consumption in the future, he said.

The AS350 hybrid demonstrator has its electric motor and lithium ion polymer battery installed in the centre area of the helicopter.
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Old 7th Oct 2011, 13:42
  #110 (permalink)  
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Re. Impact on Eurocopter

Like so many things, it "depends".

Patent protection is country specific, so inventors seeking protection beyond the borders of a single country sometimes file couterpart applications multiple countries.

With respect to the patent application that Dave has taken issue with, Sikorsky filed counterpart applications with the same disclosure and similar claims in several countries - including the European Patent Office (EPO). Were Sikorsky's EPO application to mature into a European patent, Eurocopter would be excluded from practicing the invention defined in the claims that EPO saw fit to allow - thereby potentially hindering Eurocopter's ability to develop the concept along the avenue that Sikorsky claims.

The EPO is relatively liberal in terms of prosecution being a public affair. Once published, the public can monitor events by viewing copies of correspondence between the EPO and the applicant through the EPO Register. One can even set up an automatic emailer free of charge to receive automatic email notifications when either an applicant or the EPO exchange correspondence (Register Alert). The EPO also allows third parties to submit art in an application (Third-Party Observations). And the EPO also has a relatively robust opposition process available to the public once a European patent grants (opposition period).

Sikorsky's European counterpart application is EP08861121. In November 2010 the EPO notified Sikorsky that the "application is deemed to be withdrawn" because "no use has been made of any of the legal remedies available". It appears from the information available on the Register that Sikorsky declined (or neglected) to pay the fees due to keep the application pending - so the EPO ceased prosecuting the application.

That being the case, Sikorsky presently has no right to exclude Eurocopter from practicing the claimed subject matter of the application. However, the EPO is also fairly liberal about obtaining fees from applicants - so it may be possible that Sikorsky can 'revive' the application and continue prosecution by coughing up an onerous surcharge. Consequently, Eurocopter must contend with the risk that Sikorsky might obtain some right in the future. Moreover, any product they ultimately developed might be locked out of markets where other counterpart applications issue - such as the US.

If Eurocopter is truly interested in Sikorsky's concept, it must weigh the risk that Sikorsky ultimately obtains patent protection with claims of meaningful scope in Europe or a market into which Eurocopter would otherwise sell an infringing product against Eurocopter's benefit in more fully developing the concept.

I have no idea where Eurocopter's internal calculus stands on the risk/reward balancing question. Folks with direct ties to the industry could speculate more effectively on the technical and market worth than I.

On a side note, the Written Opinion in the PCT application (PCT/US2008/076962) is worth a read. The Korean Patent Office, who prepared the search/opinion, is of the opinion that the difference between Sikorsky's broadest claim and "a radio-controlled flying toy with a rotor assembly" lies merely in the minor difference between the fields of endeavor, i.e. building toys versus building helicopters - and therefore lackis inventive step.

I guess Koreans are unimpressed by the "size matters" argument.

- NonSAC
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Old 17th Oct 2011, 21:42
  #111 (permalink)  
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Electric Backpack Helicopter ~ by Frans Schoeffmann

Franz Schoeffmann is the builder and pilot of this engine driven backpack helicopter.

He mentioned that he has just about completed an electric backpack helicopter. He has been hopping with it on one motor, while waiting for delivery of the second motor.

He said that it should be on You Tube in a few days.



Thank you for the continuing updates on Sikorsky's style of 'Innovation'.


Last edited by Dave_Jackson; 18th Oct 2011 at 06:37.
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Old 26th Oct 2011, 21:11
  #112 (permalink)  
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Strange. Apparently, the names of those who post comments are given. But, the name of the person who is stating 'a record of fact' is not given.


Hi Senior Pilot.

Last edited by Dave_Jackson; 26th Oct 2011 at 21:21.
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Old 27th Oct 2011, 14:25
  #113 (permalink)  
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I think we should look at an alternative fuel ie. hydrogen or even using urea ( electrifying it and extracting the hydrogen, pure water emissions)
but definitely not re-invent the wheel the turbines work great, just make them more efficient, and recycle the heat for creature comforts

my little opinion

By the way great work RotorHeads!
(rotor wannabe)
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Old 28th Oct 2011, 23:24
  #114 (permalink)  
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I don't think jet fuel will be replaced anytime soon. But that's not to say we won't see practical electric drivetrains in rotorcraft in the near future. I've seen some developments in turbine electric drivetrains that were very impressive. The technology appeared to be competitive in terms of both cost and weight with conventional drivetrains, and possibly having better efficiency and reliability. It also appeared that it would scale up quite well to any current rotorcraft power requirement. I can't really tell you anything more specific about it, but I'm sure you'll see it flying somewhere in the next 2 or 3 years.

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Old 31st Oct 2011, 00:08
  #115 (permalink)  
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Worlds first manned electric multi-copter:

e-volo - Home

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Old 31st Oct 2011, 16:09
  #116 (permalink)  
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Hi slowrotor,

Could this be the type of slow and reliable craft that you've been looking for?

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Old 31st Oct 2011, 18:32
  #117 (permalink)  
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It's getting close Dave.
I would attach these motors to my ultralight airplane. So it would only need the electric lift for less than a minute , to make it VTOL.

The cost of batteries keeps coming down.
Joby is working on an electric VTOL sailplane. Have you seen that?
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 18:59
  #118 (permalink)  
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Thanks. That Joby tilt-wing is an interesting concept. Particularly attractive is the ability of motors to be run at higher then rated capacity for a short period of time.

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Old 1st Nov 2011, 19:56
  #119 (permalink)  
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The next generation?

I want one of these - at least it would not suffer from mast bumping

German multicopter makes first manned flight. | sUAS News
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Old 1st Nov 2011, 19:59
  #120 (permalink)  
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Yikes. Looks like a guaranteed, gruesome death for someone.
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