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# Electric Islander

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

# Electric Islander

19th Oct 2018, 12:02

Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by ion_berkley
Serious back of the envelope calculation here with a little real world data thrown in:

Islander with 2x 300HP engines = approx 400kW peak power output

Lets assume that the whole 2 min sector is flown at full power to be nice and pessimistic...so 13.3kWh per sector.

Now the complete battery assembly for the Tesla Model3 is pretty representative of the bleeding edge of EV battery technology and it comes in at 168Wh/Kg.
The total mass of the ~75kWh battery pack in a Model3 is approx 470 Kg. Empirically I can tell you that my Model3 charges from say 20% to 80% in about 40 minutes from a DC fast charger.

That passes the smell test for me, it seems very practical for this particularly odd air route.
The math is a little bit out on this one, it's actually better than you calc

300hp = 223 kw, not 400. Also the Loganair BN2s are carb so only 265hp, meaning 197kw.

Assume one of the longer legs, say 15 minutes. You would fly 1 min @ full power, 13 mins @ 75% and 1 min @ 50%. This equates to 14.8kwhr. You could satisfy this + 30 mins reserve with a 50kwhr battery pack, using tesla math is ~300kg.

Very achievable!

Hot swap battery packs on turnaround and charge them while they're not on the aircraft. Keep those sub 5 minute turnarounds going

19th Oct 2018, 12:27

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,313
Originally Posted by scottish_aviator
300hp = 223 kw, not 400. Also the Loganair BN2s are carb so only 265hp, meaning 197kw.
I think you'll find the poster's 400 kW was for two engines (446 kW rounded down).

Yours (197 kW x 2) comes to 394 kW, so we're splitting hairs here.

19th Oct 2018, 12:34

Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
I think you'll find the poster's 400 kW was for two engines (446 kW rounded down).

Yours (197 kW x 2) comes to 394 kW, so we're splitting hairs here.
My bad! I also completely mucked up the calculation, the 15 minute trip would actually require 73.875 kwhr and 30 mins reserve would be 194 kwhr, giving total weight of ~1200kg which is definitely prohibitive.

19th Oct 2018, 13:14

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,313
Originally Posted by scottish_aviator
My bad! I also completely mucked up the calculation, the 15 minute trip would actually require 73.875 kwhr and 30 mins reserve would be 194 kwhr, giving total weight of ~1200kg which is definitely prohibitive.
We'll let you off.

James Watt will probably forgive you too (by convention, SI units named after real people get a capital letter).

19th Oct 2018, 17:16

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Age: 74
Posts: 232
Once batteries hit approx. 3kw per kg then they can replace avgas/petrol even though avgas is approx.12kw/kg IC engines are only 25% efficient and electric motors are 90% approx. Lithium air batteries have in theory 11kw/kg max but difficult to achieve but could make 2.5kw/kg which would be close. So far Li air have only lasted a few recharge cycles on air and needs pure oxygen to last, so not practical but a total rethink by a university research group in the US, with help from a super computer group have come up with one that has lasted 750 recharge cycles and can run directly on air, so the holy grail of batteries may be in sight so I believe recharge time will be critical, not the weight for commercial operation.

19th Oct 2018, 19:05

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by scottish_aviator
My bad! I also completely mucked up the calculation, the 15 minute trip would actually require 73.875 kwhr and 30 mins reserve would be 194 kwhr, giving total weight of ~1200kg which is definitely prohibitive.
OK let's run a little farther with the numbers to test this out some more with a practical configuration.
Seems like 200Liters of fuel is about all you can take with a maximum revenue load out on the conventional Islander so what battery mass would that give us?
Dry weight of an IO-540 is 200Kg. Dry weight of a Siemens SP260D (230kW+ rated) is 50Kg...so *2 (and wildly assuming similar mass add for props/coolant/lube/ancillaries etc) we save 2*150Kg=300Kg on our electric converted Islander, so we get that mass of battery for free to reach the ZFW of a conventional Islander, then another ~160Kg of battery to approximate the mass of 200 liters of fuel and reach MTOW.
Using my original Tesla based 168Wh/Kg number, thats 460*168=77kWh of battery, which doesn't sound close to viable if we assume 75% power for the hold and a conventional VFR reserve.

Will be interesting to see if this is something that the CAA will be willing to get engaged into to starting thinking through operational and regulatory issues associated with electric and hybrid commercial flight.

(All numbers from the internet, no POH data...your milage may vary etc etc!)

FWIW, for those who like to nerd out:
Siemens (incl SP260D) presentation
https://nari.arc.nasa.gov/sites/defa...FW-Aug2015.pdf

Pipistrel Alpha-Electro - Series production electric aircraft designed around a specific mission with some certification success. Answers some questions about what a modern slippery composite airframe can achieve and also datapoint on in-flight regen and noise.
https://www.pipistrel.si/plane/alpha-electro/overview

Last edited by ion_berkley; 19th Oct 2018 at 20:29.

19th Oct 2018, 19:39

Join Date: Feb 2000
Age: 56
Posts: 1,545
Originally Posted by horizon flyer
Once batteries hit approx. 3kw per kg then they can replace avgas/petrol even though avgas is approx.12kw/kg
Kw/kg is meaningless gibberish when speaking of a liquid fuel.

19th Oct 2018, 20:17

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,313
Originally Posted by A Squared
Kw/kg is meaningless gibberish when speaking of a liquid fuel.
And kW/h is equally meaningless when talking about batteries ...

19th Oct 2018, 20:35

Join Date: Feb 2000
Age: 56
Posts: 1,545
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
And kW/h is equally meaningless when talking about batteries ...
Well, actually, KW/hr is meaningless in any context.

19th Oct 2018, 21:47

Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 318
solar panels = no night flying = win !

19th Oct 2018, 21:48

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,313
Originally Posted by A Squared
Well, actually, KW/hr is meaningless in any context.
Well if we're going to be pedantic, let's do it properly.

KW/hr (more correctly kW/h) is a measure of the rate of change of energy consumption, so I'd be willing to bet that it's a quantity that makes sense to the power distribution companies.

19th Oct 2018, 23:37
Psychophysiological entity

Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Tweet Rob_Benham Famous author. Well, slightly famous.
Age: 80
Posts: 4,819
Redesign the Islander so that it's really clean and pointy. Mag-lev it down the runway and up a ramp, both of which point at the destination. At some point c 3,000' with runway in sight, flick the engine's two big toggle switches to the ON position . . . preferably at the same instant.

As with all forms of transport - not needing the power in the first place is the best route to economy.

20th Oct 2018, 01:34

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Balikpapan, INDONESIA
Age: 67
Posts: 533
Don't omit or underestimate the weight of required control gear.
These are not ancillaries, they are just as important as the motor and batteries and they tend to be weighty.

Me? I'd be looking to a hybrid as a practical solution in the short term.
Either electric augmented by a smaller engine or vice versa.
In either case I'd pick a single (Caravan?) and not a twin.
Shorter cable runs and no need for duplication.
Motor rotor built into the prop drive shaft passing through stator.
Regen on descent - maybe obviate the need for flaps?

Lotsa possibilities.

20th Oct 2018, 06:30

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Usually firmly on the ground
Posts: 69
Where did it go?

Originally Posted by Gargleblaster
Regarding this type, this is one of the funniest posts I've read in here: Britten Norman Islander
I skim-read that post yesterday, having flown fairly often in Trislanders, found it hilarious, went back to enjoy it, and now it seems to have disappeared?

20th Oct 2018, 06:40

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,313
Originally Posted by Eutychus
I skim-read that post yesterday, having flown fairly often in Trislanders, found it hilarious, went back to enjoy it, and now it seems to have disappeared?
Try clearing your browser cache - it's definitely (and happily) still there.

20th Oct 2018, 07:29

Join Date: Feb 2000
Age: 56
Posts: 1,545
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Well if we're going to be pedantic, let's do it properly.

KW/hr (more correctly kW/h) is a measure of the rate of change of energy consumption, so I'd be willing to bet that it's a quantity that makes sense to the power distribution companies.
I will have to concede that you have identified a narrow application where kW/h may not be gibberish. Beyond that though ....

20th Oct 2018, 13:11

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 323
Electric motors (at least when fitted with a sufficient mass of control gear ) can operate efficiently at a broader range of RPMs than can most combustion engines. I wonder if that characteristic could be use to help mitigate propeller noise (e.g. operating a a somewhat lower RPM and higher pitch at low speeds).

20th Oct 2018, 17:03

Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Broughton, UK
Posts: 80
To be even more pedantic, the unit is kWhr.
But as you will get the same result multiplying by 1, as dividing by 1. I suppose it makes no difference.
.

20th Oct 2018, 17:55

Join Date: Feb 2000
Age: 56
Posts: 1,545
Originally Posted by scifi
To be even more pedantic, the unit is kWhr.
But as you will get the same result multiplying by 1, as dividing by 1. I suppose it makes no difference.
.
Ummm, no, kW/hr is something completely different than kWhr

20th Oct 2018, 18:25

Join Date: Jan 2008