Replies to last week’s letter regarding electric aircraft:
1. In flight aircraft fires are one of the most deadly potential scenarios a pilot has to deal with. Smoke is also a worry. REPLY: We have designed our battery pack in a ventilated compartment with a smoke detector and a special instant fire stop. A battery fire can only begin with over charging or over discharging. A BMS is supposed to prevent this, but without a balance system, cells can wander off and die. When they do, solid oxygen in the cell escapes and can fuel a fire. Lithium does not burn nor does the saline electrolyte. Fire prevention starts with: the correct chemistry to start with, a good BMS with a balancer, a fire suppression system and using an onboard charging system to maintain a nominal charge for long flights.
2. Tesla has been having problems with vehicles on the GROUND experiencing fires. How can we have confidence in electric powered aircraft, knowing these realities will create a catastrophic situation should a fire happen during flight? REPLY: Aviation has cool vented air for motors and batteries. Airplane batteries are far less subject to abuse than in ground applications. No battery cell has ever been made that likes charging and discharging. That is why we have alternators. An onboard charging system solves that problem. The idea of total electric must go if you want safety.
3. The standard, horizontally opposed piston or radial aircraft engine is tested, refined, efficient and reliable? Why would the industry move away from that? REPLY: Radial is good but the weight per HP is too high. When micro technology is used – the power to weight goes up exponentially. It cannot be used to turn a prop, but it is great for keeping those battery cells charged up. See our demo at Air Venture.
Certificated Vs. Certified
I now see that AVweb, one of the last bastions to adopt the use of the word CERTIFICATED has now fallen to the politically correct version of CERTIFIED.
Whatever was wrong with the tried and proven word CERTIFIED? Was it no longer comprehensible to the aviation community? As a 77-year-old still active pilot – I mourn the loss of a word that has always been meaningful during my 50 plus year aviation career.
Do What’s Right
With regard to Russ Niles’ blog, it always frustrates me how a few inconsiderate ninnies make the world hard for the rest of GA. What possible motive could Clive Holmes have to create such a disturbance that gives every GA pilot and aircraft a bad name? Too bad the residents can’t simply vote him off the island.
I fly out of a mixed-use airport on the edge of the Houston Class B. We have about half corporate jets and turboprops and half piston planes. The residents in the subdivision off the normal active runway are on the warpath because of the noise, 95% of which is caused by the jets. But, the piston planes get lumped into the discussion because no one in the subdivision understands (or cares) who is actually making the noise. The airport, owned by the city, has tried community outreach and some airport visits, but it is not really making much difference. Any ideas would be greatly accepted.
I once thought that if the city owned the airport, it was pretty well guaranteed to survive. But, after Santa Monica, I’m not so sure. All of the “little guys” I know try hard to be good neighbors, but there is not much we can do over the roar of jets on takeoff. As urban sprawl begins to surround the airport, I fear this will only get worse.
I found out long ago about noise complaints; some people just can’t stand the sound of other people having fun!
The cure? Try inviting them to the occasion and make them a part of the FUN.