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Electric Aircraft Symposium 2017
Emerging Technologies:
The Path to Early Market Opportunities

CAFE Foundation invites you to join your industry peers
at our eleventh Electric Aircraft Symposium
May 18th and 19th in San Francisco

Registration and Speaker Information Coming Soon!

For information or assistance, please contact Yolanka Wulff, CAFE Foundation
Executive Director, at or +1.707.656.2233

Solar Impulse 2 Arrives at Moffett Field

CAFE Field Trip – by John Palmerlee

CAFE received an invitation to the Solar Impulse 2 landing at Moffett field, and we decided to make it a field trip to support the effort and watch the landing slated for midnight on Saturday. The airplane was about to complete a three day non-stop flight from Hawaii on solar power alone.

Bruno Mombrinie and I (CAFE Board) and our EAS 2016 Coordinator Yolanka Wulff, left for the Marin Headlands at about 15:30 Saturday. Our plan was to get to the west end of the headlands road so we could see Solar Impulse when it first arrived sometime after 17:00.

There was moderate traffic at the headlands, making us think everyone had turned out to see the arrival. What else would anyone be thinking of today, anyway? Not. In the three hours we were there, only a handful of people knew about the event, so we shared the story with many.

Finding a parking spot was a stroke of luck, right on one of the last headland ridges with a great view of the Golden Gate and the entire Bay Area. Visibility must have been near 100 miles. We were high enough to be well above the bridge towers, and couldn’t decide whether Solar Impulse would be above or below us when it passed. Turns out it was well above us at about 4,000 feet.

We first saw it over the ridge to the west - a long bent stick below the high clouds. Bertrand Piccard had flown for over 55 hours from Hawaii, but had another 7 to go before he would land. That’s a long time to wait for winds to calm at your destination. A black dot nearby was a helicopter flown by the other Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg, darting about the big plane as if it were a sparrow with a condor. Through the camera lens, I could watch the four propellers spinning - big, slow, efficient, two bladed props.

Impulse over Bodega Head Lookout

The purpose of this phase of the flight was to say a long “Hello” to the Bay Area, get some video footage of the plane over landmarks, and to wait for landing once the wind settled down. To us, it was all a treat. Bruno brought a long strip of black fabric and white duct tape, which we turned into a sign on the chance that Bertrand looked our way. The sign said “BIENVENUE BERTRAND” which means "Welcome Bertrand" in French (picture below). Solar Impulse passed over us many times, but we never learned if he actually saw the sign. There was a lot to look at from 4,000 feet, and he was dealing with constant direction from the MCC (Monaco Mission Control Center) and commands from local ATC; so it wasn’t just sightseeing for him. Keep in mind he’d had less than 3 hours worth of 20 minute naps over the last 3 days. One must somehow stay alert on a flight almost twice the duration of Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing.

CAFE signs

At 20:00 we had to leave for check-in at the NASA Ames barracks. The campus is large, with many buildings in disrepair and a background of flight history everywhere: the blimp hangar skeleton under major repair, a NASA U-2 sitting on a ramp behind other unused aircraft.

Blimp hangar

The ramp security checked our names off a list and turned us loose with a group of a few hundred people consisting of Solar Impulse team members and the invited guests from public and government sectors.

Tesla was present as a sponsor, and provided Model S vehicles for the two pilots, Bertrand and André, for their week stay in SF. On Sunday (4-24) Bruce Nyden, the local Electric Auto Association president and Model S owner (yeah, the “other” EAA), said he came across a French speaking group in a new blue Model S P90D with factory plates near a local Bodega Bay chowder house. By his description, it appears that the driver was Bertrand Piccard - he was sitting with the driver’s door open while fussing with the navigation system (yes, he’s done his share of navigating :-). Bruce spoke with a woman getting out of the back seat and noted another woman in back met the description of Michelle, Bertrand’s wife. Nice coincidence - interesting how electric vehicles attract electric vehicles.

The Solar impulse landing at Moffett was quite serene, except for a jet helicopter running up during the entire approach. I wished it wasn’t there. Despite that, I got a video of the landing with my camera - looked like a UFO on approach with a full span array of landing lights (236 feet of them). There were 20 team members on the runway to grab the bird once it slowed from the landing, who then moved it under 'people power' off the runway to the waiting crowd. The main and tail wheels pivot completely so it can be towed sideways if needed, particularly for rolling into its inflatable hangar.

Group tow

Inflatable hangar

After taking several minutes to regain his land legs, Bertrand spoke to the group. He said what a privilege it is to participate in this adventure, and how he hopes it will help everyone become explorers - to free themselves from the old ways of thinking and fear of the future. He hopes one day everyone can have an experience like this that changes the way they live. The following is an excerpt from his speech:

"…we would like other people to understand, that everybody can do the same, everybody can (thrive in) a world with clean technologies that protect the environment, that brings social peace, wealth to all the population. That if we want to fight poverty we have to give access to renewable energies."

Piccard invited everyone to “Go for it!” as explorers… to experience life as life is made for.

CAFE will be posting videos and images from the event on the web, and will announce when they are available. Solar Impulse has an extensive facebook presence you may want to check out:

The following is a brief list of Solar Impulse 2 specifications:

  • Crew: 1
  • Wingspan: 71.9 m (236 ft) - Length: 22.4 m (73.5 ft) - Height: 6.37 m (20.9 ft)
  • Solar Panels: 66 kW
  • Loaded weight: 2,300 kg (5,100 lb)
  • Powerplants: 4 × 13 kW motors (17 hp each)
  • Propellers: 4 m (13.1 ft)
  • Batteries: 4 x 41 kWh lithium-ion batteries (633 kg total)
  • Cruise Speed: about 30 knots (depends on flight phase)

Piccard Exits Impulse

CAFE Foundation announces expanded strategic vision

The CAFE Foundation is excited to present its [Strategic Concept Statement].

As electric aviation has developed over the last decade, so too the CAFE Foundation has focused its efforts on this burgeoning industry. Now, the CAFE Foundation is pleased to announce its restated mission:

To advance the development of low-emission flight by fostering and promoting early entry practical market opportunities.

CAFE occupies a unique position in the electric aircraft industry. As an independent nonprofit organization, CAFE is able to achieve its mission by bridging disciplines and industries, helping to identify trends and innovations, building strategic collaborations and ensuring on-going coordination. The CAFE Foundation has identified three key areas where it will focus its contributions to this industry:
  1. Promoting the commercial implementation of cutting-edge technologies needed to achieve near-term practical electric flight.
  2. Facilitating the communications, strategies and market opportunities that support the industry’s growth and success.
  3. Assisting in obtaining regulatory and funding support for the industry.
The full CAFE Foundation Strategic Concept Statement can be read [here].

Change in leadership at CAFE Foundation

Dr. Brien Seeley has tendered his resignation as President and Board Member of CAFE Foundation.

CAFE Foundation thanks Brien for his 34 years of leadership and wishes him continued success in his new aviation endeavors. We are confident that his boundless energy and inspiration will cause great new projects to take shape and blossom under his stewardship.

2015 PADA Awards Dinner

The 2015 Personal Aircraft Design Academy will feature two excellent presentations: Burt Rutan on the SkiGull and Nick Borer on the LEAPTECH project. This will be followed by the ceremony to award the esteemed PADA Trophy to a surprise recipient. A reservations-only $20 hors d'oeuvre pre-reception at 6:15 PM on July 24 in the EAA Museum's Fergus Plaza will provide an excellent opportunity to meet with aviation's top personal aircraft designers.

EAS 2015 A Huge Success

On May 1, 2, 2015, the world’s leading converged for the 9th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium in the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country. The presenters included:

  • Airbus on “The e-Fan Design”
  • Italy’s Eric Raymond of GFC I Team-eGenius on “Sunstar and the SunSeeker Duo”
  • Slovenia’s Tine Tomazic of GFC I Team Pipistrel USA on “Converting GA Aircraft to Electric Propulsion”
  • UCR’s Zach Favors on “Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries”
  • Northrop-Grumman’s J. Philip Barnes on “Regenerative Electric Flight”

Other presenters included Northrop-Grumman’s Barnaby Wainfan on “Low Aspect Ratio Electric Aircraft”, Scott Sevcik of Stratasys on “ Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace”, Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford on "Materials Design for Battery Breakthroughs: from Fundamental Science to Commercialization", and Michael Meador, Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office at OSTP.

View the full program and speaker list

PADA 2014 Awards Dinner


PADA is the Personal Aircraft Design Academy, an annual colloquium for leading aircraft designers, enthusiasts and aero engineers. Each year, PADA awards what many now consider to be the highest honor in personal aircraft design, the PADA Trophy. For 2014, PADA will reveal and honor the Trophy's 12th recipient in a special ceremony. The 2014 PADA presentation program will feature two exciting new aircraft: Richard Hogan from Commutercraft will present “The Innovator—a New 3-surface Aircraft” and Oliver Garrow will present the technical details of a new tilt-wing VTOL aircraft—the Elytron.

Read more about the history of PADA


EAS VIII an Event to Remember

The 2014 CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium was our best event yet with excellent presentations by all involved and great attendance. Our thanks go out to presenters and attendees alike for a lively discussion of this rapidly expanding domain.

Historic CAFE 400 Video Released


In advance of the CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium we are proud to share an historic video from the CAFE Archive. This 47 minute video shows CAFE's first tech prizes – The CAFE 400 races, which were conducted from 1981 to 1990 at the Santa Rosa Air Center.

These 400 mile flight competitions were scored according to the CAFE Formula of Speed x MPG x Payload and attracted most of the famous aircraft designers from the world of EAA. It is amazing to see how many of their innovations were incorporated into GA aircraft of today. Nearly 50 aircraft competed including Roy LoPresti's factory team from Mooney, Burt and Dick Rutan, Mike Melvill, Tom Hamilton, Gene Sheehan and the perennial winner, Gary Hertzler. The event demanded astute navigation and power management in addition to fastidious preparation of engine and airframe. In the 10 years of CAFE 400 racing, there was never an injury or serious accident."

Updated Green Flight Challenge Info on NASA Website

AOPANASA has updated their page about the Green Flight Challenge, complete with video and photos from the historic event.

Highlights from the Green Flight Challenge from NASA video are also online.

CAFE at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aviation 2013 Conference

The CAFE Foundation's Sky Taxi concept continues to grow support after being presented at the National AIAA Conference in Los Angeles. Imagine a new mode of travel that is cheaper and safer than a car and 4X faster, can take you anywhere within a 400 mile radius, is immune to gridlock and DOES NOT NEED ROADS.

8th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium
April 25, 26, 2014 - Call for Papers

The CAFE Foundation is accepting presentation proposals for the 8th Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, to be held April 25- 26, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California. This international graduate level program will cover a comprehensive range of topics and will emphasize the latest breakthroughs in the rapidly growing domain of electric powered aircraft. Faculty and attendees will include experts from leading aerospace, electronic and energy companies. Topics will include aerodynamics, motors, energy storage, energy harvesting, control systems, recreational aircraft, propulsion, robotics, avionics, airspace integration, manufacturing, business cases and airport land uses.

Interested parties should email inquiries and abstracts to:

EAS VII Coverage in AOPA

AOPA Online has a nice writeup of this year's EAS proceedings. Please check out the article for a good overview of speakers and topics. As the article claims "In the seven years since EAS I, electric aircraft have set records and crossed frontiers."

EAS VII is Here!

The 7th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium begins tomorrow. Welcome to all who have come to participate in this gathering of experts. Key enabling technologies will be discussed, including a special slick new aircraft coating, battery management systems, and an ingenious propeller safety device. Several major aerospace companies will be attending as this exciting new domain of aviation takes flight.

CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium 2013

The 7th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium Final Program has just been posted. It has added even more key enabling technologies, including a special slick new aircraft coating, battery management systems, and an ingenious propeller safety device. Several major aerospace companies will be attending as this exciting new domain of aviation takes flight.

Please register for EAS 2013 here.

CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium 2013 Announced

The 7th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS VII), April 26, 27 of 2013 is delighted to confirm several outanding presenters. Headlining EAS VII will be NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell on "Frontiers of Exotic Energetics", Pipistrel's Tine Tomazic on "Hybrid Panthera" and the "Ideal Electric Trainer" and photovoltaic breakthrough developer Dr. Loren Kaake of UC Santa Barbara. Also invited are Eric Raymond's new SunSeeker Duo, battery breakthrough experts Dr. Winfried Wilcke of IBM Labs and Sibani Lisa Biswal of Rice University, along with Adam Bry and his amazing self-flying autonomous aircraft.

The final program is available now,

Please register for EAS 2013 here.

Coverage of EAS VI Highlights Future GFCs

Dr. SeeleyAOPA online has a good article covering EAS VI developments as well as CAFE's future GFC initiatives.




The CAFE Electric Aircraft Charging Station


Dr. Jack Langelaan Discusses E-Flight at TEDx


Astounding Final Results from the Green Flight Challenge Sponsored by Google

The 2011 Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google marks an historic achievement in aviation—the first demonstration of practical, cross-country emission-free flight. Team’s winning 4 seat, electric-powered aircraft, the Taurus G4, flew nearly 200 miles non-stop while achieving 403.5 passenger MPG! Its astounding efficiency was more than twice that of the piston-powered aircraft in the competition. Equally promising: Team e-Genius won the Lindbergh Prize for Quietest Aircraft, with a peak take off noise of just 59.5 dBA at a 250 foot sideline. This achievement heralds the real transformative potential unique to electric powered aircraft—the capability to be quiet enough to land very near dwellings and businesses.

Years from now, these first Green Flight Challenge team members will be recognized as the pioneers of the Age of Electric Flight. CAFE is already discussing plans for GFC II and will publish more on that here soon.

The complete CAFE results for the 2011 Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google.

Thanks to Everyone Who Made the Green Flight Challenge Happen!

The CAFE Foundation wishes to thank all of their sponsors, partners and volunteers for making this historic competition happen. Together we have achieved something great and the future for Green Flight looks bright!

The Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition hosted by NASA

The Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition hosted by NASA on October 3, 2011 saw all of the special aircraft that competed in the challenge on display at Moffett Field. Nearly 20 leading green aviation technology exhibitors showed their products and ideas in the tent tech faire nearby the aircraft ramp.

NASA's Chief Technologist Joe Parrish presided at NASA TV's 30 minute Awards Ceremony inside the NASA Ames Conference Center, where he awarded the NASA prizes of $120,000 for Eric Raymond, leader of the 2nd Place Team e-Genius, and $1,350,000 for Jack W. Langelaan, leader of the 1st Place Team The ceremony included sponsor Google representative Anita Yuen expressing Google's commitment to green technologies and concluded with the unveiling of the beautiful CAFE Green Flight Challenge Trophy designed by Ralph Carlson (pictured).


Jack W. Langelaan, leader of the 1st Place Team poses with
the CAFE Green Flight Challenge Trophy

Dedicated to Advances in Personal Aircraft

For almost three decades the aviation enthusiasts at the Comparative Aircraft
Flight Efficiency Foundation have been carefully measuring personal aircraft performance with innovations in flight testing. Their passion for this stems from the thrill of working with state-of-the-art aircraft and the geniuses who create them.

 Out of this passion has emerged a unique and knowledgeable team [ Meet the CAFE Board ] that is honored and thrilled to have been selected by NASA to host their Centennial Challenges for Aeronautics.

Beginning with the CAFE 400 races of the 1980's, CAFE evolved into an independent flight test agency supported by grants from the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the FAA . CAFE's work has gone beyond simple measurement of speed and MPG and expanded into innovative research in engines, propulsion and aerodynamics. CAFE research has been published in numerous journals and magazines...

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