2016 Electric Aircraft Symposium
Emerging Technologies – The Path to Early Market Opportunities
CAFE Foundation invites you to join your industry peers at our tenth Electric Aircraft Symposium
on May 19th and 20th at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.
Solar Impulse 2 Arrives at Moffett Field
April 23, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: https://www.facebook.com/solarimpulse
The following is a brief list of Solar Impulse 2 specifications:
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)
CAFE Foundation announces expanded strategic vision
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
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:
Promoting the commercial implementation of cutting-edge
technologies needed to achieve near-term practical electric flight.
Facilitating the communications, strategies and market
opportunities that support the industry’s growth and success.
Assisting in obtaining regulatory and funding support for
The full CAFE Foundation Strategic Concept Statement can be read [here].
Change in leadership at CAFE Foundation
Nov 13, 2015
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
July 5, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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
April 15, 2014
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
CAFE at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aviation 2013 Conference
Oct 25, 2013
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
Oct 20, 2013
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.
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.
Announcing the CAFE Foundation Advisory Board
April 23, 2013
CAFE is proud to announce the formation of the CAFE Advisory Board. This board of esteemed experts will advise CAFE on current and future initiatives. More info soon.
CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium 2013
April 19, 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.
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.
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 Pipistrel-USA.com’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.
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 Pipistrel-USA.com. 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 Pipistrel-USA.com 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.