Friday, August 26, 2005


Air travel without the big airport hassle?

Uncommon Sense points out an AVweb article on a company called Sky Taxi that has a new business model for air travel based on NASA's small aircraft transportation system concept. I hope it works out. Now where is my quiet, small, supersonic transport for fast luxury routes? In another civil aviation revolution development, Chair Force Engineer (hat tip:Rand Simberg) describes his tour of the manufacturing facility for the Eclipse 500 low-cost (relatively) 6 seat jet aircraft.

Does anyone out there have updates on electric aircraft developments? I'd be curious to know how that is working out. On the one hand, it looks like a technology that has the potential to reduce the cost of owning and maintaining an aircraft considerably. On the other hand, it just has the feel of a green fantasy dreamed up by bureaucrats.

Update: Here is an article from New Scientist on electric civil aircraft. It looks like having a storable fuel is the problem. I can see where requiring cryogenic fuel for a small private plane could introduce more headaches than are removed by replacing the engine with an electric motor. It is hard to beat hydrocarbons for fuel. Maybe instead of figuring out how to store hydrogen, the breakthrough needed for electric aircraft is a fuel cell that runs on hydrocarbons. With a breakthrough in either hydrogen storage or hydrocarbon fuel cells needed it looks like electric aircraft for civil aviation are at least a decade away, if they ever happen at all.

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