Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 2. The problem to solve?

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 14, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Before we dig into the different alternatives we have for more Sustainable Air Transport, let’s look at the problem and its sources.

Figure 1 shows the emissions of CO2 per person since 1900 and the rise of the world temperature. The increase in world temperature changes the weather, with increased weather-related emergencies in recent years.

Figure 1. The increase in CO2 emission per capita and the rise of the world temperature from 1900 to 2018. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 1. A deeper look.

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 7, 2021, ©. Leeham News: We finished a 34 article series before Christmas about the enormous work involved to get a new aircraft certified for passenger transport.

It was a background article series to the one we start now, a deeper series on what’s involved in designing air transport vehicles that are less polluting for our environment. We have seen a landslide of such projects in the last years, and from an experienced aircraft designer’s desk, most of these are doomed for failure.

Figure 1. The Embraer Energia concept aircraft. A credible Sustainable Air Transport research program. Source: Embraer.

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Pontifications: Bringing some reality on electric airplanes

Nov. 15, 2021, © Leeham News: The momentum and press about electric airplanes is spinning out of control.

By Scott Hamilton

Earlier this month, there was an article from one of the most respected news organizations by a reporter who apparently isn’t an aviation reporter that read like a press release from a start-up company. The normal beat reporter would never have been taken in by the hype.

The start-up claims there will be a battery-powered BAe 146 by 2027 with a 460-mile range. Aviation reporter Jason Rabinowitz had a field day on Twitter with the claim.

LNA’s Bjorn Fehrm wrote a long series about the technical challenges of battery-powered electric airplanes. Let’s now look at the market implications.  Read more

Airbus presents their CityAirbus UAM

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 21, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Airbus helicopter division presented their entry for the UAM market today at the Airbus 2021 Summit in Toulouse.

It was a presentation of a vehicle and ecosystem that has been cooking for years. After two demonstrators that tested different aspects of eVTOL flight and thousand of hours on supercomputers and in wind tunnels, the final CityAirbus is here, Figure 1.

Its configuration is as unique as Airbus’ approach when presenting it.

Figure 1. Airbus UAM entry, the CityAirbus. Source: Airbus.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 13. Later in the Prelaunch Phase

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

July 23, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we went through the initial tasks in the Prelaunch Phase. We talked about Sales and Marketing activities, initial Concept development, and first Supplier contacts.

Now that time has passed, we are three quarters into our Program Plan (Figure 2), and we have to refine our Concept, select Suppliers, and dig deep into how to get Certification.

Figure 1. Windtunnel test of a half model of the wing and high lift devices. Source: ONERA.

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De-carbonisation of air transport is ON

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 20, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week was a game-changing week for air transport. Three events synchronized to trigger it.

EU presented 13 policies to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with concrete steps in-between. On the same day, the airframe and engine OEM’s CTOs said in a Farnborough Connect webcast: “It’s a commitment problem, not a technical problem to achieve the EU goals.”

This happened against a backdrop of European floodings, which made all discussions about climate change or not moot. Super-organized Germany lost over 100 persons to typhoon like rains, never seen before, that produced scenes like these:

Figure 1. Farnborough Connect, from top-left: Moderator Johnson, Boeing’s Hussein, GE’s Lorence, Rolls-Royce’s Stein, SAFRAN’s Dalbier, Raytheon Technologies’  Russel, and Airbus’ Klauke.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 12. The Prelaunch Phase.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

July 16, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we showed the first cut of an overall Program Plan for our 19 seat airliner project.

Now we discuss the Prelaunch Phase activities in more detail, including what type of knowledge, tools and resources we need to get on board for the project.

Figure 1. The Viking Twin-Otter utility-oriented unpressurized 19 seater. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 11. The Program Plan.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

July 9, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Now that we have done the basic market research we should scope the program. To do this we need to understand what aircraft we will develop and to what certification rules.

Our market research tells us to develop a 19 seat aircraft that can operate as a passenger and/or cargo aircraft outside the US and as cargo aircraft in the US. This enables us to certify it to FAA Part 23 and the equivalent rules of other National Aviation Authorities where we want to sell the aircraft.

Figure 1. The new Cessna SkyCourier Cargo/19 seat utility airliner. Source: Cessna.

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Eviation announces firm configuration for battery-powered 9-seater

By Bryan Corliss
July 1, 2021, © Leeham News: Seattle-area electric aircraft builder Eviation revealed Thursday that it has reached firm design configuration for its battery-powered, nine-seater Alice aircraft.

The announcement – which typically would signify that Eviation designers have locked-in design features, so that suppliers can use their drawings to begin work on their components – is more of a formality, however.

Eviation Executive Chairman Roei Ganzarski said suppliers already have delivered shipsets for the first production Alice, and mechanics at the company’s Arlington, WA, plant have begun final assembly.

“The plane is being built as we speak,” Ganzarski said. The company is on track for a first flight before year’s end, he added.

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The true cost of Electric Aircraft

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By Bjorn Fehrm


July 1, 2021, © Leeham News: In our Friday Corners, we analyze the development challenges of aircraft. We will launch a concrete project Friday where we intend to develop a 19 seat airliner. To make it interesting, it will be a Green aircraft. We focus on the Certification issues in the Corner series.

To complement it, we here look at the operating cost of a battery-based electric airliner, as there are costs that are often not presented to the public in the marketing of these alternatives. The operational costs for the huge batteries are too often forgotten.

Figure 1. Heart Aerospace ES-19 battery based airliner. Source: Heart Aerospace.

  • Electric aircraft using batteries as energy stores are proposed for extreme short-range flights (below 200nm). The short flights shall make the weight of the batteries needed bearable.
  • One advantage of these aircraft compared to today’s turboprops shall be their lower energy and maintenance costs. While this is true as long as we don’t count the batteries, including those in the maintenance costs changes the equation.

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