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Pipistrel USA


Welcome to Newsletter 61 - CAFE Challenge Review

Heading to the CAFE Challenge..

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Well, with only 10 days to go before the start of the 2011 cafe challenge things are really starting to heat up. The Pipistrel Taurus G4 has now flown just over 50 hours and is really showing its potential to be the strongest contender in this year's competition. Nothing however is cast in stone and something as simple as a flat tyre could take you out of the competition.

Our team is descending from all corners of the globe to represent Pipistrel, offer support encouragement and technical/mechanical services throughout the event. It is our intention to update this blog on a daily basis including photographs, videos, gossip and any other interesting information we come across. It would be great if you could join us for this journey, although it only takes seven days it is going to be an exciting ride with lots of ups and downs, trials and tribulations. I am really looking forward to it and I hope you are too. Please check back on a regular basis to get all of the latest information and updates starting from 21 September, 2011.


Taurus G4 Flight Video

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This video shows a quick circuit around the Oshkosh regional airport in Wisconsin. The Pipistrel Taurus G4 is being flown by Dave Morss.


Taurus G4 air-to-air photo session

Posted on  by Tine.Tomazic

Hi all,

Here are some mouth-watering snapshots of the Taurus G4 flying its test campaign before the race. The G4 is being piloted by Robin Reid during this photo-session. Thanks to Gregor Veble for the photographs!


Take-off and landing video of Taurus G4

Posted on  by Tine.Tomazic

Take-off and landing in high winds, pilot is Robin Reid.


Pipistrel Taurus G4 Flights at Hollister Airport

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Today is Wednesday, 21 September and our team has mostly arrived into the USA and descended on Hollister airport which is approximately 70 miles South of San Francisco. Hollister airport has been our base for the last four weeks as we continue to extend the flight envelope for the Pipistrel Taurus G4 aircraft. With almost 50 hours flown in the USA the aircraft has completed its test flight program and is undergoing the final tweaks in preparation for the upcoming cafe challenge.

On Friday or Saturday of this week we will fly the aircraft some 150 miles from Hollister airport to Santa Rosa airport where the cafe challenge event will take place.

As I sit here updating the blog I am surrounded by every aviators most-wanted toybox. 2 feet behind my head is an Albatross L39, out the front of the hanger is a T6, next door is a P 51 A series and only 10 feet away is a Wiraway, the Taurus G4 is currently being charged and is drawing almost 50 Amps after this morning’s successful flights and the day is really heating up to be very close to 100°, just like yesterday. The unofficial weather forecast is for another week +90° temperatures which makes for good weather and stable flying conditions but it is extremely hot working around the aircraft and the hard stand but inside the hanger and out of the Sun offers comfortable relief.

More information to follow……


This is a short summary of the Taurus G4s’ Tine Tomazic

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This is a short summary of the Taurus G4s’ Tine Tomazic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5vUBDoS0LA


Short and silly Interview with Jack Langelaan Pipistrel Team Leader

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Off to Santa Rosa

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Tomorrow… Friday 23rd we are leaving Hollister airport and flying the 120 miles around the San Francisco area to the competition venue, Santa Rosa. Everything is working great and arriving at Santa Rosa will give us a couple of days to settle in and get everything ready for the event. The Pipistrel engineering team not already in attendance arrive tomorrow bringing our entire team to more than 15 people! regards Michael


Video Interview with Jack Langelaan team leader for the Pipistrel-USA team

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Finally at Santa Rosa

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It’s hard to believe that all of the hard work completed previously by team Pipistrel has finally come to fruition with the aircraft arriving today at the beautiful Santa Rosa airport. The flight from Hollister took a little over 1.5 hours, the air was perfectly calm with barely a bump and without much fog we had a fantastic view of San Jose, San Francisco and the Goldengate Bridge could even be seen sticking out of the only area of fog in the Bay.

The morning started early and it was quite cold on the ground but as soon as we were up an airborne and passing through 200 or 300 feet the air temperature instantly rose to around 97°. It is really amazing how the inversion layer works on the west coast of the USA. Below the inversion layer you need a jumper, above the inversion layer you needed a cool drink.

The Pipistrel Taurus G4 performed faultlessly, at the controls was our lead pilot Mr Dave Morss to finally comfortably sat back and enjoy the ride after many, many months of endless flight testing, calculations and other sorties this was really his first time to be able to sit back and relax and enjoy the aircraft and the surrounds in perfect conditions.

Arriving at Santa Rosa we have been directed over to the Sonoma jet centre whose hospitality could not be better. We are utilising one of their large hangars normally reserved for corporate jets and it was our first opportunity to meet two of the other teams in attendance. I will have more information on the teams when I get a chance to go out and talk to everybody and can pass on the facts and figures.

The rest of our team who drove to Santa Rosa airport have finally arrived as have the last few people from Pipistrel in Slovenia. The aircraft is currently on charge after this morning’s trip from Hollister airport and tomorrow, Saturday will be spent going over the aircraft in absolute detail checking everything before the start of the event on Sunday morning. I have been told that Sunday will be scrutineering and paperwork…. the aircraft needs to be checked over by the local inspectors, all of the pilots documentation needs to be inspected and we need to be filled in on the coming weeks activities. Finally all of the aircraft will be put over the scales at the cafe headquarters and accurate weight and balance information recorded for comparison throughout the week’s competition. Interestingly and as you would expect the electric aircraft way the same on take off as they do on landing whereas some of the hybrid aircraft will need to be weighed before and after each event so they can have fuel usage calculated. More information to follow including one-on-one interview with David our chief pilot


Interview with Dave Morss

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This first interview with Dave Morss talks about the Taurus G4, the flight qualities and asks the question…. What does such an unusual aircraft fly like ??


2011 CAFE Challenge the eGenius

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The 2011 cafe challenge has finally started with team briefing this morning (Sunday) and many of the competitors arriving. The eGenius aircraft shown in the video below shares a lot of parts in common with the Pipistrel Taurus aircraft. The wings have been manufactured as is the fuselage forward of the leading edge. This unique aircraft which is electric powered was originally designed to run with hydrogen but was converted to electric sometime ago. The electric motor is located on the leading edge of the vertical stabiliser as shown in the video


2011 CAFE Challenge Checking In

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The 2011 cafe challenge is underway and all contestants are required to check in and undergo complete paperwork review which includes checking all of the aircraft documentation, registration, weight and balance, pilot information and most importantly insurance.


Team Pipistrel 2011 Cafe Challenge – Team Photo

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Group photo of team Pipistrel

Group photo of Pipistrel team at the start of the competition

from left to right we have Michael, Fritz, Vit, Dave Morss (pilot), Tine, Ivo Boscarol (owner of Pipistrel), (kneeling) Gregor, Jure, Robin (copilot), Kirk, Jack (team leader), Franci, Vance, Mojca (Billy Bond).


BREAKING NEWS

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It is unfortunate but it looks like the team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida has been forced to withdraw from the competition. Unfortunately this reduces the competition from four aircraft to three aircraft. I haven’t had a chance to talk to the team leader personally but I am sure all of the team would be disappointed. The team is made up of university students and in my opinion they have done a great job in getting this far. Hopefully they will be able to participate in the competition even though they will be ineligible for the prizes. It would be great to see how their Rotax powered hybrid engine would compare to other aircraft in the competition. More information and hopefully an interview with a team leader to follow.


Load testing the electric engine

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In this short interview Pipistrel’s Tine Tomazic explains how cafe are testing the Pipistrel Taurus G4 aircraft by putting a load on the power cell to validate its capacity.


Interview with Jim Lee – Phoenix Aircraft

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In this interview with Jim Lee who is pilot of the Phoenix aircraft we talk a little bit about his aircraft and expectations for the competition. Jim is flying a standard Phoenix aircraft powered by a Rotax 100 hp engine.


Pipistrel Co-Pilot Robin Reid talks about his preparation for the event

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Pipistrel Co-Pilot Robin Reid talks about his preparation for the event.


Interview with Mike Friend – Boeing

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In this interview with Mike Friend from Boeing we discuss his interest in electric aircraft, the current technology and the future direction for electric aircraft.

Interesting viewing


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Back in the GFC

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With support and pressure from the other teams in the green flight challenge team Embry-Riddle which had been officially disqualified from the event is now able to fly in the competition as an exhibition aircraft.

This is great news for the team of mainly university students who have worked for almost 2 years on the project. At least now we can see the potential and capabilities of their aircraft even though they will not be eligible for any prizemoney in the competition.

I believe that all teams congratulate the organisers of the 2011 cafe challenge for allowing the team to continue in the flying events.

Many people have asked why the team was originally disqualified and I can now report it was a combination of two things, firstly the aircraft did not have the ballistic parachute fitted which is a requirement of the competition rules and secondly, if you have a two seat aircraft it needs to be flown with two people. This Embry-Riddle University team has to also follow very strict rules and regulations from the University and this meant that only one person was allowed to fly in an experimental aircraft. Their intention to ballast the aircraft with enough wait for the second person was disallowed by the organisers.


How much do you weigh ??

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Probably the most important task in the cafe challenge is weighing the aircraft. The aircraft is weighed for a number of reasons but if it was running on gasoline/petrol then this would be the only way to know the fuel consumption. Before a particular task the aircraft would be weighed on the scales full of fuel, as soon as the aircraft returned from a task it would be re-weighed and the difference is calculated to be the amount of fuel used. The electric aircraft must also be weighed along with the pilots and all of the equipment (what we call removable ballast) this is also vitally important for the competition because it could be an unfair advantage if the pilot arrived on the day one weigh-in with his pockets full of lead and then flew the rest of the competition at a lighter weight giving the aircraft an unfair advantage. We also look at how they calculate the field of view with a very simple but accurate instrument using a laser pointer.


Day 1 Competition Review

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Today was a very busy day starting at 8 AM with the pilot briefing and the fog leaving the area at around 9.30 AM. The first task of today was to accurately weigh all of the aircraft and complete the field of vision testing. Most of the aircraft took around two hours to complete the weighing procedure which seem to be much quicker than in the previous two events. It is hard to make most people understand the complexity and the accuracy when the aircraft are being weighed but this is wholly the single most important task of the whole event.

Around 2 PM in the afternoon the aircraft were ready for the first competition of the 2011 green flight challenge. The task for this afternoon basically involved two requirements and that was to take off the runway and clear a 50 foot high imaginary obstacle in less than 2000 feet from brake release. At the same time all of the aircraft were measured at different locations along the runway for their noise output. One of the reasons we are having this type of competition is to try and make aircraft as quiet as possible to avoid pressure by residential housing at shutting down local airports.

To the best of my knowledge from my vantage point I believe that all aircraft passed this test successfully and I must say the noise they produced was marginal when compared to regular airport traffic taking off and landing.

After the event aircraft were returned to be secure compound where maximum of four members of each team were able to work on the aircraft by recharging the batteries, downloading any information out of data recorders and also in the case of the fuel powered aircraft re-fueling for tomorrow’s competition.

The forecast for tomorrow is for a high of around 90°F, a cool start to the morning with the usual fog hanging around the area until around 9:30 AM after which it warms up nicely!


Interview with Lori Costello Embry Riddle University

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Team Embry Riddle with their Hybrid Rotax/electric powered Stemme Aircraft. An interesting interview with Lori Costello talking about their aircraft which was developed by University students.


Preview of day 2

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Preview of the days events for day 2 along with an interview with Jim Lee


Day 2 Interview with Pipistrel’s Tine Tomazic

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Day 2 Interview with Pipistrel’s Tine Tomazic


Interview with Kirk Miles at the 2011 GFC CAFE Challenge

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In this interview Kirk explains the importance of accurate weather predictions to get the best performance during the challenge. Interesting viewing.


Interviews between the start and end of the 1st race 2011 GFC CAFE Challenge

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Interviews between the start and end of the race 2011 GFC CAFE Challenge


Unusual photos of the new TOP SECRET Pipistrel Propeller

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Here are some really weird photos taken from the cockpit by Robin Reid during the first race. These photos demonstrate the new Pipistrel liquid propeller technologies! …..

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger photo

Photo from the data recorders of part of the flight records

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The information from our data loggers is dropped into Google Earth and clearly shows the flight path in blue going around the Geyser Peak Mountain turnpoint on the 4 separate times we passed this location..

Using the data loggers allows us to make sure our tasks are completed properly and within the competition parameters. The data loggers record EVERYTHING every 5 seconds including lat, long, speed, altitude, sound from the engine and a dozen other pieces of information that can be reviewed for accuracy after the flight. All the data is encrypted into a special file format that cant be modified for security of the data.


Wednesday Update GFC Sponsored by Google

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Today, Wednesday is a lay-day in the event. It is an opportunity for teams to review the previous day’s competition and it is an opportunity for the organisers to make sure all of the data collected was accurate. The aircraft remain impounded all day with the only activity allowed being recharging the batteries.

The event would not happen without support and sponsorship from a number of different organisations and in this morning’s briefing it was reinforced that we use the correct titles for the event and correctly acknowledged the sponsors. (which is understandably extremely important)

Hopefully I have all this right but the official name for the event is the Green Flight Challenge 2011 sponsored by Google, Google’s donation and sponsorship has allowed the CAFE Foundation to make many improvements to their facilities including fitting the large charging stations needed for recharging the electric aircraft. NASA’s role offers the prize money for the event as part of the Centennial challenge programs and coordinating all of this is the CAFE Foundation who run and oversee the competition, record the data and ultimately declare the winner.

Tomorrow we have the speed run which is a very important part of the event and there are some slight concerns of the weather changing. Over the past days we have experienced temperatures in the mid-to high 90s, clear blue sky and the wind probably no more than 5 to 10 kn after lunchtime with all morning being absolutely calm. Tomorrow morning we are tasked with getting the competitors away as early as possible because a weather change is expected at around lunchtime with overcast conditions and a high probability of rain in the afternoon and following days.

The speed run is exactly as the name implies, the aircraft are tasked to fly a course at a speed above 100 mph, obviously the faster you go the better your result but in the spirit of competition there is always a catch…. When you land you must demonstrate at least 30 min of reserve power at your average flight power. So throughout the course they record the energy consumption and let’s for example say it was a figure of 100kWh for the 2 hour course, when you land you need to have a 30 min reserve which means you still have to have a demonstrated amount of 25kWh left as a safety margin. If you go too fast throughout the course then you may run your batteries flat or not have sufficient reserves for the required reserve amount so as you can imagine is a very delicate balancing act between getting the best performance from the aircraft but at the same time maintaining your battery reserves, if you land and don’t have the sufficient reserve you are disqualified from the competition so the power of control and power management is vitally important for this competition. More to report later……


Day 3 Interview with Jack and Kirk about weather planning

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Day 3 Interview with Jack and Kirk about weather planning, calculating the most efficient way of flying the course.


Interview with the NASA press crew

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What do NASA do ?? This interview with the NASA press crew explain their roles in liaising with media and promoting the Green Flight Challenge – sponsored by Google around the world.


Pipistrel Green Flight Challenge 2011 support

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Logistically the Green Flight Challenge requires a lot of additional support. It is not just the aircraft which come the competition but a truck load of spare parts and other technical and engineering support. He we discuss some of the logistics


Charging an electric aircraft – Tim Seeley explains

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it takes a lot of work to recharge and electric aircraft for the first time this year power has been brought in from the mains Street supply through a number of different converters into a new substation which has been designed to safely reduce the voltage and distribute the power to recharge the aircraft. Here Tim Seeley explains the process of recharging the aircraft.


Pipistrel on NASA TV

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NASA TV is here recording the event for their media channels. Today NASA TV interviews team leader Jack Langelaan and Pilot Dave Morss.


Pipistrel GFC 2011 – sponsored by Google Picture Gallery

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Race day 4 – Preparation photos before the race

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Day 4 Update with Jack Langelaan CAFE GFC 2011

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Day 4 Update with Jack Langelaan CAFE GFC 2011


Day 4 take off runway 19 Santa Rosa GFC sponsored by Google

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Day 4 take off runway 19 Santa Rosa


Interview with Tine about take-off and flat tyre

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Interview with Tine about take-off and flat tyre


Mid Race Update with Jack and Kirk GFC 2011 sponsored by Google

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Mid Race Update with Jack and Kirk GFC 2011 sponsored by Google


End of Race Interview with Jim Lee – Team Phoenix

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End of Race Interview with Jim Lee – Team Phoenix


Interview with Marici Reid – Wife of co-pilot Robin Reid

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Interview with Marici Reid – Wife of co-pilot Robin Reid


Race Interview with Ivo Boscarol Owner of Pipistrel Day 4 minutes from race end

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Race Interview with Ivo Boscarol Owner of Pipistrel Day 4 minutes from race end


Interview with Team Pipistrel moments before race end 2011 GFC

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Interview with Team Pipistrel moments before race end 2011 GFC


Finishing Celebrations Pipistrel – GFC 2011 Sponsored by Google

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Finishing Celebrations Pipistrel Day 4 race – GFC 2011 Sponsored by Google


Final test run Interview with Jack and Robin

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Final test run Interview with Jack and Robin


The final run – After 1.5 hours of ground run the team can now relax

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The final run – After 1.5 hours of ground run the team can now relax


Final day photo gallery

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Lindbergh Prize To Be Awarded To The Quietest Aircraft Posted on 

Information from aero-news.net

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=06faa161-bd9f-4508-89e0-75fafd4a77e0

Lindbergh Prize To Be Awarded To The Quietest Aircraft

Award To Be Presented At NASA’s Green Flight Challenge
Erik Lindbergh said on the blog of The Lindbergh Foundation that the first annual Lindbergh Prize for Quietest Aircraft will be awarded at the NASA Green Flight Challenge being held this week at Charles M. Shulz airport in Santa Rosa California.

“We believe this prize addresses one of the most critical issues facing aviation today – noise,” Lindbergh (pictured) wrote. “General aviation is losing its critical infrastructure (airports) at an alarming rate and noise is one of the biggest reasons. Thanks to a generous donation from Jeannie Shulz we are pleased to offer a $10,000 prize purse to go with this award.”

Lindbergh wrote that, as a witness to the birth of the electric aircraft industry, and after watching the Berblinger competition flights in Germany this April and now the NASA Green Flight Challenge … which offers the largest aviation cash prize in history … “it is easy to look into the near future and imagine how electric aircraft have the potential to change the way we travel. Simpler, easier to fly and maintain, cheaper… renewable energy… these benefits all address another critical issue facing general aviation – cost.”

He said that if the cost barrier to flying an be reduced, it will go a long way toward revitalizing general aviation. “The first company to produce a certified two seat electric aircraft with a 1.5 hour range will dominate the aviation training market,” he said. “Is that company here? In Europe? China? Not sure, but it sure is fun to watch to watch these visionary designers as they are creating the future of flight, and I cant wait to fly one! -Erik”

FMI: http://lindberghprize.org


Joe Parrish Chief Technical Officer NASA talks about the GFC 2011

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Joe Parrish Chief Technical Officer NASA talks about the GFC 2011


Day 6 Photos – Revealing the Technology

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