27.7.12

PAGING NIKOLA TESLA

Among the goodies at this year's Oshkosh Air Show, battery-electric airplanes.
A two-day electric flight symposium continues on Friday with speakers from NASA's Langley Research Center, Argonne National Labs and electric aircraft designers.

[Chip] Yates, the entrepreneur behind the world's fastest electric motorcycle, made the 16-minute maiden flight of his electric aircraft July 18 in California. A few days later, he brought to Oshkosh his vision and his plane - a Long-EZ homebuilt aircraft - outfitted with a 258 horsepower liquid-cooled, brushless electric motor and 453 volt, 600 amp battery pack.

"We're sort of tired of hearing electric flight is not feasible, and we're tired of people blaming battery manufacturers," Yates said Thursday.

Before he can fly Lindbergh's 3,500-mile nonstop route, though, he and his team must figure out how to recharge the batteries - in air.

Yates will need to recharge the battery pack five times while recreating Lindbergh's route, which he hopes to do in 2014. He's talking to the Navy about using aerial drones to recharge or possibly a probe from an aircraft, similar to the military's air refueling planes, or even docking with another aircraft in midair, said Mike Beadle, mechanical engineer on Yates' Flight of the Century project.
Now, if only J. P. Morgan hadn't withdrawn funding from Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower project because effective ways of monitoring and metering consumption didn't yet exist ...  But at MIT (where, according to a physics student, the Tesla notebooks are in an archive) a team has illuminated a lightbulb at a distance, using Tesla-style induction coils.  Lightbulb, battery charger, beam me up!

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