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News

Tow carbon fabrics save over 50% of weight on e-Go aircraft

Oxeon : 10 November, 2013  (Application Story)
In front of a large invited audience, the e-Go prototype took to the skies of Norfolk on 30 October 2013 for its official First Flight. In the careful hands of the company’s Chief Test Pilot, Keith Dennison, the aircraft gracefully took to the air and flew a lively display sequence.
Operating to the north of Cambridge, e-Go aeroplanes is creating the striking, new, very lightweight e-Go aircraft. This design-led product will cost dramatically less to fly than traditional aircraft. Interest in the product is high and the company has first deposits for aircraft which will be delivered in 2015.
 
Microlight rules
 
The aircraft is designed to comply with the United Kingdom Single Seat De-Regulated microlight class, as well as to fit the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale microlight rules. The aircraft cruise speed is planned to be modified for US light-sport aircraft rules. Ultralight aviation (called microlight aviation in some countries) is the flying of lightweight, one or two seat fixed-wing aircraft. Some countries differentiate between weight shift and three-axis aircraft, calling the former "microlight" and the latter "ultralight".
 
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, mostly stimulated by the hang gliding movement, many people sought affordable powered flight. As a result, many aviation authorities set up definitions of lightweight, slow-flying aeroplanes that could be subject to minimum regulations. The resulting aeroplanes are commonly called "ultralight aircraft" or "microlights", although the weight and speed limits differ from country to country. In Europe the sporting (FAI) definition limits the maximum take-off weight to 450kg (472.5kg if a ballistic parachute is installed) and a maximum stalling speed of 65km/h . The definition means that the aircraft has a slow landing speed and short landing roll in the event of an engine failure.
 
In most affluent countries, microlights or ultralight aircraft now account for a significant percentage of the global civilian-owned aircraft. For instance in Canada in October 2010, the ultralight aircraft fleet made up to 19% of the total civilian aircraft registered. In other countries that do not register ultralight aircraft, like the United States, it is unknown what proportion of the total fleet they make up.[2] In countries where there is no specific extra regulation, ultralights are considered regular aircraft and subject to certification requirements for both aircraft and pilot.
 
Specification
  • ull glass cockpit (a large screen that gives you flight instruments, engine  monitoring, check lists and navigation) integrated into the e-Go
  • state-of-the-art wankel engine with very low vibration, ECU and fuel injection
  • integrated heating, ventilation and de-misting system
  • integrated flight simulation system (yes, sit in your e-Go in the hangar and fly!)
  • easily removed wings and canard, and an optional e-Go trailer. No need to pay hangar fees again
  • transition training at e-Go aeroplanes. This includes a briefing on the flight characteristics of the e-Go, supervised transition training on the simulator and monitoring by an instructor for your initial flights
  • ready-to-fly
  • price currently estimated to be about £50,000 plus VAT in the UK
Design and materials of construction
 
The aircraft features a cantilever mid-wing, a canard foreplane, a single-seat enclosed cockpit, fixed tricycle landing gear and a single Rotron e-Go engine in pusher configuration.
 
It is made from a combination of carbon fibre and foam. Its 8m span wing has an area of 11.5m<2>. The standard engine will be a 40hp (30 kW) rotary engine, which is expected to give a cruise speed of 222km/h (138 mph) on 3.5 litres per 100km.
 
The concept for the aircraft was just an idea in Giotto Castelli’s mind 10 years ago; the concept won a national aviation competition in 2007 and as a result of the global interest shown in the design, e-Go aeroplanes was started with Giotto leading the design effort to bring the prototype to flying status.
 
Giotto Castelli described his vision for the aircraft: “I believe the canard design (small front wing) can offer great maneuverability and efficient aerodynamics. The e-Go adds to that an impressive field of view and a very compact airframe with simple lines which the air likes as much as the eye does. This also allows the weight to be kept to an absolute minimum. It is amazing to have had so many individuals and companies supporting this seemingly infectious project.”
 
Generally, utilisation of TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fabrics and carbon UD tapes by manufacturers of advanced aerospace, industrial and sports products provides 20-30% lighter composite parts, that  can be produced with improved mechanical properties and superior surface smoothness. For e-Go, on certain parts the weight saving is as much as 53%.
 
Malcolm Bird, Executive Chairman commented: “The aircraft embodies many novel features and benefits from the aviation authority in the UK relaxing its regulation on very light aircraft. This has allowed e-Go aeroplanes to develop a completely new aircraft in a short time and with the minimum of red tape. It is good to be involved in the revival of a British aviation industry.”
  • E-Go Centre, Main Hall Farm, Conington, Cambridge CB23 4LR
  • http://www.e-goaeroplanes.com/
 
10 facts about the e-Go
 
What pilot’s licence do I need? In the UK, it’s classed as a microlight. In the US it’ll be a Light Sport Aircraft. Each come with associated pilot licences and medical requirements that are less than full PPL requirements.
Can I get it insured? We have checked with our UK insurer, who is happy to provide third party (only) insurance of £1,000,000 for a modest premium.
What about flying the e-Go abroad? Unfortunately no other country has an unregulated class like ours except Canada (Basic Ultra-Light Aeroplane). The USA has a 120 kg ultralight class, but with a maximum speed of only 55kts! We plan start in the US with an experimental version, followed by LSA kits and complete aircraft. In Europe, Germany now has a 120Kg class, ‘though it’s not fully deregulated. We hope to do that soon, followed by an ELA version.
What about seat adjustments? The seat is fixed (it doubles as a fuselage frame to minimise weight). We adjust for leg length using the rudder pedals, and for height using different seat cushions. Seat cushions, being pilot-supplied, are excluded from the 115kg maximum weight.
What about storing it in a trailer at home? We’re designing it to fit a trailer, and to be reasonably quick to assemble. We are planning a trailer to go with the plane.
Will it be fitted with a ballistic recovery system? Not on the SSDR version. Just too heavy for a 115kg aircraft. But we may do a version for the German market, which is under 120kg with a ballistic chute.
Why a wankel engine? Aren’t they unreliable and thirsty? Above all, they can be very light. And the new breed of wankels are proving to be very smooth and reliable. Together with our very low drag, we get good mpg.
I’m big. Can I fly it? We’ve designed it for a 99th percentile US army guy. That’s 6ft 4inches and 220lbs. The height allows for a headset. And the hip width is 17.8 inches / 453mm. So even you McDonalds lovers should fit.
What’s the field performance? We plan that it’ll operate out of a good quality 300metre/yard grass strip.
What about a two-seater? With a name like alter-e-Go available, who could resist? And then of course there might have to be a super-e-Go too.
 
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