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Thread: Electric Nieuport?

  1. #1

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    Electric Nieuport?

    I have a set of Graham Lee 7/8 Nieuport plans that has been following me around for about the last 30 years. Don't know if I'll ever get started on it, but after watching a video on electric power for ultralights it got me thinking...It doesn't look like the motor with the batteries would weigh much more than a two stroke Rotax, but the price would be about double. Not a cross county machine by any stretch of the imagination, but should give one about 45 minutes of bugs on your teeth fun...any thoughts?

  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    I'd wonder about Center of Gravity. The electric motor will probably weigh less than a two-stroke or VW, and you'd end up with a bit of a Pinocchio nose. Not really what one wants, for a historical replica. The original engines weighed around 300 pounds. The original Nieuports had a VERY short nose.

    What would be cool is if one could assemble an annular battery; in the shape of a cylinder with a hole in the middle where the motor itself would stick through. Say, three feet in diameter and two in depth.

    Classically, electric aircraft are low drag to maximize flight time, and a Nieuport isn't low drag. But you're not interested in range, as long as you get the ~45 minute flight time. One problem is 14CFR 91.151, "Fuel Requirements for VFR Flight." To comply with that on a 45-minute flight, your battery would have to give you at least 75 minutes of flight time.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    Airmutt's Avatar
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    Couldn’t the 91.151 endurance requirement be “side stepped” if one were to operate under the definition as a local flight??
    ...1)Local operations mean operations performed by aircraft which:(i) Operate in the local traffic pattern or within sight of the airport;
    (ii) Are known to be departing for, or arriving from flight in local practice areas located within a 20-mile radius of the airport; or
    (iii) Execute simulated instrument approaches or low passes at the airport.
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  4. #4
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airmutt View Post
    Couldn’t the 91.151 endurance requirement be “side stepped” if one were to operate under the definition as a local flight??
    ...1)Local operations mean operations performed by aircraft which:(i) Operate in the local traffic pattern or within sight of the airport;
    (ii) Are known to be departing for, or arriving from flight in local practice areas located within a 20-mile radius of the airport; or
    (iii) Execute simulated instrument approaches or low passes at the airport.
    I think that would be a hard sell, as the section you quote is not in Part 91. It's in Part 170, which addresses ATC services.

    A better point in arguing is that electric don't have a discrete "out of fuel" point. When the battery gets low, power is degraded, but doesn't abruptly terminate. The trouble is, 91.151 defines range as at the normal cruising speed.

    I think the FAA is going to need to redefine this....perhaps as part of MOSAIC.

    Personally, I'd absolutely *love* an electric Fly Baby. I've run electric RC aircraft, and have been impressed with their simplicity and power.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    robert l's Avatar
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    Personally, I like to hear that noise the exhaust makes, guess that's why I had motorcycles and have a Flow Master muffler on my truck. But that's just me.
    Bob, old school, no headphones in 1973, hand held mics and a speaker at your head.

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    DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert l View Post
    Personally, I like to hear that noise the exhaust makes, guess that's why I had motorcycles and have a Flow Master muffler on my truck. But that's just me.
    Bob, old school, no headphones in 1973, hand held mics and a speaker at your head.
    WHAT???
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  7. #7
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert l View Post
    Personally, I like to hear that noise the exhaust makes, guess that's why I had motorcycles and have a Flow Master muffler on my truck. But that's just me.
    Bob, old school, no headphones in 1973, hand held mics and a speaker at your head.
    They've got noise simulators for electric cars like Teslas... make them sound like they have a V-8. No reason you couldn't add the same thing to an electric Nieuport, and simulate a LeRhone. Or make an electric Fly Baby sound like it has an R-985.

    Personally, though, I'd like to get the "Flubber" sound from the original "Absent-Minded Professor" starring Fred Murray.....

    Ron Wanttaja

  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, I looked up some of the specs for the Pipistrel Alpha Electro. Its motor weighs just 45 pounds, and it has 270 pounds of batteries. The company specs list it as having a 60-minute endurance PLUS reserve. The motor is rated at 85 HP for one minute, then 67 HP continuous.

    Sounds like it'd be just jim-dandy for a full scale Nieuport. If you can arrange the battery in a ring like I suggested earlier, the total weight of the batteries and motor will be just about that of a LeRhone. It would work for a sub-scale replica, too, though you'd probably want to distribute the battery a bit rather than packing it all under the cowl.

    The electric Pipistrel sells for about $100K. *If* the powerplant portion of that is ~1/3rd the value, it's about twice the cost of a Rotax 912.

    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9
    robert l's Avatar
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    Personally, though, I'd like to get the "Flubber" sound from the original "Absent-Minded Professor" starring Fred Murray.....

    Now that would be sweet !
    Bob

  10. #10
    Dana's Avatar
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    That full scale Nieuport won't do well on 85HP unless the motor is turning the same low rpm and spinning the same huge prop as the original Le Rhone. Many replicas with fast turning modern engines, even with several times the HP, have had marginal performance.

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