Friday, October 14, 2011

Affordable Electric Plane NOW?

Back in 1997 or so I longed to use a different kind of vehicle.  Those who know me probably could never guess I had this kind of adventurous spirit or that I long so much for those days of old but yes, back then I attempted to get my Pilot's License on a Cessna 152.

Now, to cut a potentially long story short, I never finished my VFR (Visual Flight Rules) training nor took the written exam, though I did complete the ground course over at Freeway Airport in Bowie, MD — a bit of a long hall these days.  But in late 1997, for reasons I can't for the life of me remember, I stopped.  Strangely enough, this was soon after I put down a $500 deposit on a block account that still has about $250 or so on it.  Not that I expect their records go back 10 years such that I could reclaim it; it's my own fault for stopping.  In 1999 my Class 3 Medical Certificate and Student Pilot's Licence expired and since then not only have I been too lazy to drive out to Freeway but I've even been to lazy to renew the license.

Now recently I've been very focused on Electric Vehicles, in case you hadn't heard.  And although this site is Affordable Electric Car NOW!, for an aspiring pilot like me, it doesn't stop there (and don't get my started on my plan for the Affordable Self-Driving Electric Car NOW! page I'm planning to start in about 8 years).  I still dream of flying around the country, from city to city in a plane of my very own, and how more appropriate could that be if I did it electrically?

Great Minds Think Alike

I truly believe it'll one day be possible to fly a full-sized airplane using only Electricity — and I'm not the only one.  For instance, Cessna with Beyond Aviation are attempting to do just that: Electric Cessna 172 Begins Taxi Tests.  It'll be a number of years before an Electric Cessna is commercially available, to be sure, but I've got time; I'm already 10+ years invested in patience!

But to be honest, I'd love a hands-on hobby, so I'm making it a goal of mine, over the next 10 years, to either purchase or (more likely) retrofit a Cessna 172 for electric propulsion.

Of course, let's not jump the gun.  First I need to finish my VFR and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) coursework and pass the flying tests — and before even that renew my Class 3 Student Pilot's licence, and I'd better do that before I turn 40!  Only then would I look into purchasing a second-hand Cessna and start the detailed and intricate research into replacing the Internal Combustion Engine with an electric motor and the fuel tanks in the wings with light-weight and efficient, advanced Lithium or newer technology batteries.

But that'll be years off and there's lots of time for better, lighter battery technology to develop.  And heck, by the time I get to it, maybe I can even put on a layer of Photovoltaic paint along the top of my fuselage and wings.  But before all of that, there's also this business with the Electric Car I've been talking about…