In the quest to build an electric powered aircraft the engineers of all times have faced obstacles when they have to design and build these aircraft, one of them is the size and weight of the batteries that run the electric motors, the weight has been too heavy and not producing enough energy to supply the needed power. Other of the main obstacles is that the consequences of failure were too high and if these aircraft running out of power meant a guarantee crash landing. During the last several years and encouraged by the progress in technology and the batteries becoming lighter, more powerful and efficient that the interests in electric propulsion systems for aircraft has grown considerably. While not quiet yet to build full size electric powered aircraft but we are seeing the developing and manufacturing of various hybrid aircraft and smaller size all electric powered aircraft.
As the hybrid designed aircraft makes a such a great improvement in efficiency due to the use of a relatively small fuel driven engine designed to run at its most efficient during cruising altitudes and use only the battery and electric motor to provide the extra power needed for takeoff and climbing, in addition the battery can recover the energy from the small fuel driven engine during descent when the propellers spin a generator to produce electric power to charge the batteries.
The recent grown in motivation for the study and developing of alternative propulsion systems is in great part of the clearly growth of the air transportation industry and this only means more fuel burning and a higher impact of the aviation industry on the environment and it will take many years until current aircraft are replaced with new generation of fuel efficient, hybrid or all electric powered aircraft but until then with the continuously growth of air traffic will lead to the increase of fossil fuel burning and therefore emissions from air traffic.
In addition to the problem of contaminating the atmosphere with fossil burning emissions the amount of the oil needed to fuel these aircraft will eventually run out, we won’t know for sure when the oil will be exhausted but we have seen the oil prices steadily rising for the last couple of years. This is one more of the incentives to the production of electric propulsion systems that are better efficient in the energy conversion and the practically no emission producing aircraft.
The dream of electric flight is nothing new and this concept has been around for many years but due to the sensitivity of aircraft to their mass it has been a very complicated accomplishment and not feasible for very long time. One of the examples of electric flight shall be talked about due to the long history of people undertaking this complicated task of the development of the electric aircraft. Fred Militky toyed with electric motors to propel model aircraft but he wasn’t very successful due to the heavy weight of the...