Eviation Alice (Electric Regional Airliner)

Zoo Tycoon

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The single most ridiculous aircraft configuration ever to have made it to hardware in the last fifty years.
It’s the same take off mass as a Fairchild Metroliner (FM) with two thirds the installed power and half the wing area. In the event of a few degrees of roll and a prop touching the ground we’re told it won’t roll into the ground in less than a second because it will instantly stop the other engine? That leaves on just the tail engine which can be overdriven from its 12% of the FM but then not mentioned that the thrust is limited by the area of a CS propeller ? The only place that’s going to get you to is the accident site.
Given the current embarrassment at the FAA do they really think they would give such a joke the time of day? Hands up those who think the fire was an accident.
The range and cruise altitude are just nonsense for the technology which they would need to qualifying today to meet there delivery promises.
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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The first piston-engined passenger aircraft were terrible deathtraps in comparison to the modern airliners. For one, I'm at the very least interested to see the prototype in action.
 

Raberto

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There's an absolute paucity of recent news on this project since the fire at Prescott, apart from the announcement back in May that GKN are collaborating on 'design and manufacture of wings, empennage and electrical wiring interconnection systems (EWIS) for Alice'.

Their facebook page reveals that they're recruiting new team members but I can't help wonder at the total lack of publicity.

Agree on the certifiability (or otherwise) of the tip props....
 

TomcatViP

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The industry will adapt... Especially at a promised 200$ an hour!

Notice however that cabin ceiling looks quite minimal as is downward vision for the pilots.
 

Raberto

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Flightglobal article following recent release of the 22 January fire incident report:


You have to register to read the full article. Still precisely nothing from Eviation anytime lately!
 

TomcatViP

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Thank you @Raberto but FlightGlobal is now behind a paywall. Those among us that haven't subscribed yet are unable to see the content of your link.
 

TomS

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Thank you @Raberto but FlightGlobal is now behind a paywall. Those among us that haven't subscribed yet are unable to see the content of your link.

I was able to see the article with just the free registration. But remember that this isn't an actual root cause investigation report, so there is no real technical information about the aircraft.
 

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Raberto

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Thank you @Raberto but FlightGlobal is now behind a paywall. Those among us that haven't subscribed yet are unable to see the content of your link.
I haven't subscribed either - just registered with an email address...
 

Flyaway

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Flightglobal article following recent release of the 22 January fire incident report:


You have to register to read the full article. Still precisely nothing from Eviation anytime lately!
It’s now out from behind the paywall.
 

TomcatViP

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Yes. I am unable too. I wonder if it might not be user specific (users that had their accounts compromised in the past).
 

Raberto

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More news on flightglobal.com:


As before, you might need to register to see the full report.

By the sounds of it, one of the 'minor modifications' hinted at by the CEO is being interpreted as potentially being the (rather non-minor!) repositioning of the wingtip propellers....

Watch this space I guess!
 

Raberto

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Flightglobal has printed an unverified image of the 'tweaked' Alice design that indicates that the wingtip and tail pusher motor locations have been dropped in favour of a twin tractor design with the motors in pods either side the tail boom - which now sports a T arrangement replacing the V of the previous design. No comment from Eviation as yet!

Link here:

 

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76218_eviationalice_390777.jpg
 

Raberto

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So the naysayers were right. The exotic layout they picked was an engineering nightmare and would have been very difficult to certify. This layout looks much more manageable.

The first time I saw the (as you rightly say) exotic and uncertifiable wingtip props I couldn't help but be reminded of this beauty of a takeoff from the classic Dalton Bond movie 'Licence to Kill' =)

Licence to Kill Cessna Wingtip Strike.png
 

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What I find intriguing is the way that aeroplanes drawn by graphic artist who are clueless about physics, certification, practical flight operations, etc are becoming the favourite way into accessing entrepreneur funding. That this, in its original form, got to hardware I can only put down to an “emperors new cloths” type situation..... no one close to the top was prepared to tell it as it is...... until it caught fire.

Anyway it’ll be interesting to see what there new performance claims are. The original predictions were as ridiculous as their configuration.

I believe another (not Alice) graphic artist drawn, hopeless architecture but mega funded aeroplane is about to revise its configuration......We’ll see.
 
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Zoo Tycoon

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Hi Tom
I was thinking of another project (not Alice) but didn’t want to name it.

However I agree these wing and tail area’s look pretty small, ....gee that wing is having to work for a living. It translates to high take off and landing speed which then knocks onto the high lift system ( Slats and Flaps) selection. Also for Alice’s passengers to make their destination the wings must be clean. I’m not saying clean once a week or even daily;- it must remain clean (dead bug free) even at the end of a one hour sector.
 
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galgot

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So the naysayers were right. The exotic layout they picked was an engineering nightmare and would have been very difficult to certify. This layout looks much more manageable.

The first time I saw the (as you rightly say) exotic and uncertifiable wingtip props I couldn't help but be reminded of this beauty of a takeoff from the classic Dalton Bond movie 'Licence to Kill' =)

View attachment 649415
Yeah , imagine... with wingtip props , Bond could chop villains heads with the props passing like that.
Chop chop chop...
 
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Raberto

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So the naysayers were right. The exotic layout they picked was an engineering nightmare and would have been very difficult to certify. This layout looks much more manageable.

The first time I saw the (as you rightly say) exotic and uncertifiable wingtip props I couldn't help but be reminded of this beauty of a takeoff from the classic Dalton Bond movie 'Licence to Kill' =)

View attachment 649415
Yeah , imagine... with wingtip props , Bond could chop villains heads with the props passing like that.
Chop chop chop...
Yes lol They already did something like that in The World Is Not Enough, but with a helo:

Twine99b.jpg
 

Raberto

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So the naysayers were right. The exotic layout they picked was an engineering nightmare and would have been very difficult to certify. This layout looks much more manageable.
It's starting to look not dissimilar to this proposal now:


Any comment on the benefit or otherwise of the twin podded rear motor locations?
 

pathology_doc

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Unless there is some major breakthrough in safe, compact, light-weight energy storage, energy density will defeat them every time. Cars are fine for all-electric power since the occupants can stop and leave the vehicle at any time, and an engine failure won't intrinsically kill you. Airplanes do not have that luxury.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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Any comment on the benefit or otherwise of the twin podded rear motor locations?

I’ve a lot more time for Bye and generally their claims. Most of the time they’re refreshingly honest

Take this by way of an example ;-

“One of the biggest problems that researchers have been trying to overcome with lithium-sulfur is that the lithium metal anode degrades quickly and the batteries are toast after a few score discharge-recharge cycles. But Hampson-Jones says Oxis has developed a method to improve longevity that’s allowed the development of cells that have achieved “several hundreds” of cycles. Oxis is promising Bye cells that will be good for 800 cycles, which Bye says would mean its battery packs could last five to ten years before requiring replacement.”

In the past 5-6 years I’ve seen numerous claims that we’ve almost got a magic battery, but they’ve all failed to make it past the finish line. But at least Bye is explaining it as it is, albeit with an optimistic spin. BTW 800 cycles in five to ten years is sole owner private aeroplane rather than commercial operation.

However I’m a bit turned off by one figure in the article. Sure recharging during descent can be done but not at 15% total capacity;- the study I was involved in was a lot, lot less than that.

Another intriguing thought here is, you purchase this electric marvel operate it for ten years, 800 flights and need a new battery;- there’s no guarantee that one will be available, fully flight certified . I can’t even find a small PCB for an eight year old mass market product..... they all just say “well that’s piece part obsolescent mate”

As for twin podded engines at approx third span, on something of this size;- it’s the way I would do it...... Yes, boring but very likely to work, be safe and if the magic cells turn up, be certified/sold to a customer.
 

AeroFranz

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Any comment on the benefit or otherwise of the twin podded rear motor locations?

However I’m a bit turned off by one figure in the article. Sure recharging during descent can be done but not at 15% total capacity;- the study I was involved in was a lot, lot less than that.

...

As for twin podded engines at approx third span, on something of this size;- it’s the way I would do it...... Yes, boring but very likely to work, be safe and if the magic cells turn up, be certified/sold to a customer.
The only other data point we have is Pipistrel. I remember seeing presentations by their chief designer saying for their trainer they could get an extra touch an go (six instead of seven) by using regen during descent. He said they had to tweak the prop design to make it suitable to regen. But that's for a trainer that probably doesn't spend much time cruising, but performs descents several time per flight, and as such can trade a bit of cruise efficiency for some extra time in the air. I'm guessing it would be a poor trade for a cross-country vehicle to do this.
1619213992575.png

As for engine location, the obvious, conventional positioning is typically the best. For this vehicle type, and with propeller discs, the overwing position maybe be the simplest to integrate. There are a few prop-driven aircraft with podded installations, but i suspect there's added challenges (see Saras below, one of the few aircraft i can think of). The pylons are kinda long and angled upwards to give the prop clearance against tailstrike.
1619213865105.png
 

Avimimus

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The single most ridiculous aircraft configuration ever to have made it to hardware in the last fifty years.

I mean, isn't that a bit of a stretch? You've been on this forum from 2008 - and I agree that a lot of the worst designs to reach hardware are more than fifty years old - but there are definitely a few which could give this one a run for its money. This forum has a lot of bad ideas if one is willing to not avert one's gaze...!

I agree with the observations about 'engine-out' performance, pilot training, and certification issues... but it should be flyable and the layout does have some merits (not that this particular set of design trade-offs is advisable - but there is a logic to it)...
 

dannydale

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I mean, isn't that a bit of a stretch? You've been on this forum from 2008 - and I agree that a lot of the worst designs to reach hardware are more than fifty years old - but there are definitely a few which could give this one a run for its money. This forum has a lot of bad ideas if one is willing to not avert one's gaze...!
Yeah, I've seen worse. As an aside, I had a thought that as 3d printing matures and becomes both more capable and accessible, we might start to see a proliferation of backyarders building their weird ideas in the coming decades. It'll be fun! :p
 

coanda

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Well now at least we have something that could have come from an engineering degree.

Rear mount podded propulsion is good for the cabin - no noisy props in line with seats and the view is unobstructed. Also allows a more rearward mounted wing - again, good for the cabin. Keep in mind that these kinds of aircraft serve the owner passengers and everything is aimed at encouraging them to spend their money with you by your design giving them the nicest most luxurious experience, right from the basic design.

If they're going for podded rear props, I don't see why they don't put them in a tractor configuration and hide the tips with a U shaped tailplane to reduce overhead and sideways noise.
 

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gee that wing is having to work for a living

IIRC, the fuselage is supposed to function as a lifting body. It has a near-semicircular cross-section, making it look rather plump in comparison with the wing from an upper three-quarter angle. Maybe that's a different kind of insane...
 

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This is the one electric aircraft I would bet money on. Tecnam and Rolls Royce, two established players in the industry, are planning on bringing this aircraft to the market in 2026. Granted a conversion of an existing aircraft will never be as efficient as a clean sheet design, but it will be cheaper to develop and easier to certify than something along the lines of the Eviation Alice. Not to mention these firms understand the complexities and challenges of the certification process a lot more than any of these start up companies.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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Granted a conversion of an existing aircraft will never be as efficient as a clean sheet design, but it will be cheaper to develop and easier to certify.

Converting an existing aircraft from IC engines to electric just doesn’t work, other than to give those involved some real learning, demonstrate a flight around the circuit and generate publicity....deceiving investors seems to be poplar within e-aviation.

The power source conversion runs so deep into architecture there’s no saving on certification. Take for instance the mass which with E-Aeroplane doesn’t change during the flight. This means all the structure normally designed by the landing mass loads is no longer strong enough, hence need re-enforcement and likewise re-certification. Existing IC configurations are aerodynamic optimised for a cruise speed and altitude which is appropriate for the compression ratio of the engines. Imposing this onto an electric based aeroplane is massively penalising and shows up as an impractical range which is useless to any customer..... again apart from those seeking publicity.

With the project I was involved in, it was surprising how even seasoned engineers struggled with the grim reality of how little stored energy was available. Equally it also highlighted just how inefficient existing IC driven aircraft really are. In essence making a little go a long way demands deep, from first principles optimisation which just isn’t possible with the conversion of an existing design.
Any serious electric aeroplane will be from a clean sheet.
 
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coanda

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I tend to agree. You're going to need to work every department hard to maximise the range of a current and near term electric aircraft. At best you might get 25% of the range of an equivalent IC aircraft.
 

VTOLicious

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This is the one electric aircraft I would bet money on. Tecnam and Rolls Royce, two established players in the industry, are planning on bringing this aircraft to the market in 2026. Granted a conversion of an existing aircraft will never be as efficient as a clean sheet design, but it will be cheaper to develop and easier to certify than something along the lines of the Eviation Alice. Not to mention these firms understand the complexities and challenges of the certification process a lot more than any of these start up companies.
NASA's X-57 is actually based on a Tecnam airframe...
 

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