Al Marsh

Then again, maybe not

June 25, 2008 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

In March 2004, I told you in an ePilot article that the 346-pound DynAero Lafayette III, an experimental airplane with an electric motor powered by a fuel cell, would fly by late summer, according to Jim Dunn of Advanced Technology Products in Worcester, Massachusetts. But it never happened.

The program got to taxi tests but did not progress further primarily due to lack of funding. Most of the available funds were used to purchase a high energy density fuel cell that failed during testing. Still, dozens of students learned a great deal about electrically powered vehicles and airplanes by using the Lafayette project for their research. By now they are out there working on alternatives to present energy sources, so the mission of the Lafayette is a success, even though it never left the ground.


One Response to “Then again, maybe not”

  1. Blain Smipy Says:

    We certainly need something in GA to beat the rising fuel cost. And speaking of such, I’ve seen nothing from AOPA about the dramatic drop in GA air traffic due directly to the current fuel crisis. My airport (FTG) is reporting an over 50% drop in T/O and Landings since last summer. The FBO’s and flight schools are going under and the airport its self is in jeopardy of defaulting on many of its loans. Is this a wake up call for GA? How about a wake up call for AOPA to start concentrating on the economy of flight, rather than gadget rich $500,000.00 speedsters. We all like to dream, but reality is what we need now. If I see another article on the Garmin G1000 or any other EFIS thing I’ll never own or use, I think I’m going to puke. Enough! Here’s an idea, how about an article on how to actually afford to continue to fly with $6.00 a gallon fuel? Things like, using max economy power settings, proper leaning, running over square, Mogas STC’s, airline flight profiling, flying weather patterns, flying light, and highlighting those aircraft that are fuel efficient.

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