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OpenPPG Project (Electric Paramotor)


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So as many of my closer friends will know, I am super keen to own an electric Paramotor and waiting like many others for a good solution to surface. 

I am getting closer to thinking that this idea may be the way which will become workable!?? 

I have no idea of the cost but it will become available at the end of March... :-):-) 

Your thoughts?? 

SW :D

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I think I have a lot more to say about an open hardware project like this than I have about electric paramotors.
But since my view is more negative than positive about the potential outcome of projects like this, I guess I should keep my mouth shut and just watch from afar.

Sorry...

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28 minutes ago, Casper said:

I think I have a lot more to say about an open hardware project like this than I have about electric paramotors.
But since my view is more negative than positive about the potential outcome of projects like this, I guess I should keep my mouth shut and just watch from afar.

Sorry...

yes, as my mother used to say......

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I have over 100 RC elec planes in my garage. There are 20 of these with motors of 7 kw or more. From experience and maths, I can tell you within seconds how long any battery will last. 

My paramotor is 26 hp or 19.5 kw. Level flight is at more than half power, but I am big, so let's call it 10 kw.

The best LiPo batteries can store 260 watt hours per kg ie. they will run at 260 watts for 1 hour and weigh 1 kg.

So 1 kw for an hour would need 4 kg of batteries. And my 10 kw motor would need a 40 kg battery.

This is why you find elec flight times of half an hour, because they limit them to 20 kg of battery!!!!!

So until battery technology makes another leap, elec paramotors will be heavy and of limited flight time.

 

 

 

 

 

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It's correct, that flight times won't be long - that's the downside of it!

Don't compare Apples and Oranges

But Paul (the creator of this project) is not claiming to build an electrical paramotor that is supposed to compete with a 2-stroke paramotor.

He is saying himself that it is supposed to be an affordable, lightweight and small (foldable) solution for pilots who aim to be able to get in the air for 20 minutes or so, after work.

I personally own and fly a gas powered paramotor. If the tank is full, I can fly for 3 hours or even a little longer. However it's loud, lots of vibration during flight, easy engine out when it runs idle for some time in the air (while thermalling for example), it's large and big to transport (unless I want to disassemble it every time, which I don't want to) and it appears that I will need to make sure to keep it well maintained (I have only flown 15 hours or so with it, since I own it)

Advantages of Paul's project

Paul's project however has tons of advantages, if you accept that it will only run for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how many batteries you want to carry:

  •  no vibration
  •  maintenance free
  • less noise during operation
  • unlikely to fail (engine out)
  • easy to start at the push of a button (I agree, this is also true for electrical start gas motors)
  • folds up in seconds
  • lightweight (unless you want to carry lots of batteries for longer flights)

Plus: there are major companies and laboratories working on improving battery technology (think of Tesla alone) which will definitely result in battery technology to become much better (higher energy density) in the near future.

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I agree with some of your points, but not these:

- Prop noise is substantial at cruise to climb rpm. Elec RC planes are VERY noisy.

- VERY likely to fail suddenly and with no warning. Also, most likely to fail during climb out at full power.....exactly when it will be most dangerous. My experience of RC planes is that they fail without warning, usually at full power. And they will fail. And you have no way of checking anything to know when! I have a 1/3 scale plane in about 100 pieces after an esc failure!

- A petrol paramotor could also be designed to fold up in seconds. This is not unique to elec.

- Lightweight? I estimate 16 kg of battery for 20 mins? That weighs more than my petrol machine with just 2 litres in it.

I think elec is really great and it is why I switched from petrol to all elec RC planes in 2000. I find two big advantages of it - it is clean and it always starts first time. The two big issues are battery weight (ie heavier than the petrol equivalent for a 20 min flight) and the failure mode being sudden and at full power. 

 

 

 

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Battery will not improve much the next 5 years, maybe 10 years if we are lucky, and even a 100% improvement is a long way from fossil fuel for PPG. There are some lab tests on batteries like Li-air that would solve the problem once and for all if they managed to get where the theoretical limit is, but now we might talk about decades before we get close, and even than it may never be safe enough for commercial use. Sure there are other types of batteries in development, but to be realistic, no battery on the market as for today.

Less noise with four propellers? Maybe, if your fine with sounding like a quadrocopter :) I would rather have the sound of a bigger engine than a small engine

Lightweight? Nope, heavy will need a trike to be usable for more than 20 min.

Safer, nope, spontaneous battery combustion is a real problem, broken circuit boards and engine failures will still happen. 

And very expensive as for now.

The future for PPG is more likely modern 2 stroke with fuel injection. It's the latest tech in motorcross for this year, already out on the market, now we just have to wait and see. It could solve lots of problem with engine tuning, power and energy efficency.

That is my critique on electric ppg, but the other topic would be what will happen if we have a low cost Open Hardware project, will it benefit the market with the cleaver design improvements that it could offer? or will we see cheap low quality copies that ultimately fail and hurt/kill pilots and bystanders? With every open hardware project out there, there is lots of cheap copies as well as improved versions.
Lots of pilots on unregulated markets could witness today that there are manufacturers with questionably design and quality issues today. I can only see a future for a Open Hardware project if there is strict regulations on testing like for experimental airplanes. And in the end that would not benefit us economically. 
Today it works well since home builders are required to have lots of knowledge, and in some countries they also need to have them inspected. With Open Hardware it might not take long before you find your kit cheap at Aliexpress, with no quality control at all.
That's my biggest fear.

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Cost is competitive, aiming to be way cheaper than current electric offerings which are expensive due to specialist parts used, using off the shelf parts brings the cost more inline with a basic 2 stroke paramotor.

Energy density and storage. 8x 10k lipo batteries = 9.5kg and expected 20minute conservative flight time at about £600

Its light weight so there is room to add batteries and keep it acceptable.

Andy mentioned sudden power failure. That is being looked at, 4 motors gives us options of redundancy and get you home on 3 and even on 2.

Noise, yes its not going to be silent electric, smooth yes, think large quad copter.

 

I like the idea of solar roof panels on a motorhome and a paramotor charged and ready to go in the locker.

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