Monday, 21st March 2016
More tests at Finmere, this time to show taxi & manoeuvre. Is Glowfly the only glider that can do 3-point turns?
Tuesday, 23rd February 2016
Small jets have been used before but poor static thrust means take-off runs are long and fuel consumption high.
In gliders, engine and propeller systems that erect create so much drag that should the engine fail to start flight safety rapidly deteriorates, especially when low. Electrically driven nose mounted folding propellers have recently appeared but - to self-launch - the battery systems these needs are heavy, costly and weigh the same whether full or empty, and have limited capacity and life before total replacement is required. Affordable light-weight long-lasting battery technologies appear some way off yet.
Small jets are simpler, commonplace and more reliable, but relatively thirsty. Suitable fuels are, however, very cheap and you carry only as much fuel as you need. A fully contained non-erecting jet engine is light weight and non-complex and has minimal drag penalty. Auto-start to full thrust in under 30 seconds, for little height loss.
So far so good, but hey... small jet turbines can't accelerate quickly enough to provide a reasonably short take-off. To provide the initial sprint needed to quickly reach take-off speed Glowfly has electrically driven main wheels. Once at flying speed the turbine can efficiently power the climb away. Electrically driven wheels also provide for taxi capability before take-off and after landing - without running the turbine - don't waste fuel!
Glowfly is about simplicity, operational convenience, self-sufficiency and lower cost.
Just Fly More, Fly for Less.
Tuesday, 23rd February 2016
Here are some stills from the most recent test runs at our nearby airstrip. It's the first time that we have run with Glowfly fully rigged so we have flying controls operational. More test and more videos coming soon...
Tuesday, 19th January 2016
We seized a weather slot this week to run some acceleration testing with the e-drive.
These test show that with the electric drive alone we can get the acceleration we expected and reach the top speed we need for Glowfly. Add the jet thrust and take-offs will be usefully short! Testing the jet's contribution - that's next.
We also tested the nosewheel steering. This works well and provides the taxi manoeuvrability which is one of our key USPs - video footage coming soon...
Click here to view Glowfly acceleration testing
Tuesday, 12th January 2016
In December, after the FLYER-Live show, we re-focused ourselves on transforming the show prototype into the test prototype. We intended that our next show would be the SSA Convention in February but complications with US Customs and shipping schedules have unfortunately ruled that out and we have turned our attention to Oshkosh in July – a much bigger and more useful show for a US product launch it must be said. We are working on it, and have a little breathing space to develop our US Agents network – now that we are receiving more approaches from potential Agents around North America.
First tests presented us with some unexpected e-drive 'technical difficulties' to solve and immediately led to us re-specifying the motor attachments to deal with the impressive torque. More standing start tests followed in our 40 metre long yard and we now know the acceleration we anticipated is available. Testing of the installed turbine has begun and as this is a well-developed mature system, including all ancillaries, we don't expect technical problems with the mechanics of it, but want to prove the fuel delivery system. So, next we progress to runway acceleration testing with each of the propulsion systems separately and then together to build the take-off run profile data. We will build up to “almost flying” carefully collecting and recording data. In between runway test days we'll continue with “all the little jobs”. Test pilot Dave has the bones of a flight-test program drafted and all the disparate documents for the aircraft manuals are being brought together now.
We have major parts for the first production aircraft in-stock now and we are preparing the workshop for series production. You can see on our News pages that there has been more positive Press both print and web, and there is yet more in the pipeline.
Click here to see the Glowfly standing start test clips
Tuesday, 1st December 2015
This weekend at the FLYER Live show we were overwhelmed by the number of visitors to the ProAirsport stand. It was truly fantastic to meet and talk to all these extremely interested people who had made a bee line for us after hearing and reading all about Project Glow. Many specifically came to see us and were keen to see Glowfly in the flesh.
We were very proud to have Glowfly on display and showcase our unique hybrid product in all its glory. The high interest certainly made it all worth it. The "duty crew" were kept busy fielding queries and answering questions all day - the cool beers at the end of the day were very welcomed!
We've received continuously high quality press coverage over the past year with many positive articles having been published in key trade titles, but there were still some surprised faces on learning of our hybrid propulsion - which combines a compact turbine and useful e-drive. We certainly raised eyebrows - in a positive way we have to add!
Everybody wanted to know when Glowfly will fly and of course that's what we are focussed on right now, finishing the flight control installations, refining the ergonomics of the dual motor control systems and "all the little jobs" to finish off.
Glowfly 001 now has flight insurance and a UK civil registration G-CIUR which we will apply to the fuselage and wing shortly. Glowfly is official!
For the FLYER Live show we added some colour flashes and the sharp eyed amongst you will notice we removed the landing gear doors so visitors could get a better look at our e-drive. We also showcased a trial version of what will become our "glass" panel - see the image gallery to the left of our blog.
So in essence, an extremely positive time for ProAirsport and the launch phase of Glowfly. Watch this space for our next progress reports.
Tuesday, 24th November 2015
Busy busy busy - so here's a quick update on progress of Glowfly as we run towards the FLYER live show this weekend in Telford.
We are painting, with small parts coming out of and the fuselage going into the spray booth, as you can see in the pictures.
The canopy bubble is being trimmed for fitting and the undercarriage parts have been painted. Bearings inserted and components re-assembled ready for attaching. The turbine ducts and tailpipe fitting is next, once the fuselage is out of painting.
We have to make some transport fittings for our temporary trailer to make the trip up the motorway to FLYER Live show safe this Friday. In the meantime, work continues on the cockpit control systems and the controls for the turbine and e-drive systems so that testing can get underway after the show.Visit ProAirsport at the FLYER Live show 28-29 November to see Glowfly!
Wednesday, 11th November 2015
It's been an exciting time for the ProAirsport team over the last three weeks with parts and components arriving and being fitted. We experienced some supply chain glitches but have worked around, made some design and specification changes and we're on the finishing straight.
The turbine housing is in place and, after some necessary mods, within days we will have the remainder of the attachment components so we can assemble the e-drive train and undercarriage. The reinforced primary e-drive battery housing is in position, as is the controller compartment.
Since last time, the team have been working on the horizontal stabliser, canopy frame and fitting, nose hook (001 has a hook so we can aerotow it), nosewheel assembly, seat belts, cockpit controls, electrical installations, etc etc - because its all happening in a compact fuselage we can get in each others way at times!
We commited to our first public show some time ago - FLYER Live, an indoor static show here in the UK taking place during the weekend of 28-29 November. Our original plan was to fly the aircraft before then, raw and unpainted to allow for any mods or revisions or dings, then paint for the show. As October progressed we realised it was all getting too tight and we didn't want to risk anything that could cause us to miss the show. We decided therefore to focus on getting 001 show ready and fly as soon afterwards as practicle. Testing is now scheduled to start 11th December. And that's what we've all been aiming for.
We've had more press coverage as you can read, interest remains high and the inquiries continue to flow in. The next show we are focused on is the Soaring Society of America Convention February 2016. We are also now liaising with potential ProAirsport agents in various territories.
Wednesday, 14th October 2015
In this first part of October trimming and fitting of the parts for 001 has continued apace - it's looking like a real aeroplane. The rear fuselage/vertical stabiliser is ready for internal components and we are at a milestone point with mating the wings to the forward fuselage, glueing everything together now.
Our website will see some changes soon and unique visitors to it have now passed the 21,000 mark.
Wednesday, 30th September 2015
This month we got started making the first 'real' composite parts and components and, for serial no. 001, have all of the main fuselage shells laid up in the molds now. At the same time real lay-ups of bulkheads, stiffeners, and smaller parts, brackets and so on have also been carried out. We are about to trim everything for fitting.
In the pictures you can see the team at work on the main forward fuselage section and the molds for the aft fuselage and vertical stabiliser primed ready for the glass lay-up.
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
During August we've been focusing on how everything goes together on the mock fuselage and empennage, translating cockpit and control ergonomics into real parts and assembling the mock fuselage. The cockpit interior shells, ducts and covers are all proofed for fit and we're making patterns, molds and test pieces for all the little brackets and stiffeners you don't see, and for the steerable nosewheel drum you can see. The mock fuselage stands apart now and the main molds became free for first prototype shells to be laid. The E-drive battery packs also just arrived.
Wednesday, 2nd September 2015
In August stat logs show we've had more than 18,000 unique visitors to our website since going live in mid-January and page hits roared past the million mark early in the month!
Wednesday, 26th August 2015
Test Pilot Dave Unwin gets to grips with the 'simulator' at Stoke Bruene, as we fine tune cockpit and control system ergonomics.
Wednesday, 26th August 2015
We are pleased to announce completion of a successful Round 2 of equity funding and by mid-August our investors had subscribed the targeted £50k of additional capital sought taking total equity to all but £160k. We thank them for their continued commitment.
Wednesday, 19th August 2015
A little colour perhaps? - Yes we can!
Meet the ProAirsport team:
Top left photo: Manny Sehmi, Daniel Smallman, Haydn Lewis, Managing Director: Roger Hurley, Financial Director: Stephen Lynn, Tracy Martin
Bottom right photo: Luke Miller (who was on holiday when we took the team photo)
Friday, 31st July 2015
Ongoing integration of wings to fuselage. Placement of mock bulkheads for spacial and dimensional verification. Cockpit floor pattern is being prepared ready for making the primary interior shell and side ducts. Roger returns from AMT Holland with our first two tested turbines.
Tuesday, 30th June 2015
Molds for the fuselage parts have been made and test shells are being laid up. Here the first wing to fuselage associations are established to facilitate integrations. Canopy moldings for the first two aircraft have arrived.
Friday, 29th May 2015
Early mock-ups of the main undercarriage assembly for spacial integration and installation structure resolution, down-lock development and to establish retraction mechanism and linkages. Further iterations followed.
Tuesday, 31st March 2015
Patterns and plugs for the fuselage sections, parts advancing and the workshop is gradually setting-up and becoming equipped. In the last picture the wings for the first two aircraft have arrived.
Friday, 30th January 2015
We moved into our start-up factory at Stoke Bruerne.