Featured on Tech Breakfast Podcast 277 | Paul Braren of TinkerTry.com talks EV planes and energy efficient housing | Aaron, Russ, Tyler, Paul

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 15 2022 (updated on Nov 18 2022) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Podcasts
  • Tesla
  • This podcast was recorded on Tuesday November 15 2022, using Telegram for Windows to join the TBP crew Show notes below.

    This is my 10th appearance on this fun and informative podcast!

    You can easily subscribe to Tech Breakfast here.

    You can play this fresh episode in the embedded player:


    making-dreams-take-flight
    • Making dreams take flight
      Nov 16 2022 by Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis at news.lafayette.edu

      At the 2022 Lafayette vs. Lehigh football game Nov. 19, the 158th meeting of college football’s most-played rivalry, Oktay will fly what is presumed to be the first electric plane flyover of a sporting event. The flight—as well as a weeklong series of student-run events leading up to it, dubbed “Lafayette Gets Electric”—he explains, would not have been possible had it not been for the support of Lafayette’s accessible and intricately interconnected network of alumni, faculty, staff, administration, and students.


    Table of Contents

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    Disclosure: I hold no stock and never held stock in any of the companies mentioned on the podcast or in this article.


    Show Notes

    In this podcast episode recording, we only briefly had time to cover the astounding technological marvel that is the Hotel Marcel in New Haven Connecticut. It's net zero, meaning all it generates as much power as it needs. In this article featuring a deep dive video walk-through that Matt and I quite enjoyed, you'll find all sorts of inspiration that might get you thinking about your home and the way you power your life. I know I did, and this project was part of the inspiration behind my home's greener retrofit. Check out all the details right here at TinkerTry!

    hotel-marcel-techology-tour

    We also did a deeper dive into the tech behind the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, which "current"ly (see what I did there?) has a cruise range of ~86 miles, at a cruising speed of 85 miles. This means it's appropriately marketed as a trainer. It's a wonderful way for aspiring pilots to learn many take-offs and landings per hour, at a fraction of the cost of a gas powered plane. So when Remy Oktay at Lafayette College set out to get the Hartford-Brainard Airport based Alpha Electro over to Easton Pennsylvania in advance of a planned football stadium fly-over this weekend, there were plenty of airports to hop between to make it quite possible. What wasn't possible or practical was reliable high speed charging at each of those airports. With the help from the Lafayette engineering department, a way to safely charge the plane with Pipistrel's mobile charging station was created, providing 28A (Amps) continuously during charge sessions, at 240V (Volts). But what was the power source?

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    Why, it's Patrick Wilcutt's Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat Electric Truck with the extended-range battery of course, a giant 135 kWh battery pack. It also has V2G (vehicle to grid) capabilities, which means the battery can be used to charge other things, in this case things like an electric plane with 21 kWh capacity. Is that V2P?

    Ford calls this electric "generator" capability Ford Intelligent Backup Power that can do up to 80A, but only with a proper and pricy home electrical upgrades with Sunrun installed Home Integration System. It was never intended for mobile use, but kudos to Lafayette College engineers for getting creative and finding a way to make it all work, including handling the conversions of connector types. My (currently limited) understanding is that the Pipistrel doesn't use the EV charging standards we have in the US, and instead comes with it's own external charging equipment that does AC to DC conversion, keeping the plane's weight down, for use is the US. So the Pipistrel charging unit that came with the plane is seen in the truck's back seat, as seen in Dave's video below, is providing the AC (Ford output) to DC conversion (Pipistrel input), along with some custom cabling using donated Meltric Switch-Rated plug & receptacle assembly, along with some custom charger firmware by Pipistrel to get the fastest charging speeds possible, while derating the charger slightly to keep things safe. I have much more detail for you below.

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    Ford F-150 Lightning battery and motors, from ford.com

    Ingenuity

    Jim-Farley-retweet

    The ingenuity of Remy's flight for publicity isn't about fame or fortune. It's about using the well-earned publicity to build awareness and inspiration for these two passions that Remy clearly cares deeply about:

    • Getting the word out that such electric planes exist, and they can fly cross-country, and can fly safely over a crowded football stadium rather quietly. Witnesses are likely to ever forget this way of seeing their first electric plan.
    • Getting the word out that while most other small planes still run on leaded gasoline, there's a new fuel called G100UL that is was recently approved as a safe fuel for all small planes that used to run on leaded fuel only. the best part s that no alteration to those aging engines is needed! That's one way to quickly clean up an existing industry's emissions from its most toxic element, during the long transition to electric and other more sustainable fuels in the coming decades.

    Remy is evangelizing the joys of electric flight, which hopefully garners the attention of small airports to get on board and stock such fuel, which will also help bring down the prices down.

    People like Remy give me great hope for the future, and I can't thank him enough for inspiring both me and everybody else who came to these re-"fuel"ings. Especially awesome was to see the positive effect this had on the children that were there.

    When I set out at 7am on a Sunday in the rain, I was expecting at best I'd get to peer through a chain link fence to catch a glimpse of the electric flight. Instead, I was treated to a far richer experience in every possible way.

    Sharing the joy of quiet, safe (instant torque), and ultra efficient flight certainly seems to be worthwhile endeavor to help bring attention to the new advancements in small aircraft technology sure seems like a great extracurricular activity for a college Junior to me!

    Please feel free to check out the photo gallery and tweets (one of which Ford CEO Jim Farley retweeted!), then drop a comment below, I'd love to hear what you think of all this.

    Note, I hope to find time to share some highlights from my 4K video footage on my TinkerTry YouTube Channel at youtube.com/TinkerTry and on the EV Club of Connecticut Channel at youtube.com/EVClubCT.

    Photos

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    Ford F-150 Lightning owner Patrick Wilcutts, and his son Colin.
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    Ford F-150 Lightning's charging status.
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    Pipistrel AC to DC charger status.
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    (
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    Dave Armando, helicopter pilot at left, and Matt Troy, videographer in that chase helicopter, at right.
    IMG_1642

    Video

    Published Nov 18 2022 - TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Remy uses Ford F-150 Lightning EV to recharge Pipistrel Alpha Electro fast, enabling cross-country!
    Published Nov 13 2022 - TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Pipistrel Alpha Electro taking off from Danbury Municipal Airport, with a chase helicopter!
    Published Nov 15 2022 - Out of Spec Reviews - F-150 Lightning Charging An Electric Plane On A Record Attempt Flight!
    Published on Nov 01 2022 - How Big Can You Make a Passive House?

    Video Transcript Highlights

    Here's a (YouTube auto-gen) transcript of Dave's segment about the custom Pipistrel AC to DC charger firmware:

    wow so this here and what's great so this um this charger I don't know if you've seen in Tesla's you can select
    10:54
    the amperage that you're charging at you can also go up by a single amp at a time you can do like 23 24 25. so we you
    11:00
    can't do this with uh do that with this charger you have 10 amps 16 amps normally 32 amps 50 amps and 70 amps
    11:06
    which meant that for this project we would eat we if we we tried it we set it to 32 and it popped the circuit breaker
    11:12
    on the truck because the truck can only Supply 30 amps so that meant that we were only going to be able to charge at 16. so I worked for the development
    11:19
    office at Lafayette College and the vice president of the company that manufactures these planes is a Lafayette Alum so I called them up and said hey we
    11:26
    need some custom firmware for the charger can your team build that for us wow two-day turnaround they got us this
    11:32
    new firmware and that's where we got 28 amp options so that's slightly derated
    11:38
    and that's just scratching the surface I mean there's so many Lafayette alumni that are engaged with this it I I've met
    11:43
    probably five or six times now with uh president heard of Lafayette College who's been incredibly supportive of this project


    Discussion

    You can reach out to me at:

    Co-hosts can be reached via Twitter at:


    Chat Transcript

    Notes from the Telegram chat during the podcast recording.

    Aaron Buley, [11/15/2022 2:41 PM]
    https://www.pipistrel-aircraft.com/

    Paul Braren, [11/15/2022 2:41 PM]
    for folks following along, see the tweets here
    https://tinkertry.com/tbp277#social

    Aaron Buley, [11/15/2022 2:48 PM]
    https://www.pipistrel-aircraft.com/products/light-sport-microlight/alpha-electro/#tab-id-2

    Aaron Buley, [11/15/2022 2:57 PM]
    https://twitter.com/paulbraren/status/1591842101142196225/photo/1

    Aaron Buley, [11/15/2022 3:06 PM]
    https://tinkertry.com/hotel-marcel-techology-tour

    Paul Braren, [11/15/2022 3:19 PM]
    thank you so much for the time and fun, that was a blast! One more tweet with some fun pics to share before returning to work (and updating that draft article to include the actual show title and thumbnails tnite):

    https://twitter.com/paulbraren/status/1591790531796996096?s=20&t=d-F21gXkRpTrF-qno6jJng

    Paul Braren, [11/15/2022 3:20 PM]
    https://twitter.com/paulbraren/status/1591790531796996096


    Nov 16 2022 Update

    I have now reviewed of Dave Conner's new video, adding it to the videos section above. It was taken before I arrived in Danbury, and it clarifies the role of the charging equipment carried in the truck, with 4 different Ford F-150 Lightnings providing charging enroute to PA this past Sunday, and presumably to help it get back to Hartford again later on.


    Nov 17 2022 Update

    The anti-flyer is what Remy has coined his planned, world's first electric plane flyover of a sporting event. He also mentioned this quote:
    "Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination."

    While editing my just-published new 4K video, I heard that Matt Troy is the videographer, Dave Armando is the helicopter pilot, so I added a photo caption above.

    People that I had the honor of meeting at these events, who also appear somewhere in my video include:

    • Remy Oktay, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro pilot for this mission, is also a Junior at Lafayette College majoring in Engineering and Environmental Studies.
    • Patrick Wilcutts of West Hartford CT is the owner of the Ford F-150 Lighting Lariat used for the first recharging stops in Connecticut
    • Colin Wilcutts is Patrick's son, and he already shared some of my video clips with his 5th grade classmates, which totally made my day.
    • Lindsey Rutka is the co-owner of the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, co-proprietor of Hartford Jet Center.
    • Phillip Smith is the co-owner of the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, co-proprietor of Hartford Jet Center.
    • Dave Armando is the Rotorway 162F helicopter builder and pilot.
    • Matt Troy is a professional videographer, who was in the chase helicopter. His footage will hopefully be on the jumbotron during the fly-over!
    • Dave Conner, YouTuber/EV enthusiast, from Out of Spec Dave, who asked all the right questions and made my better.
    • Seth Weintraub, Founder/Publisher/Editor at Electrek (925, LLC publications).
    • Jenny Davis, Assistant News Editor at The Lafayette.
    • John Bickel of Southbury CT, a Ford F-150 Lightning owner, sustainability-at-home enthusiast, and a friend and colleague of mine at Dell Technologies

    Nov 19 2022 Update

    They Won! New article from Lehigh Valley News added to "See also" section below.


    See also

    making-dreams-take-flight-cropped
    • Making dreams take flight
      Nov 16 2022 by Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis at news.lafayette.edu

      At the 2022 Lafayette vs. Lehigh football game Nov. 19, the 158th meeting of college football’s most-played rivalry, Oktay will fly what is presumed to be the first electric plane flyover of a sporting event. The flight—as well as a weeklong series of student-run events leading up to it, dubbed “Lafayette Gets Electric”—he explains, would not have been possible had it not been for the support of Lafayette’s accessible and intricately interconnected network of alumni, faculty, staff, administration, and students.

    remy-oktay-24-sets-world-record-flying-electric-airplane
    • Remy Oktay ‘24 sets world record flying electric airplane
      Nov 18 2022 by Jenny Davis at The Lafayette

      With the help of Lafayette students, electric vehicle enthusiasts, pilots and environmental advocates, Remy Oktay ’24 set a world record this past weekend by traveling interstate with an electric airplane that was powered only by electric vehicles.

      “If what you’re trying to do doesn’t break the laws of physics, the laws of this country or the laws of your moral compass, then you do whatever it takes,” Remy Oktay said.

    Student pilots battery-powered airplane over historic Lehigh-Lafayette football game**
    Nov 19 2022 by Tom Shortell at Lehigh Valley News

    Ultimately, the flight went well. Oktay looped over the stadium without any hiccups, while Smith, the co-owner, handled the landing due to the windy conditions.
    “Three hundred and fifty hours of work for a 20-minute flight!” Oktay said.

    A few hours later the day was complete: Lafayette defeated Lehigh 14-11


    See also at TinkerTry

    tbp250

    hotel-marcel-techology-tour

    tbp243

    tesla-tips-boston-snow-nyc-traffic

    hyundai-ioniq-5

    an-1836-brewery-gets-tesla-solar-roof

    tesla-v3-supercharging-and-waypoints-tips

    tbp229

    tbp226

    crossclimate2
    tbp208

    speedway

    ev-pickup-trucks-from-rivian-tesla-ford

    tech-breakfast-2021-01-15

    tech-breakfast-2020-10-12

    tech-breakfast-2020-05-04

    See also

    hotel-marcel-techology-tour
    Pipistrel-Alpha-ELECTRO-Information-Pack

    Social