If Tesla Made An Airplane

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by topgun260, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. topgun260

    topgun260 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It wouldn't be a Cirrus.

    Maybe something like this?
    upload_2020-2-21_10-18-1.jpeg

    And you could drive to the airport in this.
    [​IMG]

    This article says that he wants to build vertical take off electric powered supersonic jets!
     
  2. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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  3. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    If Tesla tried to make a plane, Musk would end up in jail. Going your own way doesn't work well with the FAA.
     
  4. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Sadly this is exactly what aviation needs just as it was what the automotive world needed.
     
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  5. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Industry projection is to sell 2 BILLION more combustion engines between now and 2045.. and the combustion engine of today is loads better than what it was in the 1960s.. however the FAA has effectively relegated us to using 1940s POS junk from Lyco and Conti. It's absolutely shameful. We do need an industry disruptor. Cirrus sorta of did that, the crazy Raptor dude in Australia tried

    Also.. electric is NOT the way to go
     
  6. jallen0

    jallen0 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Elon makes rockets, not airplanes :p
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The one thing that guy left out is the fact that there are those who like the lure of sound and complexity of ICE. You’ll always have sports car fanatics that like engines and enjoy opening the hood to show off the goods. Always gonna have the muscle car fans and the guys who enjoy tinkering with engines.
     
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  8. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route

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    If I had a hangar, I wouldn't kick an Alpha Electro out of it.
     
  9. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    ^to that point, there was a Vince Vaughn movie that had him working at a startup that made electric cars, but would give off muscle car sounds. Not a great movie, and not a great idea, but that was the premise of the movie.. to your point that people like that throaty sound
     
  10. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Electric aircraft have a role, and with light GA being more and more trainer oriented (as opposed to families flying long trips) I can see the electric trainer fleet growing. These planes could also be fun, the bay tour here in SD would be a great mission for the Alpha Electro.. but it also highlights the stark performance difference. The Alpha Electro will make 1 hr (with reserves) at 85 knots.. an 85 mile range is pretty poor, especially when you compare it to the rotax powered version which will do around 105 knots and close to 400 miles. Perhaps if general aviation trends towards training and hobbyist/site seeing we'll see electric grow
     
  11. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    If Tesla made aircraft, it would have a business model similar to Icon aircraft.
     
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  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    If Tesla made an aircraft, it would be primarily owned by employees of Elon's companies, since they pay half price to pump up the sales figures.

    Oh, and they'd have no place to fly to since there is no charging infrastructure. Which is why nobody is a" Tesla Only" owner.
     
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  13. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    If Tesla made airplanes it would make a Cirrus look cheap by comparison. We’re about 50 years from making that comparison, though.
     
  14. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Cleared for Takeoff

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    While it's easy, and fashionable to blame the FAA, the reality is aviation is a very small market, and manufacturers aren't going to make the commitment ($$$) into a market that will only generate a small return.
     
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  15. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Right, and the tiny volume is the sad aspect of it. If Ford only sold 300 cars a year we'd have a much different auto market. But on the flip side, it's not new tech, and it would be nice to get *some* kind of trickle of improvements

    At least we have the EA world ushering in a cheaper world of avionics, etc

    The DA62 is a good example of what we could get with a modern designed powerplant.. the plane will haul 7 people at 175 knots on 14 gallons an hour (combined), that's something even the proud my-Mooney-is-so-efficient people can't compete with (granted, it's also thanks to a very efficient wing and airframe, but those FADEC diesels seem to do their job quite well)

    It's worthy of lament. The other thread mentioned it was common to replace big bore Conti cylinders every 700-800 hrs.. can you imagine if you car needed major engine work every 2-5 years?
     
  16. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Yeah, but 750 hours at 160mph is about 120,000 miles. Not great but not devastating.
     
  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    That's one way to look at it, but that 9 liter engine is hardly putting out the kind of power it theoretically could. A car asked to go 120,000 miles at 160 mph would likely be flogging its little 2.8 liter 200 horse for all it's got, and chances are something else would break before the engine itself had major issues

    cars <> planes.. but it's sad to see the dichotomy in tech advancements between the two over the last 100 years. One is still basically the same, the other is entirely different
     
  18. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    :rolleyes:
    giphy.gif
     
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  19. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Yeah. Could you imagine an electric P-51? Or an electric Stearman? P-47? Nope.
     
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  20. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I'd suspect that a car engine run at 100% power for five minutes, at 90% for fifteen more, then at 75% for four hours probably wouldn't last as quite long as it does in the car. One of the challenges in converting auto engines for homebuilts is getting adequate cooling. There's a lot of waste heat because a lot of heat is being produced. I had a valve burn in the Subaru conversion when I leaned it for a max-performance takeoff, something that wouldn't happen in a Lycoming with its thick, sodium-filled valve stem and head.
     
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  21. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I know 5 Tesla families and we're all "Tesla only" owners.

    Ok, true I have an F350 as well but that only ever pulls an RV which is permanently attached to it. It's not a car-substitude in any way. And if a Cybertruck can pull it the F350 would go bye-bye the same day.
     
  22. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Lol
     
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  23. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    yes, I wasn't going to bite, but the building I live in only has one car per tenant and there are several Tesla's down there.. it's a new building and there are plugs to charge

    that's forgetting the fact that an aircraft engine really isn't being utilized to its full potential for a given RPM or displacement.. a properly tuned 9 liter 6 cylinder engine, say for example a Continental or Lycoming, could easily put out over a thousand horsepower at a high RPM. just look at any car on the market, you're getting 300 horsepower out of 3L or less.. When we are asking a big bore Continental to run at 65 to 75% power for hours on and give us a paltry 250 horsepower at that setting that is similar (by per cylinder / liter) to what my Toyota sees on the highway at around 30% power to maintain a 72 mph cruise

    Edited to add: no it is not as simple as bolting car engines into airplanes, they use cases are entirely different, but we could certainly have something a little more advanced than effectively the same product we had in 1940
     
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  24. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    ^put another way, detune your car engine to only produce 50 horsepower and then you could also run that all out for hundreds or thousands of hours
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'd have to mount big speakers for engine sounds like they do on electric RCs.
     
  26. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Interestingly, the OM640 diesel engine in the 2nd generation Mercedes-Benz A-class made 140hp. Adapted to the Austro AE300 in the Diamond DA40NG and DA42 it produces 168hp.
     
  27. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If Tesla tried to make a plane, Mr Musk would get stoned, claim his plane could fly through underwater caves to rescue people, accuse the person who actually organised the rescue of being a pedophile, get stoned again (during an on-camera interview this time), miss his production targets, then have his plane explode in the run-up area, all while telling us how much smarter he is than everyone else.
     
  28. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    It would be the only 4 seat plane over 12,500 probably lol
     
  29. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    And the base model, single engine with no autopilot would cost $10,000,000 and have a range of 3200 feet.
     
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  30. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Nope, not at the low-RPM and high-torque numbers the aircraft engine uses. The bottom end wouldn't take it. Aircraft crankshafts are realtively stout and have wide journals to spread the load. My old Gipsy 7 in my Auster had four-bolt rods in it. Really wide.

    Engineers design machinery using PV formulae. Pressure-Velocity numbers. The lower the bearing surface velocity and the higher the pressure on it, the more that bearing is loaded and so must be designed to spread that load and keep oil between the surfaces. Cars with redlines at 5000 or 6000 RPM don't need heavy bottom ends. Even derating it to 50% at propeller speeds (direct drive) could kill it. Older car engines that had lower redlines fare better, like the VW , which I think redlined at 4000 or so and typically runs direct-drive in homebuilts at around 3500.
     
  31. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    The long term solution for aircraft is a renewable diesel/jet fuel, made from algae/plants. I've been running my truck, a diesel Chevy Colorado, on 98% renewable diesel (Propel Diesel HPR) for over a year and over 20,000 miles with zero issues. This specific fuel is not the solution, as it is not practical to make it in the required volumes, but it certainly demonstrates the technology is largely ready. From the info I've gathered, the manufacturer gets a $1/gallon tax credit, but otherwise, the price at the pump is the same as regular diesel in the area. A kick-start is needed to push widespread production of renewable diesel/jet fuels as fossil fuel replacement.

    Note this is not "biodiesel", it is instead refined in a very similar manner to regular diesel and meets the ASTM standard for regular diesel.
     
  32. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    Aircraft engines are designed the way they are because of the required RPM range, simplicity of cooling and reliability. Could they be made to handle more power? Absolutely! But now you’re turning it into something that is less reliable and probably running at RPMs that are not suitable for propeller efficiency. Automobile engines converted for aircraft usually have a lot of compromises (weight, reduction gearing, reliability etc.) It’s only after a lot of testing and headaches that one discovers why the flat, air-cooled four or six-cylinder engine platform has endured so long. The question should be not why hasn't the engine changed much over the last 80 years but why has it been around so long? Simple, compact and reliable are the key requirements for an aircraft engine and what’s available now will probably be still around for the next 30 years.
     
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  33. neon

    neon Filing Flight Plan

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    Tesla is a scam.
     
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  34. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Lol. Welcome to the forum, and I don't think that word means what you think it means. Tesla produces products that people paid for. I think that, by definition, eliminates them from being labeled "a scam". If you want to call them a poor long-term investment, I have no problem with that since there is plenty of support to back that up.
     
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  35. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The best scams are very complicated and can sometimes be hard to tell from poorly run businesses.
     
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