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SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight

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Old July 11th 18, 08:48 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Posts: 3,929
Default SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight

SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight


David Szondy
19 hours ago

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to
RAF Fairford

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to
RAF Fairford(Credit: GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone
set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT,
the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted
Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training
Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Fairford
in Gloucestershire, England.

If successful, the flight will mark the first time a MALE RPA aircraft
has made a transatlantic flight. It will not only serve as a
technological demonstration of the latest iteration of the MQ-9 Reaper
drone, but will also be put on static display at the Royal
International Air Tattoo (RIAT) airshow running from July 13 to 15.
This is to help commemorate 100 years of the Royal Air Force, which
has placed an initial order of 16 MQ-9Bs for its PROTECTOR RG Mk1

Development of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian started in 2012. It can reach
altitudes of over 40,000 ft (12,200 m) and has a maximum air speed of
210 knots (242 mph, 389 km/h). SkyGuardian is a Type-Certifiable
Predator B modified to meet the stringent airworthiness requirements
to operate in non-military airspace, NATO airworthiness standards
(STANAG-4671), along with other military and civilian authorities,
including the British Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) and the

"This is a very exciting moment in GA-ASI's history," says Linden
Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. "To demonstrate the long endurance of unmanned
aircraft systems, we took on the challenge of flying a MALE RPA across
the Atlantic. This effort has taken a lot of coordination and we
appreciate the support of the CAA, RIAT organization and the RAF in
this endeavor."

The SkyGuardian is scheduled to touchdown tomorrow at RAF Fairford at
6:45 pm BST.

Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc


Magnax prepares to manufacture radically high-powered, compact axial
flux electric motor

Loz Blain
May 30th, 2018

The Magnax yokeless axial-flux electric motor offers incredible power
densities in what the manufacturer describes as a reliable,
manufacturable and low-maintenance package(Credit: Magnax)


After nearly a decade in development, Belgian startup Magnax claims it
has developed an ultra-high power, lightweight, compact axial flux
electric motor with performance figures that blow away everything in
the conventional radial flux world. Crucially, it says it's worked out
how to manufacture them too.

Electric aviation is one target market for the Magnax motor
Because of these motors' extreme light weight, high power and thin
profile, they're ideal for direct...
Magnax motors can be mated to a transmission if necessary
Lightweight and compact, the Magnax motor should be terrific in
electric motorcycles where weight is paramount
It might not have the romance of combustion engine tuning, but it
seems a bit of a battle is brewing to develop the kinds of
high-performance motors that will power the electric cars,
motorcycles, aircraft and industrial equipment of the future.

A week ago we wrote about Equipmake's spoke motor design
https://newatlas.com/equipmake-elect...terview/54694/ ,
which allows it to pump out some 9 kilowatts per kilogram with
exceptional cooling and continuous power production ability.

To put that kind of power production in perspective, the ludicrously
fast 193-horsepower BMW S1000RR superbike of 2011 a power-to-weight
beast that would slay just about anything in the automotive world
has a lightweight motor that makes a puny 2.4 kilowatts per kilogram.
So 9 kW/kg is no joke.

The Magnax axial flux motor is scalable through all kinds of sizes
Which makes this axial flux, direct drive motor from Belgian company
Magnax a real eyebrow-raiser. Magnax claims it makes a peak power no
less than 15 kW/kg, with the ability to produce sustained power at
around 7.5 kW/kg. To bring that back to the motorcycle example, if you
built a Magnax motor that weighed as much as the BMW superbike's
engine, you'd have yourself a 603-horse powertrain that could produce
bursts of up to 1206 horsepower for short periods before overheating
and needing to take it easy for a bit.

Obviously, that's a silly example, but these kinds of
ultra-lightweight motors could do significant work towards offsetting
the large weight figures of today's heavy lithium battery packs in
electric vehicles. And until automotive-grade battery density takes a
significant leap forward as it's been promising to for several years
now, weight will continue to be a serious issue for e-mobility.

Radial (left) vs axial flux designs
Benefits and drawbacks of Axial Flux Designs
While the vast majority of electric motors currently in circulation
are radial flux designs, Magnax claims the key to the high power
density it's achieving is the direct drive axial flux design used in
all its motors, which uses a stator disc sandwiched between two rotor
discs with small air gaps in between. Yokeless axial flux motors, the
company claims, have a number of advantages if implemented properly.
The flux path is shorter, and the magnets further away from the axis,
leading to greater efficiency and leverage around the central axis.

What's more, the axial flux design allows Magnax to waste very little
copper on overhanging loops on the windings. Magnax's motors have zero
overhang; 100 percent of the windings are active, where the company
claims radial flux motors can sometimes have up to 50 percent of their
copper inactive, adding extra resistance and causing heat build-up.
Magnax uses a rectangular-section copper wire in its windings to give
the highest possible density. And the motors are much thinner than
radial flux machines, meaning that you can stack them easily to work
in parallel.

Size advantage: on the left, a standard 300-kilowatt radial flux
direct drive generator. On the right,...
There are, of course, difficulties when it comes to building axial
flux motors otherwise everyone would be making them. Powerful
magnetic forces acting between the rotor and stator discs tend to make
it very difficult to keep the air gap between them uniform. If they
start to wobble or bend, the discs can start rubbing against one
another, leading to bearing damage at best, and rapid, spectacular
unscheduled disassembly at worst.

Magnax claims it addresses this in its yokeless axial flux design by
having two rotor discs that constantly put equal and opposing forces
onto the stator disc. The rotors are connected directly to one another
via a shaft ring, so the magnetic forces cancel each other out, and
the internal bearing doesn't have to deal with them.

Cooling is key with any high powered electric motor that's expected to
do consistent work, and axial flux designs tend to suffer in this
regard, since their stator windings are sandwiched between the rotor
discs, making it hard to get heat out. Magnax claims its motor designs
cool well, as the windings are in direct contact with the outer
aluminum casing, allowing decent heat transfer.

Lightweight and compact, the Magnax motor should be terrific in
electric motorcycles where weight is paramount
It seems to be working. Continuous power figures for the Magnax motor
come out at 50 percent of what it can make at its peak, which is
pretty decent but not in the realm of the best-cooled radial flux
motors. The Equipmake motor, for example, can continuously make nearly
70 percent of its peak power, suggesting superior cooling.

One further challenge comes with manufacturing, as the stator discs
can be particularly hard to get right, and even harder to build in an
automated high volume process. So when they do get built, they're
hand-made and highly expensive as a result. Magnax claims to have
cracked this problem too, with a number of "proprietary solutions"
that allow it to scale and build these things cost-effectively.

Because of these motors' extreme light weight, high power and thin
profile, they're ideal for direct...
The Magnax motor is highly scalable, ranging in size from 15
centimetres (~6 inches) right up to discs 5.4 metres (~13 feet) in
diameter and beyond. They can be slotted in next to one another to run
in parallel, and they can run either as direct drive or through a
gearbox if you're willing to accept the efficiency losses involved.

Magnax is pitching them at electric cars and motorcycles, aircraft
rotors, and as large-diameter, high torque, low RPM solutions for wind
power, hydroelectric and wave power generation.

Large diameter, high torque, low RPM versions can be manufactured up
to 5.4 meters in diameter...
At the end of the day, field testing in the automotive and industrial
worlds will be the proof of this pudding, but if this is truly a
high-power, long-life, well-cooled, high-efficiency, low-maintenance
axial flux motor, Magnax could be poised to make some serious waves.

The company has spent some nine years getting its tech together after
a proof of concept was originally built at the University of Ghent in
2009. Now, it claims to have working prototypes and a manufacturing
methodology sorted out. With a bit of luck, the rubber will hit the
road soon and we can see if this truly is the electric motor of the

Check out a couple of videos below:


Source: Magnax

An example of an electric car design using a Magnax motor through a
The Magnax axial flux motor is scalable through all kinds of sizes
Part of the lightweighting and power density advantage of axial flux
motors comes from the large...
Radial (left) vs axial flux designs

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