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Time for an update: New photos!

Time for an update:  New photos!

My 5 blog followers have pinged me for an update so here one is.


I have moved from this nice 3D CAD image to 3D reality photos:

2015-08-05 10.03.49

The engine mount and electric engine fit perfectly. CAD work is such a joy. I send motor dimensions and a sketch and a month later I have a perfect mount and cowl.

Now I am just completing the cowl installation. 2015-08-06 12.28.50

You can see how much tis new cowl improves the looks of the aircraft (IMHO).

I am also working out the quantity and location of the battery cells. I cannot put them all into the wing due to W&B issues so they may be split into 6 cells each wing and 20 cells on the engine mount. BRS engineers are currently designing the BRS installation so that will add some 20 lbs behind the luggage compartment. This will be a fun W&B exercise.

2015-08-03 16.13.01 2015-08-04 09.31.47

The G-Plane has 2 wing tanks. I am replacing those tanks with 2 sets of battery cells. Moving some of the weight from the fuselage to the wing improves the structural integrity.

Foam tubes sold for swimming pools just happen to be the same diameter of the battery cells which makes mock-ups easy.

Now for some fun stuff: This electric-powered aircraft has no electric system! Meaning there is no power to the panel. Nothing but the motor runs on 76 volts! That is fine with me. Keep it simple. You can see the ASI, Altimeter and ball. Plus the E-monitor. GPS has its own batter as does the ICOM transceiver which is wired into a stick PTT and has a headset adapter with Bluetooth music and ANR. I even have electric trim! Which runs off a 9 volt battery!

2015-08-05 09.58.57

The GPS is mounted with aircraft-specific suction cup to the panel. I also have a similar mount for a tablet. T-Mobile had a special on the Android LP G-Pad so I will probably replace the GPS with the G-Pad and a Garmin app which gives me a big moving map with terrain plus weather overlay. This results in a pretty complete and fancy panel that costs only around $500! Plus as it is a ‘non-electric’ aircraft I am except from the transponder requirement! How ironic.

The G-Plane panel will be similar but have electric-power for the engine EMS with useful information like fuel quantity and engine parameters. And I may end up with a small transponder like the Trig.

And some more nice details: This throttle might be a little over the top for this aircraft but it looks cool and works well. Note that the electric trim rocker switch is very conveniently located near the throttle and easily operated without looking with your thumb. The 9 volt batter fits just in front of the armrest and is out of the way yet easy to replace.

2015-08-05 09.59.35 2015-08-05 09.59.27

The flap actuator is also easy to reach just behind the main spar on the left.

So what is next? Getting the electric motor mapped on the dyno and flight tested is the priority! I hope that one or both of these actions will happen next week. Summer holidays and airshows have slowed this down some.

The Zigolo will be the first aircraft to fly with this new electric system. Once tested and proven then it will be quick to move the motor and battery system back to the E-Plane. I will make the first tests with just 21 cells which is plenty for the Zigolo but about 35% less than planned for the E-Plane. But still plenty for short test flights. If I can get >30 minutes of flight on 21 cells then I know I can reach the target of 1-hour flight with full capacity.

Next blog issue: Amphibious float update or Zigolo flies on new electric motor, whichever comes first.


Chip W. Erwin
South Lakeland Airport
Lakeland, FL

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