Electric Flight Symposium at EAA is Great Success

Posted by: Kelley Welf

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Kelley Welf

Temperatures over 100 degrees did not dissuade the crowd which gathered in Innovations Hangar North for the two-day Electric Flight Symposium at AirVenture. The Lindbergh Foundation’s Aviation Green Alliance partnered with AeroInnovate to host the Symposium and the adjacent Innovation Hangar South which housed displays of the latest technological breakthroughs in aviation. EAA graciously provided the meeting facilities and logistics. For four hours each day, over 175 Symposium attendees listened to experts and innovators talk about the present and future of electric flight.

The first day was dedicated to Future Vision. The day began with a captivating presentation by John Petersen, professional futurist and Lindbergh Foundation board member. John helped the audience understand the exponential rate of change that technology is undergoing and gave us a glimpse of the future. During the first day we also heard from such notable speakers as Dr. Mark Maybury, Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force, who shared insights into the military’s research and development in electric flight, Bob Araujo, Manager of Sustainable Development at Sikorsky, Don Hillebrand, Director of the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne National Labs and Michael Dudley, Director of NASA Aeronautical Research Institute. We were also treated to the reflections and visions of Dr. Mort Grosser who was a member of the Gossamer Albatross team, and to the energy and enthusiasm of Chip Yates who, only a week before, had broken the world speed record for electric flight.

The theme of the second day was Breakthrough Technologies. We heard once again from Don Hillebrand about the current state of battery technology. We also heard from Mark Moore, Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center and developer of the Puffin. In the Q&A following Dr. Hillebrand and Mr. Moore’s presentations, the audience was treated to a lively point / counter-point debate. The second session of the day was an Ignite Presentation made up of electric aircraft entrepreneurs. During this time, the innovators gave quick presentations, accompanied by video and slides, of what their companies are developing. Igniters included Flight of the Century, e-volo, Sonex, Embry Riddle’s EcoEagle project, and Synergy.

During and after both sessions, participants had the unique opportunity to talk with these wonderful speakers. Despite the heat, speakers and attendees alike lingered long after the sessions had ended to continue their conversations. EADA (the Electric Aircraft Development Alliance, another Lindbergh Foundation program) met as part of the Symposium, and set its workplan deliverables for the rest of the year. AGA is very pleased with the success of this Symposium and is looking forward to a repeat of the event next year.

See the Presentation Materials Below

Beyond Aviation Ignite

Chip Yates Ignite

Chip Yates Presentation

Don Hillebrand Batteries

Don Hillebrand Future of Electric

Dr. Mark Maybury

e-volo Ignite

Lindbergh Foundation

Mark Moore