AllWays Racing – USA
Team “AllWays Air Racing” from California, USA, will be represented by team captain and pilot Casey Erickson, an experienced Reno Air Race pilot in the bi-plane class and past president of International Aerobatic Club Chapters 36 & 131. Casey said, “It is thrilling to be on the cutting edge of technology, and all that it entails, while doing our part to create a more environmentally friendly eco-system to assist in leaving a cleaner planet for the future.”
What environmental considerations will you be making in the building of your plane?
Building an airplane is a conglomeration of a lot of aircraft grade mechanical parts from different manufacturers (Starters, Batteries, Engine monitors, radios, etc) these parts aside, the processes of building an aircraft are governed by FAA build guidelines, and often specific approved processes (which include specified materials). With that said, the building process that we go through to build an airplane is not environmentally unfriendly per se, as long as hazardous material are disposed of properly (Epoxy resins, carbon fiber clothes and solvents, etc). For us, the biggest environmental concern is the actual operation of the aircraft, ie a piston aircraft is burning fossil fuel, while an electric aircraft allows us to run a little more clean, and not be placing carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere. On a personal side, I am always searching for ways to run a little cleaner, and am open to any knew process or procedures, to do my part in mitigating environmental factors.
Are there any materials you are using that are environmentally friendly/recycled? Would you consider this?
Like I mentioned already, the approved materials limit a lot of what we can do, but we do have some choices. In my plane I have a wood wing structure as opposed to say carbon fiber, which is slightly lighter. Wood is slightly more environmentally clean as their are a little less epoxy and solvents used in the construction. Never the less, I am absolutely open to considering environmentally friendly or recycled parts. In fact a lot of the parts in our aircraft are re-manufactured, as they are often cheaper to rebuild and overhaul than to throw the part out and go buy a new one. I welcome any and all innovations that would allow us to be more environmentally conscious, and good stewards of planet Earth.
How does the battery system work and how does it enable an equal level of competition in the races?
Good question, and one I don’t have solid answers for at this time as the specifications are still being worked out. Generally speaking though batteries move ions, bigger batteries move a lot more ions and the electric motors and batteries are heat machines. We will all have similar battery packs and so how we install the batteries and more specifically how we cool the batteries and motor is going to be critically important. I am anticipating cooling drag will play a big part, and we are already considering some more exotic means of cooling, which means more weight, and weight means going slower…..but if we can run harder without overheating, maybe we gains some speed. This is cutting edge stuff, and part of why a big manufacturer like Airbus is involved, they want to see how we figure out how to handle this heat. I would be lying if I said we had it all figured out, as we don’t. This is part of we we wanted to be involved with Air Race E, as we are breaking some new ground. The sport in general has some sharp engineers who will come up with innovative solutions without a doubt, and Airbus will be anxious to see what we came up with.
Can you tell us one thing about your plane build that would surprise people?
We are building a Snoshoo SR1.1, of which their is currently only one other flying. Most of these airplanes are designed around older air frames that fit into existing formula 1 aircraft and a specific motor, and few have had much Computational analysis done on them. We are different as from day one we were planning on putting an electric motor in this aircraft and have a cowl designed specifically to meet this criteria. Additionally we a done more computational analysis than probably anyone else has to ensure good air flow and minimal drag for our entire aircraft.
What is the name of your plane going to be and can you share with us any early design ideas?
In the vein of the 1940’s era air racing in the United States, many of the pilots named their aircraft after themselves and added the word special after it (Atwood Special, Cassutt Special, Marcoux-Bromberg Special, etc) so we have decided to call ours the Erickson Special as a throwback to the heyday of racing. the biggest innovation we have come up with is a brand new wing design that is specifically designed for the race course we will be running. Like most anything, wing design is a trade-off, and most every wing is designed to go the fastest it can in a straight line, ie, laminar airflow is most efficient in straight and level flight. But race courses have corners in them and wings slow down dramatically in turns as best airflow can not be attained, so the wing never goes anywhere as fast as it can, even in the straight of ways which are not long enough to accelerate to max speed. The wing we are running will be much faster in turns, which means we will be losing less speed in the corners and hitting max speeds on straight-a-ways. We think this will give us an overall advantage.