Wednesday, April 29, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 4

Even though the spammers are annoying me by spamming the mailing list it doesn't stop me from posting yet another Race of the 2009 RC Airship Regatta.
Presenting by far the largest airship in this years Regatta the Red Count (Roter Graf) with almost 4 meter length flown by Frederik Gester.

Roter Graf - Race 4 - Regatta March 2009

The time of the Red Count was not the quickest with 344,83 s this was mainly due to the fact of engine and control problems that were not fixable before the race. Because of that this airship places last in the current ranking.
  1. Adele - 73,32 s
  2. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  3. Makrobe - 152,00 s
  4. Roter Graf - 344,83 s
There are three more races left and I promise they will shake up the ranking a bit so stay tuned and check back tomorrow.

Tightening the mailing-list rules against spammers

As you know we are running a small Forum & Mailinglist. It's a standard mailman list and I have always tried to keep the barrier of entry as low as possible to allow everyone who wants to participate in. That's why we have the Nabble web integration on our Website. Unfortunately some smart spammers thought they can send some very informative emails about growing certain body parts to the list. Since I have to moderate any non-subscriber when they post to the list I have a little amount of work allowing people in. Now with more than 20 spam emails arriving at the list per day I am not able to check all of the spam messages and filter out the one or maybe two messages that are not spam. Because of this I am introducing a new policy for the mailing-list effective right away. All non-subscriber emails are automatically discarded there is no message sent in reply to the sender nor does anything arrive at the list. From now on you HAVE TO SUBSCRIBE IN ORDER TO POST to the mailing list. I am sorry that I have to do this but until we haven't won the fight against spammers these problems will persist.
You can subscribe to the mailing list either through Nabble, you need a Nabble account for this. Or through the normal list admin interface that is available here:
I am sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 3

Continuing the RC Airship Regatta coverage we bring you the third race today. The airship is called Adele flown by Tim Schaller. Make sure to have sound on because this airship has a very distinctive sound.

Adele - Race 3 - Regatta March 2009

Adeles time was a speedy 73,32 s moving to the top position after the race.

Ranking after Race 3
  1. Adele - 73,32 s
  2. Flugwerft Flitzer - 103,43 s
  3. Makrobe - 152,00 s
Check back tomorrow to see if the next contestant can beat Adeles time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Race Number 2

Today we bring you race two of the 2009 RC Airship Regatta it is Makrobe flown by Dominik Baumüller. If you remember the 2008 RC Airship Regatta in Munich there was a similar ship called Mikrobe also built and flown by Dominik Baumüller, the 2009 ship is called Makrobe because it is bigger than last years Mikrobe. Enjoy the race!

Makrobe - Race 2 - Regatta March 2009

Makrobe came in with a calculated time of 152,00 s compared to the Race 1 of Flugwerft Flitzer which came in at 103,43 s the ranking is now as follows
  1. Flugwerft Flitzer
  2. Makrobe
So stay tuned for the next race tomorrow.

Have a look at the RC Airship Regatta Yahoo Group, if you want to learn more about the airships and how you can build your own airship, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

RC Airship Regatta 2009 - Videos and Results

A few weeks ago during the DGLR Workshop XI in Friedrichshafen was another RC Airship Regatta. Starting today we will bring you each race in it's own post over the next few days and then ending with the results and a play list with the airships in the result order. The first race was by the airship called "Flugwerft Flitzer" flown by Peter Hanickel, enjoy.
Flugwerft Flitzer - Race 1 - Regatta March 2009

Currently the RC-Airship Regatta is a mainly German event but it would be great if people from around the world would start hosting races too. Join the RC-Airship Regatta Yahoo Group if you are interested. The next chance to see the airships will be in Torino, Italy at the World Air Games 2009. The Event is from the 6th to the 14th of June and the airships will fly at the Indoor Aeromusicals during intermission.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alex Hall from Airship Ventures tells their story in an Interview - Updated

Just found this on YouTube. John's World a public access TV show from San Francisco interviewed Alex Hall from Airship Ventures about the Zeppelin how their business started and much more. Check out the 3 part 30 Minute Interview below or jump to our Playlist on YouTube

Thanks to John's World for putting the interview up and sharing it on YouTube


Well the video was made private, on request. Apologies dear readers this post is worth nothing now, since you can't see the video. You now have to be a friend of John's World in order to see it.

Update 2:
The videos are back online. So enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"prospective concepts" transitions into "iii solutions" - files patent for "hot air airship"

It's sometimes strange how connections emerge when you research for a new article. Today I was looking through recently filed patents in regards to lighter than air and I stumbled over the following patent (WO/2009/046554) HOT AIR AIRSHIP flipping through it and reading the patent (in German Language) I wanted to see if I could find out more about this idea, see if there was already more information available on the web, so I did a quick search for the company mentioned in the patent iii solutions, the website is all flash so I can not link to a specific page. If you look into Current Projects you are greeted by a familiar sight, the Flying Stingray built by prospective concepts that we had featured in our Article called "Airships are just like fish in the sky". We will come back to prospective concepts in a minute but first I want to make the connection to the patent, in the current projects is an item called Hot-airships a click on it reveals a picture that looks very similar to the one found in the patent, it's the picture we also feature in this post. So why is iii solutions using the prospective concepts Stingray, well because it's the follow on company. On the prospective concepts website you can read:

In the aeronautical projects segment, tasks are to be undertaken in future which call for a different corporate structure with a stronger focus on project-specific issues. The decision was therefore taken to set up a new company to handle these projects under the sole management of Andreas Reinhard: iii-solutions GmbH.
Another connection that emerged during the research is the connection of prospective concepts to the pneumatics company Festo which I talked about yesterday, but I assure you that this really pure coincidence and wasn't planned. Festo and prospective concepts have worked together in project focusing on “Use of air” and “Movement in the air”.

I am including the patent below, which wont be of much use if you are not able to read German. Since there is currently no official English translation, I prepared these links to the auto translated Description and Claims. What do you think of the patent and the claims? Post your feed back in the comments or start a discussion in the forum, I would love to hear from you.
(WO/2009/046554) HOT AIR AIRSHIP

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Festo did it again, this time it's flying penugins

If you have been reading the Blog for a while you will know that Festo is not a stranger to this Blog. They have been making the news pretty regularly every year with their Bionic Learning Networks flying animals which they develop as eye catchers for the Hannover Messe each year. After the flying manta ray called Air_ray in 2007 and the flying jellyfish called AirJelly in 2008 this year it's penguins and you guessed it they are appropriately named AirPenguin. The Air_ray did make it onto YouTube a while after it was presented at the Hannover Messe, the AirJelly was uploaded by Airshipworld to YouTube directly when it was published on Festos website, the result was that the AirJelly got a tremendous publicity all over the web with over 380.000 views of it's video.
This year Festo decided to start their own YouTube Channel called FestoHQ and they added all the Videos of the things that they will be presenting at the Hanover Messe 2009 which starts tomorrow April 20th 2009. So here you go watch the graceful AirPenguins fly, and also watch the second video with some more of Festos projects that they will be presenting, the second Video also contains an explanation of the AirPenguins. Unfortunately Festo disabled the embedding of the videos which is a shame. If you aren't into the videos to much, just below we have added the whitepaper that you can get from Festo which explains the Airpenguins technology, its an interesting read especially for those building small remote conrtolled airships themself.

AirPenguin A group of autonomously flying penguins Info Flying through the sea of air with collective behaviour AirPenguin – technology-bearers for adaptive flapping-wing mechanisms The AirPenguin is an autonomously flying object that comes close to its natural archetype in terms of agility and manoeuvrability. It comprises a helium-filled ballonett, which has a capacity of approx. 1 cubic metre and thus generates approx. 1 kg of buoyant force; at each end of the ballonett is a pyramid-shaped flexible structure of four carbon fibre rods, which are connected at joints by a series of rings spaced approx. 10 cm apart. The rings together with the carbon fibre rods yield a 3D Fin Ray ® structure that can be freely moved in any spatial direction. The Fin Ray ® structure was derived from the anatomy of a fish’s fin and extended here for the first time to applications in three-dimensional space. Each pair of spatially opposed carbon fibre rods is connected via bowden wires and a double pulley, and can be extended and retracted in contrary motion by means of an actuator. This gives rise to rotation free of play both at the tip of the AirPenguin’s nose and at the end of its tail. By superimposing two perpendicular planes of rotation, any desired spatial orientation can be realised. A strut to which the two wings are attached passes through the helium-filled ballonett. This new type of wing design can produce either forward or reverse thrust. Each wing is controlled by two actuators: a flapping actuator for the up-and-down movement of the wings, and a further unit that displaces the wing strut to alter the pressure point of the wings. There is also a central rotational actuator for the two flapping wings that directs their thrust upwards or downwards, thus making the AirPenguins rise or descend. All three actuators are proportionally controlled. This makes for continuously variable control of the flapping frequency, forward and reverse motion, and ascent and descent. Penguins are fascinating creatures which have lost their ability to fly in the course of their phylogenetic development as marine birds. With the AirPenguins, the engineers have created artificial penguins and taught them “autonomous flight in the sea of air”. The knowledge acquired from this research project of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network is to be put to use for future requirements in the automation of production processes. The entire wing complex comprises a strut with flat flexible wings of extruded polyurethane foam. The wing strut, which is supported at the pivot point of the torso, can be moved either towards the front or rear edge of the wing. Displacing the strut towards the front, for example, causes the wing’s pressure point to migrate forwards. The pressure of the airstream bends the cross-section of the wing in such a way as to produce a profile that generates forward thrust. If the wing strut is moved towards the rear edge of the wing, the pressure point is likewise moved to the rear, and the AirPenguin flies backwards. With this design a self-regulating, wing pressure-controlled, passively twisting adaptive wing has been realised for the first time. 2 Rear section with 3D Fin Ray ® structure AirPenguin – autonomous self-regulating systems with collective behaviour The AirPenguins are also equipped with complex navigation and communication facilities that allow them to explore their “sea of air” on their own initiative, either autonomously or in accordance with fixed rules. The underlying project: A group of three autonomously flying penguins hovers freely through a defined air space that is monitored by invisible ultrasound “transmitting stations”. The penguins can move freely within this space; a microcontroller gives them free will in order to explore it. The microcontroller also controls a total of nine digital actuators for the wings and for the head and tail sections. By means of XBee, based on ZigBee, large volumes of data can be transmitted between the penguins and the transmitting stations by 2.4-GHz band radio. The penguins recognise each other on the basis of their distances to the transmitting stations. The rapid, precise control allows the AirPenguins to fly in a group without colliding, while also mastering height control and positional stability. As an alternative, they can act synchronously as a group. A comprehensive central surveillance system provides security in case of sensor failure and reports low energy supply. Whenever necessary, it prompts the penguins to return to the charging station. Technology-bearers for the automation technology of tomorrow If the 3D Fin Ray ® structure of the head and tail sections is transferred to the requirements of automation technology, it can be used for instance in a flexible tripod with a very large scope of operation in comparison with conventional tripods. Fitted with electric drive mechanisms, the BionicTripod from Festo for example makes for precise, rapid movements, just like the AirPenguin. Autonomous, versatile, adaptive self-regulating processes will acquire increasing significance in future for automation in production. The animal kingdom can provide insights here which, when implemented by resourceful engineers, lead to astounding new applications. The ongoing development of sensor and control technology is thus also being promoted along the road to decentralised, autonomously self-controlling and self-organising systems thanks to inspiration from nature. The transfer to automation technology is also to be found by analogy in regulating technology from Festo, for example in the new VPPM and VPWP proportional-pressure regulators for servo-pneumatics. 3 Technical data Overall length: Max. torso diameter: Helium volume: Wing span: Weight: Control of wings, head and tail segments: Materials Buoyancy body: Head and tail segments: Wings: Wing strut: Accumulator battery for wing drive and torso orientation: Receiver sensors: 3.70 m 0.88 m 0.980 cbm 2.48 m 1.0 kg 9 digital actuators, range 180° aluminium-metallised foil, 22 g/qm 3D Fin Ray Effect ® structure of carbon-fibre rods extruded polyurethane foam carbon-fibre rod Project partners Project initiator: Dr. Wilfried Stoll, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Festo AG Project manager: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Markus Fischer, Corporate Design, Festo AG & Co. KG AirPenguin concept and realisation: Rainer and Günther Mugrauer, Clemens Gebert Effekt-Technik GmbH, Schlaitdorf, Germany Autonomous control concept and realisation: Dipl.-Ing. Agalya Nagarathinam, Dipl.-Ing. Kristof Jebens Ingenieurbüro Jebens & Nagarathinam GbR, Gärtringen, Germany Photos: Walter Fogel, Angelbachtal, Germany Graphic design: Atelier Frank, Berlin, Germany Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V 32-bit microcontroller @ 50 MHz MCU 2x LM3S811 64 kbyte flash, 8 kbyte RAM SCP 1000 pressure sensor ultrasound receiver capsules Altitude measurement: Distance measurement: Measurement of rotation rate about vertical axis: Lisy 300-AL gyroscope Directional and positional sensors: positionally compensated 3-axis compass with accelerometer Temperature measurement: temperature sensor 2.4 GHz radio transmission: based on ZigBee Current and voltage monitoring for Li-Po cell Overvoltage protection: DS2764 Li-Po protector Charging controller for Li-Po cell: Max1555 charging controller Accumulator battery: Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V Base stations/ transmitting stations: Altitude measurement: Distance measurement: Temperature measurement: 2.4 GHz radio transmission: Current and voltage monitoring for Li-Po cell Overvoltage protection: Charging controller for Li-Po cell: Energy reserve for approx. 50 h continuous operation: Brands: 32-bit microcontroller @ 50 MHz MCU LM3S811 64 kbyte flash, 8 kbyte RAM SCP 1000 pressure sensor ultrasound transmitters temperature sensor based on ZigBee Festo AG & Co. KG Corporate Design Plieninger Straße 50 73760 Ostfildern Germany Phone +49 711/347- 38 80 Fax +49 711/347- 38 99 fish@ DS2764 Li-Po protector Max1555 charging controller Li-Po battery, 2000 mAh, 4.2 V Fin Ray Effect ® is a brand of EvoLogics GmbH, Berlin, Germany 54709/EN

I don't want to leave you completely without videos so here the Air_ray and the AirJelly videos from 2007 and 2008.