Fuel-cell flier

Fun & Games Science
Fuel-cell flier

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A fuel cell-powered remotely piloted aircraft buzzed quietly into the morning sky in a park near Van Nuys, Calif., August 25. The unorthodox flight was a triumph of collegiate innovation made possible by a nurturing program at California State University Los Angeles and a boost from NASA’s Academic Investments Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The college figures this is only the fourth public flight of a fuel cell-powered aircraft anywhere, and the first to use an improved type of fuel cell that greatly increases the power-to-weight ratio available for the aircraft. Fuel cells produce electrical energy in a conversion process that uses hydrogen and yields only water as a byproduct.

California Students Join Small Circle of Revolutionary Fuel-Cell Fliers – Link

6 thoughts on “Fuel-cell flier

  1. MadScott says:

    That was August 25, 2006.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1VyUmdg4iA

    Great footage here at the bottom of the page

    http://www.calstatela.edu/centers/mfdclab/mfdclab.htm

  2. wonko.sane@gmail.com says:

    Very interesting mostly because of the power plant involved. Other than building a really big R/C flex wing aircraft to house the engine I wonder if there are any plans to extend the usefulness of the design? The NASA link dosen’t give much information on the project or its long term objectives.

  3. wonko.sane@gmail.com says:

    More information and a nicer in flight video can be found here at the the MFDCLab site. I’d bet that this wing has the ability to glide quite some distance while it maintains a pretty slow stall speed.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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