So the current max flight time is 1 hour at best. Given future improvements in battery tech and any other tech, then how long can we realistically expect to be able to fly, in the future? What kind of goal can we hope for? Is even a couple of hours of flight time too high a target?
And what will that allow you to do?
Will ePPGs ever be suitable for cross-country flying? Or should ePPG owners avoid buying cross-country wings?
What types of flying would ePPGs be most suited for?
Great question. I have heard of light weight people getting a continuous cruise on an sp140 quite a bit below 3.5kw with an efficient wing. So with a 4kWh sp140 pack, they could fly for about 65 minutes. I recently built a 4.55kWh battery pack in the same size, voltage, and weight as the sp140 battery pack. So my battery that I currently have that could give the same pilots 73 minutes of flight. I am also working towards a second battery once again roughly the same weight and voltage as the sp140 4kw battery pack, but it gives 4.8kWh and could give the sp140 an 77 minute flight in perfect conditions with a light weight pilot. Exomo is also finishing up their next generation of electric paramotor and they have a 5kWh option for trikes and heavier pilots, but this could also get in theory about an 75 minute flight time with a smaller pilot assuming they are strong enough to launch the bigger battery. So this is where technology currently is.
In the next year, the Tesla 4680 format cells(if you could get your hands on them) could improve the sp140 max flight to 85 minutes with a light weight pilot on an efficient wing. Then within 3 years from now many companies will be producing solid state batteries with over 400wh/kg which could then push them to about 1 hour 55 minutes. We don’t really know where we will go from there, but it should continue to improve at a rapid rate thanks to all the vehicle electrification going on.
Now those numbers given are for light weight people with efficient wings trying to fly as long as possible and draining the battery all the way down, but I would not be to surprised if us average people will get realistic and repeatable 100 minute flights within the next 4 years.
Gee, I was hoping for 2-hour flights at some point. Even that is rather poor for cross-country flying.
If only we could get to some kind of fuel cell + battery combo, even if it had a somewhat shorter lifespan before requiring replacement. At the rate that technology is advancing, having to replace your power supply every few years could be worth it, allowing you to take advantage of the new updates in technology/performance more frequently.
We just need to adopt air charging – fly between large comm towers to recharge using the microwaves. Young folks should realize they wont be able to have children after doing for prolong periods…and you might die of cancer🤔
I’m a decade younger, so not that far behind you. Maybe other components can be made more lightweight, so that we can carry more battery for our needs?
I was looking at the new Sirocco 3 wing from Ozone, which uses a lighter fabric that saves weight. Not only does it inflate more easily, but it provides more agility in reducing the unsprung weight. But it’s still a cross-country wing. I’m not sure which is the most lightweight frame out there for conventional paramotors - I’ve heard the Scout is the lightest, but I’m not sure. Another one that seemed to be quite lightweight was the Rebel 2 RS, which was also light, but was made of steel. The lightest metals I’d seen used in ppg frames were magnesium alloy frames. But they’re all for conventional ICE. I’m not sure how well the SP140 frame compares to them in weight.
I don’t know if the motor itself can be made more lightweight?
I really want to see gasoline fuel cells developed to their full potential. The entire system including the fuel cell and motor could be over 40% efficient (vs the 10-15% thermal efficiency of 2 stroke engines), just as quiet as an electric and you would only need a gallon of gas to fly as long as a typical IC paramotor flies off 2.5 gallons. Then you don’t have any oil mixing, it would be just as quiet as an electric, hopefully very low maintenance, comparable operating cost to an electric, and takes 30 seconds to fill up.
Assuming you are referring to the standard Scout frame, they are act one of the heaviest at around 20 pounds just for the frame/harness.(even the “super heavy” flat top is only 18 pounds for the frame/harness)
I thought Scout was lighter because it was composite, but If Scout’s one of the heavier ones, then what are the lightest PPG frames available on the market? Have you heard of the Rebel 2 RS? I think the frame is supposed to be like 10 lbs, even though it’s made of steel. Or is Wasp the lightest? I’d dome some research into this, but forgot what I’d found.
A quick Google search says the Air Conception magnesium Delta frame is the lightest (weight 2kg), followed by Air Conception titanium Race V2 (weight 2.5kg)
What’s the weight of the SP140 frame minus the motor, harness, etc? Just for apples-to-apples comparison.
Most of the carbon on the scout is for aerodynamic purposes and not structural so it adds a lot of weight. Its hard to calculate the exact weight of the frame as most units have fuel tanks, throttles, props, fuel lines, engine mounts, etc that go into the weight, but here are some unit weights with only the engine removed:
It was really interesting as I could not find with my quick search any info related to the wight of a fully assembled gravity defiant paramotor. The air conception nitro 200 delta frame was the lightest I could find. Apparently the bare frame is only 5.5lbs! As I hope we all know, weight is not the only important part of a paramotor, but light weight units are really nice!
I gave up on FL PPG - was not a good fit for my physical abilities and mind set - Almost went Trike PPG but decided to go Flexwing as space was no longer a constraint for myself.
Had I stock with Trike PPG I would be thinking not to worry about weight. All you need to do is pay the Piper and just size batts, motor and wing to what you need to get up in the air and Agnes is your Aunt or Bobs your Uncle.
Your cost now for the extra batts is probably cheaper or same cost as the future smaller batts when they are initially released - “This is the way”
If FL PPG is the only thing you want to do than you SOL.