Dec 13, 2008
Solar Energy Baloons
Called Sunhope, the idea is to deploy solar energy-harvesting systems with a low environmental footprint.
The balloons are made to last about a year without no maintenance. Cory and Gurfil estimate that one or two balloons could power a home.
The balloons are easy to deliver and set up. Cory and Gurfil have made prototypes and conducted research. They found that a 10 foot balloon delivers about a kilowatt of electricity (equivalent to 25 square meters of solar panels). Target cost is about $4,000 per balloon, less than half the price of a typical ground-based grid.
This YouTube is Hebrew television coverage, but has Cory speaking English, and shows how the balloon's are constructed.
The idea is a nice innovation over Cool Earth Solar's balloons--theirs are ground based. Each 8-foot-diameter balloon is made of plastic (like that used to bag potato chips), with a transparent upper hemisphere and a reflective lower hemisphere. When inflated, the balloon's geometry concentrates inbound sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell at the focal point. This transparent upper surface protects the cell from the environment, including rain, insects and dirt. A single cell placed in this balloon generates about 300 to 400 times the electricity of a cell without such a concentrator. The balloon is strong enough to support a person's weight, and is tested to withstand winds of up to 125 miles per hour.
Read more: Joseph Cory at Geotectura, Dr. Gurfil at the Technion, Cool Earth Solar
Nov 1, 2008
Appalachian Trail In The Air
The hot air balloon community does not work on these issues because it is (1) industrially intensive (2) tourist-oriented. The solar balloon community is smaller and more open to new ideas than the hot-air balloon community. For example, they are providing wind pattern information to NASA.
Humans are ocean faring ever since we were tool-making; but we are airborne for only a few hundred years. We have almost no collective experience or lore about living in the air. Compare this to ocean dwelling--ideas of the doldrums, the storms, the Easterly winds, etc. are in poetry, literature and public knowledge.
Oct 20, 2008
A Woman's Place is in the Air
So it is nice to stumble upon an article on women's role in early flight. These women are mentioned:
- Sophie Blanchard, took over the balloon business from her husband's Jean-Pierre
- Andre Garnerin's niece
- Dolly Shepherd, a star of Buffalo Bill Cody's show
- Queen Margherita of Italy founded the Roman Aero Club in 1904, and Contessa Grace di Campello Della Spina was an enthusiastic member, calling ballooning the "sport of the gods."
- Mrs. Hart Berg, first woman passenger on a Wright Bros. plane
- Airplane pilots Blanche Scott, Bessica Raiche, Julia Clark, Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson, Bessie Coleman, Beryl Markham..
This is from "Women in Flight," a talk given January 20, 1999, by John H. Lienhard, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Houston. jhl at uh.edu.
Oct 19, 2008
High Altitude Lego
Read more: The official website. Brian Davis's blog.
The Energizer battery spec.
Dawn of the age of phlight
What is phlight? It is flight, but spelled with a "ph." Why? Flight today means "fossil fuel" flight, hence the "f;" we are interested in promoting renewable sun-powered flight, hence the "ph" of phlight, standing for passive heliogenic flight. A cloud weighs half a million kilograms yet is suspended in the air by sunlight alone. That is the emblem of phlight; let us say that the cloud phlies.
Flight--with a fossil fuel f--is done today by airplanes, helicopters and rocket ships, and also hot air and weather balloons, dirigibles, blimps, zeppelins--even gliders, since they are pulled by fossil-fuel powered vehicles. All of these rely on fossil fuels, hence they fly and do not phly.
Phlight--passive heliogenic phlight-- is done today by kites, passive solar-powered balloons, and Tomas Saraceno's work such as the Museo Aero Solar and his flying garden. There are also promising experimental solar collectors and kite-like wind generators, but progress is slow.
We envision a day when people sleep, work and phly daily along internationally accepted phlight paths. The slow progress towards phlight is due to the significant challenges that phlight poses. Understanding the challenges is a necessary first step towards finding solutions. The challenges are technological and social.
Phlight requires technological advances in
- materials: ultra-light materials like Aerogel to build any rigid structures needed;
- fabrics: ultra-thin textiles that can sequester sun radiation, retain hot air or release it as needed. Perhaps buckypaper can help.
- suits: the original B-17 passengers wore heated flying suits with oxygen masks to protect them from the -45 degree Celsius cold. We need new such suits for our phliers, perhaps based on mountaineering and arctic gear.
- kitchen and toilet: ultra-efficient food preparation and waste evacuation facilities are needed as every gram counts;
- GIS: multidimensional maps of the atmosphere are needed; Google Earth-type GIS is a good first step, but that is only the surface of the earth; we need to innovate new methods to map the flows of air that have both depth and breadth.
- escape devices: a safety vest is needed for people in phlight, perhaps gas-ejected parachutes.
Phlight requires social and political advances in
- path clearing: we need to clear passive phlight paths in the atmosphere, using methods such as those used by Appalachian Trail and bike path activists; these paths require clear political border rights and air rights of passage, keeping in mind the passive and hence less-controlled nature of phlight.
- ports of call: Phlight ports need to be created, with a clear idea of what supplies and services are needed at such a port.
- motivation: Flight is marked by drama: the rush of speed, the loud noise, the tremendous power, the vicarious thrill of seeing death-defying stunts, the frisson of pilots in military-style dress and stewardesses in short dresses. Phlight is very different: it is a contemplative pleasure like gardening, a union with nature like sailing. (On a hormonal level, flight elicits fight-or-flight adrenaline responses; phlight elicits oxytocin-type responses of endurance, closeness and bonding).
The ocean was first traveled in passive heliogenic sea craft. The earliest seamen innovated a tremendous range of technologies that benefited all humankind, such as star navigation and tension-based sail structures. They must have been crazy, taking to sea on little more than a song and a hope; yet they discovered and populated the world.
Air travel has developed in reverse: first came fossil and carbon-fueled flight (even the first hot air balloons were heated by wood burning). Phlight had to await the high-tech fabrics and portable oxygen needed to enable a human to live in the oxygen-deprived, cold atmosphere. But today events pressure us to take to the skies. Overpopulation and ecological stress motivate humanity to leave the ground and take to the air.
The Graf zeppelin flew over a million and a half kilometers, including a trip around the world, but was retired as it was too slow (90 km/h) and too dangerous (flammable hydrogen). Phlight has different concerns: no need for speed--phlight is about dwelling, not transporting--and no danger--just solar powered air--and no need for such fine steering control, nor tables with linen table cloths.
The first phlying pioneers need to be extremely motivated people, just like the first seaman, and the first pilots. Until these people show up we can plant phlying gardens. We can hoist an atmonaut into a phlying meditation space tethered to the ground. Perhaps an X-prize can go to the first atmonaut to stay aloft for a month, or a year, in phlight. We can begin to request phlight paths from the owners of the jumbo jet superhighways, and we begin to collect the GIS data to comprehend atmospheric flows.
Phlight is a critical step towards easing our planet's burdens. Once achieved, we can begin tearing up concrete and liberate the world-around layer of soil from its asphalt prison, leaving it to do what it does best: make food and support the biosphere. We can achieve humanity's original dream of taking to the skies, not on the back of a roaring engine, but on the caress of a cloud.
Mar 10, 2008
Warsaw Convention - A Brief Explanation, Warsaw-Life
The Warsaw Convention took place in Warsaw, on 12th October 1929. Experts in the field of Aviation Law, from thirty one nations, arrived in the Polish capital to create a legal framework that still binds international aviation today (albeit modified, most notable at the Hague in 1955 and Montreal 1999).
The principal purpose of the Warsaw Convention was to determine the liability of air carriers in the case of an accident, both in regards to passengers and also baggage and cargo. One of the main reasons that the Warsaw Convention needed amending in Montreal was because the maximum compensation that an airline could be forced to pay in the event of an international accident was 75,000 US dollars (for the death of one person). This limit, set to protect a fledging aviation industry from bankruptcy, has now been changed, so that the minimum a bereaved family can claim - without having to prove the airline’s negligence - is 135,000 dollars. And if the carrier is found at fault for the accident... Well, then the sky’s the limit.
- Warsaw-life.com 2003-2007
- All rights reserved © Lifeboat Limited. UK Registered Company No. 5351515
- retrieved 10 March 2008
Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air
Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal, 28 May 1999)
Chapter I - General Provisions
Article 1 - Scope of application
Article 2 - Carriage performed by State and carriage of postal items
Chapter II - Documentation and Duties of the Parties Relating to the Carriage of Passengers, Baggage and Cargo
Article 3 - Passengers and baggage
Article 4 - Cargo
Article 5 - Contents of air waybill or cargo receipt
Article 6 - Document relating to the nature of the cargo
Article 7 - Description of air waybill
Article 8 - Documentation for multiple packages
Article 9 - Non-compliance with documentary requirements
Article 10 - Responsibility for particulars of documentation
Article 11 - Evidentiary value of documentation
Article 12 - Right of disposition of cargo
Article 13 - Delivery of the cargo
Article 14 - Enforcement of the rights of consignor and consignee
Article 15 - Relations of consignor and consignee or mutual relations of third parties
Article 16 - Formalities of customs, police or other public authorities
Chapter III - Liability of the Carrier and Extent of Compensation for Damage
Article 17 - Death and injury of passengers - damage to baggage
Article 18 - Damage to cargo
Article 19 - Delay
Article 20 - Exoneration
Article 21 - Compensation in case of death or injury of passengers
Article 22 - Limits of liability in relation to delay, baggage and cargo
Article 23 - Conversion of monetary units
Article 24 - Review of limits
Article 25 - Stipulation on limits
Article 26 - Invalidity of contractual provisions
Article 27 - Freedom to contract
Article 28 - Advance payments
Article 29 - Basis of claims
Article 30 - Servants, agents - aggregation of claims
Article 31 - Timely notice of complaints
Article 32 - Death of person liable
Article 33 - Jurisdiction
Article 34 - Arbitration
Article 35 - Limitation of actions
Article 36 - Successive carriage
Article 37 - Right of recourse against third parties
Chapter IV - Combined Carriage
Article 38 - Combined carriage
Chapter V - Carriage by Air Performed by a Person other than the Contracting Carrier
Article 39 - Contracting carrier - actual carrier
Article 40 - Respective liability of contracting and actual carriers
Article 41 - Mutual liability
Article 42 - Addressee of complaints and instructions
Article 43 - Servants and agents
Article 44 - Aggregation of damages
Article 45 - Addressee of claims
Article 46 - Additional jurisdiction
Article 47 - Invalidity of contractual provisions
Article 48 - Mutual relations of contracting and actual carriers
Chapter VI - Other Provisions
Article 49 - Mandatory application
Article 50 - Insurance
Article 51 - Carriage performed in extraordinary circumstances
Article 52 - Definition of days
Chapter VII - Final Clauses
Article 53 - Signature, ratification and entry into force
Article 54 - Denunciation
Article 55 - Relationship with other Warsaw Convention instruments
Article 56 - States with more than one system of law
Article 57 - ReservationsDocument Information (metadata)
Output generated by SiSU 0.64.1 2008-01-09 (2008w01/3)
Montreal Convention, Wikipedia
The Montreal Convention, formally the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, is a treaty adopted by a Diplomatic meeting of ICAO member states in 1999. It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention's regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters. The Convention re-establishes urgently needed uniformity and predictability of rules relating to the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. Whilst maintaining the core provisions which have successfully served the international air transport community for several decades (i.e the Warsaw regime), the new convention achieves the required modernisation in a number of key areas. It protects the passengers by introducing a modern two-tier liability system and by facilitating the swift recovery of proven damages without the need for lengthy litigation.
Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approximately $138,000 per passenger at the time of its ratification by the United States in 2003. (As of January 2007, the value has risen to roughly $149,000.) For damages above 100,000 SDR's, the airline must show the accident that caused injury or death was not due to their negligence or was attributable to the negligence of a third party. The Convention also amended the jurisdictional provisions of Warsaw and now allows the victim or their families to sue foreign carriers where they maintain their principal residence, and requires all air carriers to carry liability insurance.
The Montreal Convention also changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1000 SDRs (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage).
Montreal convention was brought about mainly to amend liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.
EU countries jointly ratified the convention on 29 April 2004, and it came into force in those countries on 28 June 2004.
- This page was last modified on 1 January 2008, at 14:40.
- All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
Civil Aviation Authority, Wikipedia
- This page was last modified on 28 February 2008, at 16:56.
- All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
International Air Transport Association, Wikipedia
The International Air Transport Association is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the International Civil Aviation Organisation also happens to be headquartered, even though they are different entities. The main objective of the organization is to assist airline companies to achieve lawful competition and uniformity in prices.
IATA was formed in April 1945, in Havana, Cuba. It is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, founded in The Hague in 1919, the year of the world's first international scheduled services. At its founding, IATA had 57 members from 31 nations, mostly in Europe and North America. Today it has over 240 members from more than 140 nations in every part of the globe.
For fare calculations IATA has divided the world in three regions:
- South, Central and North America.
- Europe, Middle East and Africa. IATA Europe includes the geographical Europe and Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
- Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
To this end, airlines have been granted a special exemption by each of the main regulatory authorities in the world to consult prices with each other through this body. However, the organisation has been accused of acting as a cartel, and many low cost carriers are not full IATA members. The European Union's competition authorities are currently investigating the body. In 2005, Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, made a proposal to lift the exception to consult prices. In July 2006, the United States Department of Transportation also proposed to withdraw antitrust immunity . IATA teamed with SITA for an electronic ticketing solution .
IATA assigns 3-letter IATA Airport Codes and 2-letter IATA airline designators, which are commonly used worldwide. ICAO also assigns airport and airline codes. For Rail&Fly systems, IATA also assigns IATA train station codes. For delay codes, IATA assigns IATA Delay Codes.
IATA is pivotal in the worldwide accreditation of travel agents with exception of the U.S., where this is done by the Airlines Reporting Corporation. Permission to sell airline tickets from the participating carriers is achieved through national member organizations.
They also regulate the shipping of dangerous goods and publish the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual, a globally accepted field source reference for airlines shipping of hazardous materials.
- This page was last modified on 6 March 2008, at 05:08.
- All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.