Taylor Made: KOSH I - Innovations
This is part one of my two-part series about EAA AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, WI. Commonly known simply as “Oshkosh,” the weeklong event has always been a great place for learning about new ideas. Similar to my Feats and Fails posts, I am focusing on some of the concepts and products that were presented.
Many companies had personal hangars and tents set up around the airport grounds with representatives available to showcase products and give explanations. To give an idea, some of the tents included Beechcraft, Boeing, Bose, Cessna, Cirrus, Continental Motors, Ford, Garmin, GoPro, Honda, Icon, Piper, and Rotax.
Icon has begun the production of an interesting idea: a lightweight, trailerable, amphibious aircraft with folding wings. The Icon A5 can be towed by a car and, being a light-sport aircraft, requires little space for takeoff and landing. The plane weighs just over 1,000 lbs and has a Rotax engine with a top speed of 120 mph. The main attraction of this plane is not its performance but rather its ability to fold into a compact shape and be easily transported and stored.
There were also four large exhibition hangars filled with booths from aviation and non-aviation companies alike. Some of the ideas presented within are worth mentioning. These have all culminated in marketed products but are not yet widespread.
Clamptite, LLC has produced an alternative to hose clamps. Its specialty tool can be used to wrap, tighten, and secure wires around a hose or other object. The tool can also undo the wire clamps. Clamptite sells wire for this purpose, but a large variety of wire (e.g. wire from clothes hangers) can be used, as the tools come in a series of sizes. One benefit of using wire over a traditional hose clamp is that the wire can grip the object more tightly and evenly due to its lesser surface area. The wire also bends more easily to the exact shape of the object’s surface.
The company ClickHeat makes cold/hot packs that contain a solution of sodium acetate, baking soda, and vinegar, along with a small, thin metal round with angled edges. In ambient air, the solution is stable and the plastic pack is flexible. The solution can be kept in the freezer to make a cold pack. However, heating does not require an outside source.
To make the pack a hot pack, you snap the edges of the metal round, similar to snapping a metal drink cap by pressing on its center. The snap releases enough energy into the solution to set off a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda, causing the pack to immediately heat up. The solution goes from clear to cloudy white and reaches an estimated 130 degrees. This reaction is reversed by boiling the pack in water for a few minutes, and the cycle can be repeated indefinitely. The limits in this design are the capabilities of the plastic body and the metal round. Each of these components experiences various forms of loading over time.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s research team Heurobotics, out of the Eagle Flight Research Center, has created a larger-scale drone that can take off vertically and then level off for steady flight. The Mark II has twin propellers on its 9.6 feet wingspan and comes in three versions- electric, gas, and hybrid powered. The gas motor has an endurance of 4.75 hours, while the electric motor will run for 25 minutes. The main attraction of this drone is its vertical-to-horizontal flight capability combined with its size.