HyFish: Fuel Cell Powered Flying ...Fish?
Economy, Safety, Emotion. The design drivers touted by company Smartfish don't include treehugging, or eco- anything. String search "env" and you are more likely to find "envy" than "environment". Koni Schafroth (pictured) may or may not be trying to be a treehugger. But with a design that rocking, his HyFish is the perfect choice for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) project to build an airplane powered by a fuel cell. The model has successfully passed test flights under battery power, and Smartfish is going forward with development to a 2-man craft that should use less fuel than an auto while zipping along at 900 km/hour (560 mph). But the DLR has eco-adventurous plans for the air-quatic gizmo: they want to outfit a model with 1.5m wingspan for remote controlled flight at 200 to 300 km/hour (120-190 mph), powered by a 1kW fuel cell. To reach the intended height of 7000 meters (23,000 ft), the plane will have to carry oxygen in addition to the hydrogen fuel, in order to meet the demands in the thin atmosphere. The project is intended to demonstrate the functionality of fuel cells in the demanding area of flight and to advance lightweight construction techniques. If successful, the device could be used to take air quality samples: zero emissions from the plane itself enable uncontaminated sampling.