Taras K: Electrical regeneration could be the future of sport flying

March 23, 2007
Santa Paula News

The future of sport flying might just be in the hands - and mind - of a Santa Paula inventor and pilot, who discussed electrical regenerative technology at a recent meeting of the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe future of sport flying might just be in the hands - and mind - of a Santa Paula inventor and pilot, who discussed electrical regenerative technology at a recent meeting of the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula. Taras Kiceniuk Jr. is the owner of Icarus Engineering, and among his long list of accomplishments is developing the Articulated Cane and designing and building the first working model of a flying dinosaur for the Smithsonian Institute.In 1975 Kiceniuk designed, built and flew the Icarus HPA-1, the first human-powered plane to make unassisted flights in the U.S., two years after he set a world duration record with Icarus V - a high-performance flying wing hang glider - of 2 hours and 30 minutes. At 17 years old, Kiceniuk and his Icarus II, a biplane wing glider, set a world duration record of 1 hour 11 minutes.A graduate of the California Institute of Technology, Kiceniuk’s presentation, Reinventing the Cub and the Art of Quiet Flying, noted that his Taras K Regenerator Project - which involves a team of supporters - could change the world of sport flying. That quest reflects his love of “being so connected to the air... I know hang gliding is not the answer anymore,” nor is the Cub.
“I would like to help promote the development of aircraft that is fun to fly and safe,” and Kiceniuk said he has “set a personal benchmark” for aviation’s newest technology, the electric motor glider, that provides a “blend of the different aspects of flight.” Motor gliding is seeing increasing popularity in Europe, but regenerative gliding requires heavy battery power that draws energy from the air from the propeller and stores it for later use.“What made sense” was to build a mockup that was carved out of Styrofoam, with the propeller blades topping the wingspan. The latter was challenging, and Kiceniuk spent “quite a bit of time” to create a “slow turning prop” that would also be quiet, as “aviation’s biggest enemy is noise” that interferes with the rest of the world.Testing to ensure that effective windmilling was attainable took time, but now efficiencies have hit 90 percent. In November the first flight of the model was successful, including attaining 2,500 rpm for takeoff, traveling from 30 mph to below 20 mph, and hitting a climb rate of 450 feet per minute. The Taras K model carried a battery pack of 30 volts, had eight polymer cells, 1 horsepower and about 3,000 rpm, and Kiceniuk said that the three-blade system exhibited less stalling.What’s next? “I’ll carry this on to a human size plane, but when it stops being fun” and becomes more dangerous Kiceniuk said he would reconsider the idea.



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