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FEGs   Flying Electric Generators

KiteLab uses small FEGs for personal power systems and for APU use aloft, but does not find that FEGs can scale greatly, for both safety and scaling-law reasons. I have built almost a dozen different FEGS going back almost thirty years. These are the latest, and represent a high-COTS approach.

"Artificial Moon" Soft-Rotor Phone-Charger AWECS           Click image for flight video:    

The quest for the simplest, cheapest, lightest Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) turbine rotor lead to the Premier kite company's Hypno-Twister spin-tail. Two standard fiberglass rods are crossed to support four decent membrane skin scimitar blades with helical pitch. This excellent pattern can be further refined and will scale-up greatly for potent dirt-cheap turbines.

To make an AWECS with this type of soft-rotor, a used Hypno-Twister was shorn of its long ribbons and mated to a hand cranked cellphone USB charger with auxiliary white LED flashlight and AM/FM radio. The first test flights carry the same "lucky" cellphone used in many KiteLab AWE experiments, so in effect, two radios were lofted, along with the other functions, under a 40 sq ft sled kite. The soft-rotor-driven generator cranked well in just 8 mph of wind, and the LEDs shone so brightly that the camera CCD chip saturated along whole rows of pixels. The peculiar wonder of this spotlight in the sky is that such a light can shine "as long as the wind shall blow", as a sort of Artificial Moon.
10USD NAV Light AWECS         

This small unit was made and flown last spring, but finally got videoed.     Click still for night-use flight video.

On April 19, 2011, a mysterious red light appeared high in the Texas sky. It was the latest Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) science toy, assembled & flown by a kid. The wind generator used was a popular science kit selling for under 8USD & the pilot-lifter kite was a 3USD toy delta. Total assembly took about 20 minutes & the kite then easily lifted the generator in about an 8 kt breeze, flying at a ~45 degree angle. It would have taken a bit more wind to lift an added conductive cable, but that's the obvious next step. If nothing else. this is clearly an effective milliwatt-class AWECS for educational purposes.