Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, September 26, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: Wicks Aircraft Supply Enters Field of Solar Powered Vehicles

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Aero Experience coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 continues with a look at a Midwest Aviation business that has ventured into the area of solar power technology.  Wicks Aircraft Supply Company of Highland, IL has been serving the aviation community since 1974, and has shown an inherent ability to serve a variety of industries with their specialty products, materials and excellent customer service.  The Wicks Aircraft Supply Company, a favorite of experimental aircraft builders, is an outgrowth of the Wicks Organ Company (founded in 1908).  For more about the Wicks family of companies, please see the excellent article on this link.

The Aero Experience Team made sure that we visited the Wicks Aircraft Supply booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, and we were intrigued by a new project under development: Solar power kit built into the roof of their golf cart, constructed using the latest solar cell technology and composite roof materials.  Company President Scott Wick (left) and project leader Zach Crawford proudly showed us their new product just outside the exhibit hangar.    

Zach Crawford described the features of the solar power roof kit: 

It contains 400 watts of solar panels using high-quality mono-crystalline cells.  A small instrument panel in the cart shows the amount of current battery charge, voltage and amperage production from the panels, and the total power production from the onboard batteries.  The 1500 watt inverter provides a power source for common consumer products. 

"The goal is to have a very simple kit that anybody can install that will have just two wires leading down from the roof to plug in," Crawford said.  "We ran this here for five days, and it ran very well," he added.  Scott Wick was quick to mention the practical uses of a solar- powered cart during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.  "A cart like this can be very useful in a camp ground like this, providing transportation and power to the campers...They can get around and cook their coffee as well."  Of course there is no need to find a recharge station.

Scott Wick predicts that the solar power roof kits will be available as a regular product by the end of 2016.  "This is a prototype that we built over the last several months, and so far it's working really well," he told The Aero Experience.   "We will supply this as a kit so the customer can hook it up themselves."  The kit will contain the roof with the solar panels, the instruments described above, inverter and necessary accessories with straightforward installation instructions.         
Future developments may include solar roof kits for larger transport carts and utility vehicles for groundskeepers and maintenance crews.  The inverter will provide the added value of electricity to operate and charge power tools and other devices in the field as well.    

This video clip describes the features and uses of the solar power roof kit on an operational cart:

The Aero Experience thanks Scott Wick and Zach Crawford for showing us their new solar power roof kit, and we look forward to checking back with Wicks Aircraft Supply for updates soon.

No comments: