This Sustainable Life


519: Terik Weekes, Chief Engineer for Elroy Air: The future of electric flight

Ep. 519

Should you prepare for a future of clean air travel, curb your flying, or other?

I saw Terik speak on a panel on electric flight. As Chief Engineer at a company winning awards for battery-powered planes, he knew what he was talking about. He has to know about the cutting edge of various fields, including batteries, aeronautics, and materials.

When the Wright Brothers first flew a heavier-than-air craft in 1903, nobody could have predicted a 747. Are electric planes today at the Wright Brothers stage of development, with electric 747s around the corner, are they at the closing end of that line of development with few advances left, or something else?

The news covers the drone market taking off, advances in batteries, and small planes going short distances. I'm curious about the prospect of planes flying people across oceans. Can it happen? If so, when? If not, why not and what does that mean for a culture that values air travel, or may be addicted to it.

What does someone at the frontier of the field anticipate, professionally for electric flying and personally for spending time with his distant family?

Terik and I cover all these questions and more.

More Episodes


536: David Pogue: How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos

Ep. 536
Two great reasons to listen to this episode. First, David is a tremendous science communicator. He's experienced, thoughtful, funny, and communicates simply without dumbing down. He's worked with some of the most important sources, like NOVA, the New York Times, TED, CBS Sunday Morning, and more. He's accurate and fun, a rare combination. I think it comes from his passion for knowledge and people.Second, his book fills an important role. As we start our conversation, neither of us could believe no one had written such an important book. On my side, I focus and changing culture. Most focus on lowering emissions. He agrees on the importance of these things. We also have to respond to the changes we can't stop. We can't change the past. Even if we stop polluting today, we'll feel effects of past behavior for decades, centuries, even millennia.His book tackles what to do just to continue with life. Losing composure or panicking doesn't help your life or society. How readable is it? I read the over-600-page book in two sittings, though I skipped the parts not relevant to me, like for homeowners, since I live in an apartment building.I find most books on the environment rehashing what we know already or taking a perspective I disagree with (techno- and market-optimists, for example, though I always hope to be shown something I'm missing). His is a rare book I find valuable and can't believe I didn't think of. I think you'll find the book valuable.Start with this episode.David's personal page Book excerpt: "How to Prepare for Climate Change"