Solar Impulse Down, But Not Out

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Following its cliff-hangar five-day flight from Nagoya, Japan to Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii, Solar Impulse is undergoing an extended period of tender loving care, dedicated rebuilding of its battery packs and insightful reflection on how to avoid future issues. Landing July 3, 2015, Pilot André Borschberg broke the world records for distance along a course (6,825.4 kilometers – 4,231.5 miles), Straight distance, and Duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (80 hours and 5,663 km. – 3,511 miles), according to the Solar Impulse web site. If all had gone according to plan, Bertrand Piccard would have hopped on board a few days later and headed for the United States on the second leg of the …

Solar Impulse 2 in Readiness for Around-the-World Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Reassembled and ready, Solar Impulse 2 stands ready to leave Abu Dhabi on an historic around-the-world flight within the next month, according to the project’s latest announcements.  When HB-SIB leaves Abu Dhabi, it will cross two oceans and four continents before returning to its departure point.  The trip will include landings in 12 locations and a total distance of 35,000 kilometers (21,700 miles) – all without using a drop of fuel. Its route and schedule will be affected by weather, and since the airplane will fly at only 27 miles per hour at night to conserve battery energy, by prevailing winds.  Normal flight speeds will range from 50 to 100 kilometers per hour (31 to 62 mph). The press release …

Solar Impulse Wrapping Up Flight Tests before Heading to Abu Dhabi

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse 2, HB-SIB, flying now for several months, is being readied for a trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and host city for Solar Impulse’s around-the-world flight.  From there, early in 2015, it will embark on its around-the-world flight, alternately flown by Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg. The program continues the drive and immense logistical planning evidenced by Solar Impulse 1’s across-America flight last year.  “What better way to demonstrate the importance of the pioneering, innovatory spirit than by achieving ‘impossible’ things with renewable energy and highlighting new solutions for environmental problems?” This attitude will be necessary to overcome the challenges of five-day, cross-ocean flights each pilot will face, and to meet the meteorological …

Solar Impulse 2 Makes Premier Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse HB-SIB, the second aircraft from the program headed by Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, took to the skies early this morning piloted by Markus Scherdel.  Taking off from Payerne Airport at 3:38 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) Solar Impulse 2 climbed to a randomly orbiting path within a 20-mile compass of the airfield to the southwest, Lake Neuchatel to the north, and Belleville to the northeast. At about 4:01 GMT, and about 5,300 feet, Scherdel reported a slight vibration and briefly leveled off until determining that it was probably an aerodynamic vibration – not a motor issue, but possibly from a hatch door.  He continued climbing and performed a bank angle test of 5° at varying airspeeds and “a …

Solar Impulse 2 Ready to Take on the World

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Even while the first Solar Impulse was scaling the Alps, traversing the Moroccan desert, and crossing America, skilled craftsmen and women were designing and building Solar Impulse 2, a larger, heavier solar-powered airplane rolled out this week.  Its next challenge, that of flying around the world, will test the limits of even this seasoned team. As shown on the first Solar Impulse’s flights, “Flying the Solar Impulse aircraft is quite different from being at the commands of any other airplane. Flight tactics, piloting skills, aerodynamics had to be re-learned from scratch.”  Part of the difference comes from the aircraft’s huge size and light weight.  Solar Impulse shares this:  “Here’s a fun fact for you to understand how special this aircraft is: …

Solar Impulse on 60 Minutes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Alexandra Gindroz, Media Relations Manager for Solar Impulse, shared this late-breaking development today. “60 MINUTES recently visited Solar Impulse, the first manned solar airplane able to fly day and night without fuel. Learn about this groundbreaking project widely recognized as a 21st century adventure with a real utility in promoting technological innovation on CBS 60 MINUTES Sunday December 2nd at 7 P.M ET.”   Even more exciting to alternative energy aviation followers, Solar Impulse plans on flying its airplane across the United States early next year.  “In the summer of 2010, Solar Impulse successfully conducted the first ever historical 26-hour flight bringing the notion of perpetual flight closer to reality. This revolutionary airplane is much more; it is an adventure that shapes tomorrow through …