Solar Impulse Inspires in Brussels, Heads to Paris

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On June 14, 2011, Andre’ Borschberg guided the giant Solar Impulse from Brussels, Belgium, where the craft had spent the last week as the centerpiece of discussions on green energy and the future of transportation in the European Community, to Le Bourget Field just outside Paris.  Nearing its destination, its daylong flight sometimes resembled the mathematical problem called, “the drunkard’s walk,” as Borschberg was vectored around the aerial neighborhoods surrounding Paris to make certain the lightly loaded craft did not run afoul of  jetliners’ wakes and could find a slot where the runway did not present residual turbulence.  During the preceding week, VIPs from the European Community gathered aound the airplane in Brussels to discuss the importance of this airplane and …

Solar Impulse Rollout and All Motors Running

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

November 6, 2009, Solar Impulse left its hangar and Markus Scherdel, the project’s test pilot, ran all four motors on the giant craft.  This marks the beginning of ground testing for HB-SIA.  “With its engines running at full power, it gave the impression of wanting to get off the ground straightaway …but it won’t be long now before we release the brakes and let it roll its first few meters,” said André Borschberg, co- founder of Solar Impulse.  The four motors achieved full power at 400 rpm. Bertrand Picard, the originator of the project, was equally enthusiastic. “For the whole team, the impression of seeing it completely assembled, majestically reigning over the Dübendorf tarmac was very intense!  We just can’t …

Solar Impulse to Begin Ground Testing

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

The Solar Impulse team is ready to begin ground testing of the Airbus-size solar airplane at Dubendorf Airfield, near Zurich, Switzerland.  On October 19, the project’s engineering team handed the craft over to the flight test crew, headed by Swiss Astronaut Claude Nicollier.  First flights will be under the control of Markus Scherdel, a professional test pilot and aerodynamics engineer. Testing is scheduled, subject to weather, between November 2 and December 20, 2009. According to the project’s press release, testing will take place in three steps, beginning with a first exit from the hangar, with on-ground testing of all four (10 hp) electric motors and a thorough check of all aircraft systems. Step two will involve high-speed taxi runs, “testing …