Solar Impulse Breaks More Records, Attracts More Eyes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At 79 hours into the flight Flight Director Michi Anger let viewers on Solar Impulse’s web site know that the “U-turns” the airplane performed were to get the maximum amount of solar energy in the plane – “That’s why it looks as if we’re facing the wrong direction.” “André got a good amount of rest during the last 12 hours, but we had some problems finding calm air. André had 300m of resting periods but could only sleep for 170m. The autopilot is designed to function only in calm air so we had to wake André up from the MCC. This is a rude awakening for him so it made it more difficult for him to go back into sleep. “André passed 76h 45min of flight, breaking Steve Fossett’s 2006 record for the …

Solar Impulse Readied for Pacific Test

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

With Andre’ Borschberg recuperating in Switzerland, Bertrand Piccard flew Solar Impulse 2 on the last leg of its China stay, making a 17 hour, 22 minute, 1,344 kilometer (725.7 nautical mile) flight between Chongquing and Nanjing.  The plane is being readied for its biggest leap so far, from Nanjing to Hawaii, a five-day mission that will test the endurance of the pilot and all systems of the giant ultralight aircraft. The Star, a Malaysian newspaper, reported what could be a growing concern.  “’Can we make the pilot sustainable as well?’ Andre Borschberg said by video link from Switzerland, where he is receiving treatment for health problems.”  He described his problems as “shingles,” with frequent migraines, both painful inflictions. “’This will …

The Facebook Air Force Faces Off with Google’s

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

On Monday, while waiting for Bertrand Piccard to land Solar Impulse 2 in Chongqing, China, Andre’ Borschberg tweeted, “Congratulations to Yael Maguire’s team on their first test flight with #Aquila, taking Mark’s vision to a new level.” “Mark” refers to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, and Aquila refers to a 737-size, solar-powered drone that will be capable of months-long flights, bringing Internet access to billions who lack connectivity today. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “At this week’s F8 developers conference, Facebook has highlighted exactly how far the company is looking to expand beyond its social-network roots. “On Thursday, the tech giant announced that it had completed the first test flights for its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, in the United Kingdom.” …

Solar Impulse Wins Over Junior High Students, English Tabloid

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse 2’s 20-hour flight from Mandalay, Myanmar to Chongqing, China included the slowest ground speeds in the massive solar airplane’s history. The Solar Impulse web site reported at 17:35 UTC on “Bertrand Piccard has finally landed Si2 in Chongqing, China, under the applauses of the solar teams and solar impulse fans around the world. The landing has been difficult as the pilot had to manoeuver the aircraft in a rather windy spot after a 20h30 long flight. The team in Monaco is honored to receive the visit of Prince Albert of Monaco at the Mission Control Center. “ Piccard reached 26,500 feet on his traversal of the Himalayas, certainly a cold and hazardous flight in the dark.  Earlier, he enjoyed an …

Solar Impulse in Mandalay for a Productive Week

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

After a 13-hour flight from Varanasi, India, to Mandalay (VYMD) in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg have now had more press conferences than landings, giving a clue as to the real mission of Solar Impulse 2. Flights thus far have been fairly uneventful, which is a plus in any pilot’s logbook.  The two pilots seem to be busier when they touch down, first finding themselves surrounded by media, then attending a series of events in which they talk about their visions for a better, cleaner future.  In Myanmar, that includes sharing the benefits of the high technology of Solar Impulse’s solar collectors with a country that lacks electricity in 70 percent of its …

Solar Impulse – More than Just Record Flights

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Solar Impulse 2, HB-SIB, is parked on the tarmac at Ahmedabad (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, AMD/VAAH), fresh from its record-making flight from Oman.  Crew members pore over its mechanical and electrical components in preparation for its next flight to Varanasi, also in the Republic of India.  In the meantime pilots Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard share the message of their Future Is Clean organization and prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the voyage ahead. Apropos of their stopovers in India, Borschberg and Piccard have practiced Yoga as part of the physical discipline necessary for the grueling long-distance flights to come, and Borschberg is seen in one photo using a modern version of a traditional healing practice called Shirodhara, which …

Solar Impulse on First Leg of Epic Tour

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Solar Impulse 2, under the control of André Borschberg, took off at 7:12 a. m. (03:12 UTC) Abu Dhabi time, on the first leg of its around-the-world voyage.  The roughly 400 kilometers (215 nautical miles) between Abu Dhabi and Muscat, Oman – the airplane’s first stop – takes less than an hour by airliner and around five hours (according to Google Maps) by Maybach or lesser motor vehicle.  It took André nine hours, one minute for this leg, traveling at ultralight speeds.  His landing was tweeted as looking like a UFO descending, LED landing lights ablaze and advancing slowly overhead.  In the control room, Bertrand Piccard and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco followed the flight with advice and …

Solar Impulse 2 – The Bikes Chasing the Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Solar Impulse 2, now preparing for its imminent attempt at an around-the-world voyage, has made three flights in Abu Dhabi, one maintenance test to check operation of the huge craft, and one training flight each for the adventure’s pilots, Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. In almost every video of HB-SIB’s takeoffs and landings, two or three cyclists can be seen chasing the Solar Impulse, causing one curious viewer to ask EV World what kind of bikes they are.  Of course, they are electrically-enhanced, fitting the project, and Swiss, part of Solar Impulse’s national pride. The Stromer bicycle is an advanced machine, with a rear wheel-hub motor, removable battery pack, and connectivity through a smart phone interface.  There is some conflict …

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 …

A Big Plane Swallows a Bigger Airplane, Flies it to Abu Dhabi

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse 2 is a big airplane, with a wingspan greater than that of the Boeing Cargolux carrier that transported it to Abu Dhabi this last weekend.  Seeing the craft slipped into the cargo hold of the whale-like Boeing, then disgorged a few hours later, presents an almost mythical vision of leviathans at work and play. Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, has been named the Host City of Solar Impulse for the first round-the-world solar flight, to be started 50 days from now in March.  Following over a score of test flights in Switzerland, HB-SIB was dismantled and packed aboard the 747 that would carry it to the UAE, where it will be prepared for …