Dropping Into Madrid

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Solar Impulse HB-SIA, flown by project CEO Andre Borschberg, crossed the border into Spain after flying over mountainous terrain for over 17 hours on the first leg of its Payerne, Madrid, Rabat trip.  During the flight, the prototype crossed from Switzerland into France at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) The project’s blog explains, “The Solar Impulse airplane took-off this morning at 08h24AM (UTC+2) from Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland following the previously scheduled flight plan over the Pyrenees. The aircraft flew over the Massif Central towards the city of Toulouse (France), flying over the Pyrenees mountain range at an altitude of 7’833 meters (25,699 feet) and finally arriving in Spain, landing on Runway 33L.”  The airplane managed the 1,191 …

The High Road to Morocco

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Solar Impulse project announced the takeoff of HB-SIA from its Swiss home field at Payerne  with André Borschberg at the controls this morning.  The 08:24AM (UTC +2) departure will lead to a full day’s flight, with Solar Impulse landing at Madrid Barajas Airport around 01:00AM (UTC+2) for a minimum 3-day technical stopover. Weather permitting, the first possible departure for Rabat, with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, will be Monday 28 May.  This will be his first major outing in the airplane, and a significant one, since he will cross the Mediterranean to Morocco, the first intercontinental flight by a solar-powered aircraft. The video from Mountain Radio included interviews with both Borschberg and Piccard, whose tastes in music are explored. …

Solar Impulse Shines in a Grand Finale

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Nature’s vagaries threatened Solar Impulse’s planned flight all week at the 2011 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Field, but the clouds parted company, the sun shone brilliantly, and the giant airplane delighted the huge crowd with its extremely slow pass down the main runway. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, co-founders of the project, had accomplished what they set out to do – make believers in a clean, bright future of emissions-free flight. According to the project’s web site, “Gilles Fournier, President of Le Bourget airshow, declared afterwards: ‘This flight was the highlight of the air show. 30’000 people saw it this morning, and there was a very strong emotion amongst the crowd. This very intense moment reminded me of …

Solar Impulse Flies Over Four Countries on First International Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Supporters of the Solar Impulse gathered to celebrate the giant solar-powered airplane’s landing in Brussels, Belgium today after the craft had crossed Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium in its 630 kilometer (340 nautical mile), 12 hour, 59 minute flight. André Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the project, flew the mission, starting 8:30 a.m. Payerne, Switzerland time and took the leisurely flight over some of the most scenic landscapes in Europe, with an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour (27 mph – one mile per hour under the stall speed of US ultralights).  He had time to enjoy the view from his average cruising altitude of 1,828 meters (6,000 feet).  Borschberg explained, “It’s a spectacular flight. The takeoff was a …

European Flights for Solar Impulse

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Solar Impulse, the first solar airplane to fly overnight (26 hours – minutes), will voyage from its native Switzerland to Lausanne and Brussels, Belgium – its first European destination – on  28 April 2011.  The airplane will be displayed in the European capital from 23 to 29 May 2011 and will then attempt to fly on to Paris-Le Bourget, where it is eagerly awaited as the “Special Guest” of the 49th International Paris Air Show from 20 to 26 June 2011.HB-SIA’s press release continues, “In 2008, even before the solar airplane existed, the European Commission had publicly sponsored Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg’s project. Three years later, by accomplishing the first flight through a whole day and night, lasting over 26 hours, without using fuel, …

Solar Impulse Preparing for Paris Air Show

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To prepare Solar Impulse and its pilots for the upcoming airshow season, André Borschberg and other members of the flight team completed a series of tests to enable precise flying, particularly around the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. “We are preparing for these trips beforehand because they are very complex operations, from both a logistical point of view and purely in terms of flying”, Borschberg explained following his three-hour flight on April 18. Solar Impulse will be the “special guest” at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget from June 20 through 26. This last week’s tests were designed, according to acting flight test director Ralph Paul, with “two objectives…: to adopt the Bourget configuration and increase the flight …

A Trio of Winners at Friedrichshafen

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Erik Lindbergh, as part of his Lindbergh Foundation, has instituted a suite of prizes to recognize and , “Accelerate development of practical electric flight, and stimulate meaningful advances in the emerging electric aircraft industry.”    Having presented four prizes at last year’s Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture, Lindbergh followed up at Aero-Friedrichshafen 2011 as part of the Berblinger Competition – which drew 24 entrants and eight aircraft that actually completed the Friedrichshafen-Ulm-Friedrichshafen out-and-return course.  With sponsors including Sergei Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky, a competitor for the original Orteig Prize that prompted Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 New York to Paris flight; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who backs LEAP; and Messe-Friedrichshafen, hosts to the Aero 2011 and to the First …

Lindy Hop to Lindbergh LEAP

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Sun n’ Fun, following a disastrous sweep by an F1 tornado through the flight line on Thursday, March 31, came back strong the following day, with F-22 demonstration flights, the Blue Angels, and a full contingent of top-drawer aerobatic pilots. The Green Aviation exhibits your editor had hoped to visit were partly gone, tents and exhibits having been dismantled and carted away in the remarkable overnight cleanup effort that took place, but the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)/Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) Stemme S-10 gleams undamaged in the sun.  Lisa Costello, a graduate student in aeronautical engineering, explains some highlights of what the students are crafting.  Entered in the upcoming Green Flight Challenge, the S-10 was to use a combination of …

Solar Impulse – Swiss Pride

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Andre’ Borschberg, CEO of the Solar Impulse project, has been flying the giant airplane over many scenic and civic sites in Switzerland, crossing from its home field at Payerne to Geneva International Airport on September 21, and then returning the same day to Payerne.  The next day, Borschberg cruised to Zurich International Airport and returned to the plane’s home base.  As quoted in the project’s press release, Borschberg was happy about the chance to view Switzerland from his rare and lofty perch.  “’These flights are just amazing! Thanks to the plane’s low speed, I was able to discover Switzerland from a completely new angle, fully taking in the beauty of our country!’ said André Borschberg, CEO and Co-founder of Solar …

Solar Impulse Night Flight Postponed

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The Solar Impulse project sent out the following press release this morning: “Dear Solar Impulse Friends, “This morning at 06h45, the Solar Impulse Mission Team had to take the difficult decision to postpone the first night flight attempt. “The problem comes from the telemetry transmitter that has broken down. This system enables the ground team to follow in real time the flight mission and to monitor thousands of crucial parameters. With a prototype such as Solar Impulse currently in an experimental phase, this system is an essential component without which, the mission was not possible. “Due to this inoperative piece of equipment produced specifically for this prototype, we were unfortunately unable to replace it and subsequently had to postpone this …