Aurora’s Odysseus – Large Enough for Its Mythic Name

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Named for a mythical hero like its evolutionary predecessors, Aurora Flight Science’s Odysseus is a huge, but ephemeral thing. A wingspan larger than the largest 747’s and a weight no greater than a Smart Car’s (around 1,500 pounds) means this airplane will be slow and frail.  A carbon fiber tube structure covered by lightweight Tedlar™ resembles the construction of Solar Impulse, but without the bulk of carrying a pilot. Since its antecedent was the world record holding distance champion in human-powered aircraft, the manner of flight is no surprise.  Its intended altitude is.  Odysseus takes it to the stratosphere. It’s the latest revelation in a thirty-year exploration of low-powered, extreme-endurance aircraft.  Before he founded Aurora, John Langford led a group of …

The Icarus Cup – As Green As It Gets

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Dreams of human-powered flight go back at least to the myth of Daedelus and Icarus attempting to flee their Cretan prison by fashioning wings from feathers and wax.  Your editor doesn’t know why we continue to name festivals of flight for Icarus, since he was the young, foolish soul who flew too close to the sun and melted his wings.  His older, wiser father heeded his own advice and made the trip safely because he was not so bold.  Maybe we use Icarus’ name out of respect for his sacrifice. In the spirit of the two mythical aviators and Leonardo daVinci, Italian designer Enea Bossi and builder Vittorio Bonomi oversaw several bungee-launched flights in 1936 with their spruce, balsa wood …