Sunseeker Duo Makes Test Flights from December 17 to Earth Day

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Eric Raymond announced today that his Sunseeker Duo, the world’s first solar-powered two-seat aircraft, has been making test flights since last December 17, the 111th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. The Duo was built by Eric and his wife Irena, and is Eric’s third solar-powered airplane.  His first, Sunseeker I, flew across the United States in 1990, making 21 hops from San Diego, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Sunseeker II flew from Friedrichshafen, Germany across the Alps to Italy, then toured around Europe. In Eric’s announcement today, he claims that, “The Duo is the most advanced solar powered airplane in the world and the first that might be suited to production. It is also the first solar …

Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

Solar Impulse Makes It to New York Early

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe that the Solar Impulse has been on its Cross America tour since May 3, but its early touchdown at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport late Saturday night was cause for elation on at least two counts. First, as the Solar Impulse team points out, “For the first time a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the West to the East Coasts without using a single drop of fuel.”  As we love to point out, though, it’s not the first time a solar-powered airplane has made the trip.  Eric Raymond did it in 21 hops in 1990 in Sunseeker 1, using the technology …

Sunseeker Duo Makes Maiden Test Glide

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley shared this video a few hours ago. Eric and Irena Raymond have been crafting their Sunseeker Duo for the last five years, and finally have an airworthy craft, as shown in the video during its maiden flight near Voghera, Italy – new home to the Raymonds. Finishing construction of the world’s first two-seat solar-powered airplane in time for Friedrichshafen’s Aero Expo in April, the pair were honored with pride of place at the international showcase.  “This week we brought the Sunseeker Duo to AERO Friedrichshafen for its public unveiling. The airplane is fresh out of the paint shop, and since it is too large to fully assemble in the Slovenian workshop, it is also the first time that …

Solar Flight on a Winter Wave

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond sent the following today. “Had a nice SUNSEEKER flight today, 3 hours, and as usual I could have stayed up into the dark, even in January!  This time there was wave lift, but very weak, despite 30 knot winds at 6700 meters (21,500 feet). “In the pictures you can see the inversion clearly, and the Adriatic covered in a blanket of clouds. “My batteries are very old and cold, but I still got high enough to connect with the wave, which went on forever. “Taxing was tricky because of big lumps of snow, so I landed downwind, as the taxiway is not cleared. Both his Solar Flight website News and Blog show more, including the construction of the Sunseeker …

Fifth Anniversary for Electravia Ultralight’s First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Anne Lavrand, founder and head of Electravia, has over 35 different electric aircraft to her credit, having powered everything from paramotors to a world speed record-holding Cri-Cri  and a speed and altitude record-claiming MC-30. The story officially began five years ago today, though, with a 48-minute flight by an ultralight Souricette, a Michael Barry design with an Electravia-prepared Lynch brushed motor, golf-cart type controller and lithium polymer batteries . In an article from The Times of London, it was given credit as the, “First flight in a conventional light aircraft powered by an electric motor,” and as such a model of frugality.  Barry’s airplane, motor, and batteries might set an owner/builder back 10,000 to 15,000 euros ($13,000 to $19,500) and …

Your Chance to Help Kickstart an Historic Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kickstarter, an online crowd funding platform, helped John McGinnis work toward the completion of his ambitious and aerodynamically advanced Synergy.  Another innovator and pioneer in solar-powered aviation has enlisted the aid of Kickstarter for a superb project and a great adventure. Eric Raymond flew across the United States in 21 solar-charged hops in 1990, making a trek from San Diego, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, navigating and soaring with his Sunseeker. Nearly two decades later, he took Sunseeker II from Germany to Italy, conquering the Alps and fulfilling a life-long dream to top the Matterhorn. Since then, he’s also flown the University of Stuttgart’s e-Genius to second place in the Green Flight Challenge last September, co-piloting with Klaus Ohlmann, another …

Green Flight Challenge Winners

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Monday, October 3 was the second day of Nobel Prize announcements, but also marked the Green Flight Challenge Expo, sponsored by Google and staged under the control tower on Moffett Field, home of NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California. The four airplanes that flew in the Challenge at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma Country Airport in Santa Rosa, California were joined by Greg Stevenson’s full-size mockup of his GFC design and a Pipistrel Virus that had won an earlier NASA/CAFE Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge.  Stevenson’s airplane was a reminder that there were numerous entrants that, for a variety of reasons, could not attend.  There is a huge number of aircraft in the wings, so to speak, that will fill these …

Ingenious e-Genius

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At the third annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in San Carlos, California in 2009, designers from Germany and Slovenia showed their plan for a hydrogen-powered aircraft called Hydrogenius.  Today, a newly constructed, battery-powered “e-Genius” (developed along parallel lines with Hydrogenius) will be Eric Raymond’s mount for the July 10-17 Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California.  Eric writes that “e-Genius is now flying, and has reached the required 100 mph.” Hydrogenius’s original layout, replaced for the Green Flight Challenge with a simpler lithium-polymer battery-only system.  1 – Hydrogen tank 2 – Radiator 3 – Stack Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 4 – System Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 5 – Power Distribution Unit 6 – LiPoly Battery to start the fuel cell system 7 – …

Berblinger Flight Competition Winners for 2011

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The town of Ulm, Germany holds an annual Berblinger Prize competition to honor the memory of the Little Tailor of Ulm, Albrecht Berblinger, who attempted to fly an early hang glider across the Danube in 1811.  This 200th anniversary year has been marked by special celebrations, including an ambitious aerial challenge for “green” aircraft. 36 applicants were pared to 24 participants in the actual flight competition, and on April 15, a mere 13 started on the flight between Friedrichshafen and Ulm and return.   Eight were able to complete the exercise, according to contest officials.  The rest were unable to compete or finish, “due to insufficient financial backing, technical difficulties or the absence of the appropriate flying licenses the remaining competitors …