Solar Impulse on 60 Minutes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Alexandra Gindroz, Media Relations Manager for Solar Impulse, shared this late-breaking development today. “60 MINUTES recently visited Solar Impulse, the first manned solar airplane able to fly day and night without fuel. Learn about this groundbreaking project widely recognized as a 21st century adventure with a real utility in promoting technological innovation on CBS 60 MINUTES Sunday December 2nd at 7 P.M ET.”   Even more exciting to alternative energy aviation followers, Solar Impulse plans on flying its airplane across the United States early next year.  “In the summer of 2010, Solar Impulse successfully conducted the first ever historical 26-hour flight bringing the notion of perpetual flight closer to reality. This revolutionary airplane is much more; it is an adventure that shapes tomorrow through …

Solar Impulse HB-SIA Returns Home, HB-SIB Under Construction

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse crossed from Toulouse, France to Payerne, Switzerland on July 25, completing an epic intercontinental voyage for the giant solar-powered craft. Its itinerary consisted of a flight from the Solar Impulse home base in Payerne, Switzerland to Madrid, Spain, followed by a jump across the Strait of Gibraltar, for the first time linking Europe and Africa by solar flight. Because of its light wing loading, the airplane is subject to the vagaries of wind and turbulence as the ultralight aircraft it truly is, and was forced to turn back after battling the elements for half a day on its attempt to fly from Rabat, Morocco to Quarzazate, the site of the Moroccan solar agency’s huge desert solar generating site.  A …

Conquering the Desert on Solar Power

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

André Borschberg dodged thunderstorms, overflew the Atlas Mountains, and made his way from Quarzazate to Rabat, Morocco, reversing the course he took last week to the interior of this desert country. While there, he had a week of celebrations and ceremonial gatherings in honor of what will be the world’s largest solar-thermal power plant.  The presence of Solar Impulse, the gigantic, sun-borne aircraft undoubtedly served as a reminder of what such technology can accomplish. Taking off at 7:33 a. m. local time from Quarzazate, Borschberg held course toward Marrakesh on the coast.  Afternoon brought thunderstorms, heavy winds, and thermals.  To avoid a landing in such conditions, the pilot flew a holding pattern between Marrakesh and Rabat and waited for sunset.  …

Dropping Into Madrid

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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. …

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 Overnighter: 26 Hours Nine Minutes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Andre’ Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the Solar Impulse project, landed this morning at 9:00 a.m. (local tme) in Payerne, Switzerland, having completed the first-ever night flight on battery energy stored during the previous day through the craft’s solar cells.  Taking off at 6:51 a.m. July 7, Borschberg flew the 64-meter span, four-motor airplane in large patterns around the area, gaining altitude to a height of 8,564 meters (27,404 feet) above sea level and charging the batteries – all while running the motors at climb power. As night fell, he glided to preserve the stored power, ran the motors as needed to maintain altitude, and landed with a small reserve.  This successful demonstration of being able to run the motors on …

Solar Impulse Collecting Rays for Night Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Its telemetry problems resolved, Solar Impulse HB-SIA took off at 6:51 a.m., Payerne, Switzerland time, July 7, for a day of collecting sunlight in its huge array of solar cells.  If Andre’ Borschberg, CEO and cofounder of the project, decides that enough electricity has coursed through the giant craft’s wings to charge the batteries sufficiently, he will attempt to keep flying through the night. The Solar Impulse Project notes the following in today’s press release.  “The whole day long, up to about 19:30 (7:30 p.m., Payerne time), the prototype will be slowly ascending to an altitude of 8,500 metres, while at the same time charging its batteries in preparation for the night flight. When the sun’s rays stop being strong …

Solar Impulse Soars on Sunlight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Andre Borschberg, CEO of the Solar Impulse Project, had this to say after he landed following the seventh flight of the Airbus-sized solar craft – but the first using its solar panels for power. “It was like a first encounter with the sun. After I had turned on the solar panel I could see the energy reserves increasing although the engines were continuously consuming power. Never before in my 40 years as a pilot have I experienced anything like this.” Martin Reichlin reported on the excitement of going solar on May 28’s second flight.  “A few minutes ago we could follow by radio how André switched on the four sectors of the round about 200 square meters of solar panels …

Largest-Battery Powered Airplane Takes Flight

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Two weeks ahead of the 106th anniversary of controlled powered flight by the Wright Brothers, the Solar Impulse, HB-SIA broke its earthly bounds and flew 350 meters (about a quarter mile) at a height of about one meter.  Because the airplane does not yet have its solar panels mounted, the flight was made on battery power. Graphic © Solar Impulse/EPFL Claudio Leonardi The project’s press release leaves no doubt as to the importance, and the thrill, of the flight. “The results of the ground tests conducted these last few weeks to verify numerous parameters (the prototype’s controllability, acceleration, braking paths and, engine power) had been overwhelming positive, thereby leading the team to give the go-ahead to Markus Scherdel, the test pilot, to take the …