Boeing Adds Solar Winglets to Its Solar High-Flyer

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Despite having a wing, horizontal tail, and fuselage top full of solar cells, Solar Impulse 2 needs long days and short nights to make it through the dark periods between recharging.  Even Eric and Irena Raymond’s SunSeeker Duo, a more practical machine, performs only day-long flights so far. Part of this is the nature of sunlight and solar cells, both of which are limited in small areas.  Despite the fact that every hour, each square meter of the upper atmosphere receives 1.367kWh of solar energy, and National Geographic claims that “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year,” it’s hard to harness that energy on a relatively small …

Elektra One Solar or Luminati VO-Substrata?

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor saw a news item from Sun ‘n Fun about a new solar-powered airplane and recognized the design as one from Calin Gologan’s PC-Aero, an aircraft design and consulting firm in Germany. General Aviation News credited the airplane’s design and construction to Luminati Aerospace in New York state.   The story did not mention Gologan’s involvement, though, a possible oversight.  An alert reader commented on the similarity of the airplane to the Elektra One Solar. A few months later, your editor saw an Associated Press story from Calverton, New York, which explained, “Pilot Robert Lutz flew the VO-Substrata aircraft for about 20 minutes in the first test flight opened to the public. The white aircraft features wing-mounted solar cells and has a wingspan …

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.” …