Eric Raymond: Skyping from the Sky

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond and his wife Irena fly their Sunseeker Duo from the Aeroporto Voghera Rivanazzano near their home in Voghera, Italy.  The Provincia di Pavia provides wonderful architectural and scenic backdrops for their flights, something captured briefly in a video they filmed last year for Skype and Microsoft.  To Eric’s surprise, the commercial was finally released this month. The Raymonds and their collaborators are part of a larger advertising campaign for Skype and Microsoft, with their high-tech offerings complementing the wireless communications tools and the ad’s graphics. Eric and Irena, John Lynch, and Jason Rohr perform well for the cameras, but Eric had an extra challenge in the aerial filming.  “I was flying in formation with a Phantom drone!” Microsoft …

Second Sunseeker Duo Calendar Here

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond, designer and builder of three solar-powered aircraft, along with his wife Irena, take some pretty astonishing pictures.  They work from a unique aerial platform, the Sunseeker Duo they completed and now fly together.  Their travels and adventures are large-screen worthy, and they share them with their 2016 Calendar.  Eric explains. Dear Solar Flight and glider fans, We had the most amazing year ever flying the SUNSEEKER DUO here in Europe and we would love to share the vistas with you! Just now we are finishing our photo calendar in time for Christmas, and offering it for anyone’s gift to a pilot or themselves. Since our flight in the SUNSEEKER DUO to the Swiss Alps was very successful and …

Sunseeker Duo, Dynamic Duo Do the Alps

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Irena Raymond shared the following about her and huband Eric’s flight across the Alps from northern Italy to Switzerland and return – a four-day tour of the mountainous country, and validation of the Sunseeker Duo’s performance. The latest of a series of accomplishments, the trip’s mission was to “stop and show the airplane at different airports,” according to Irena. Remember that Eric crossed the United States on solar power in Sunseeker I in 1990, 23 years before Solar Impulse managed the feat. Eric crossed the Alps on his way from Friedrichshafen, Germany to the World Air Games in 2009, guiding Sunseeker II over sometimes cloud-shadowed peaks. Now he and Irena have made a two-person Alps crossing and tour of the …

A Cheerfully Acknowledged Chastisement

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

If one writes things, occasional slip-ups creep in.  In this case, an unchallenged assertion of who is “first” drew this kind email from Klaus Savier, builder, tuner and pilot of a very slippery Long-Eze.  He’s flown from California to Florida and back on good old fossil fuels (with one fuel stop each way) in his highly modified Long-Eze and achieved 30 miles per gallon at 250 miles per hour true airspeed.  It would be interesting to see how little fuel the airplane would consume at Green Flight Challenge airspeeds.  His demonstrated 0.36 pounds of fuel per horsepower-hour is claimed by Klaus to be 40-percent lower than the commonly seen 0.60 pounds per horsepower-hour that engines without his Light Speed Engineering …

It’s (Green Aviation) Giving Tuesday, 2014

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

If you’ve managed to survive Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and a weekend of NFL games stuffed with blandishments to entice you to the nearest mall (Thanksgiving happened in there somewhere), you’re forgiven if you flinch at yet one more presumptuous tug at your purse strings.  But we’re talking about helping pioneers on the edge of green technology, crafting the stuff dreams are made of – and making those dreams a reality.  On this Giving Thursday, think about contributing to the dream makers who are taking us into a better future of flight.   We share a few suggestions here. Solar Flight Eric and Irena Raymond are the first family of solar-powered flight, now cruising Italian skies in the world’s first two-seat …

Irena Raymond on Flying the Sunseeker Duo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A few days after posting the entry on the Raymond’s first cross country flight in their new solar-powered Sunseeker Duo, your editor received followups from Irena and Eric.  First, Irena shares her impressions of what sounds like a beautiful flight. “Our XC flight with Duo was a great experience. “First of all, because I don’t like too many surprises, I tried to prepare myself as best as possible for this expedition. I was studying the aeronautical chart to get more familiar with the Italian airspace and possible restrictions, looking also at the terrain and possible out landings (just in case. of course). “And then the day of our flight was coming, bringing us a clear, sunny morning. At the noon …

The Raymonds Make the First Two-Passenger Solar-Powered Cross Country Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond shared this story of a short cross-country flight between his home field of Voghera, Italy and the town of Pavullo, about 100 air miles away.  It’s significant in being the first cross-country solar-powered flight for two, Eric’s wife Irena sharing flying duties.  The “normal” nature of the trip and the practicality of the airplane show that Eric is expanding his pioneering efforts from his initial flight across the United States in 1990 and his trip across the Alps in 2009 – all on solar power.   He’s received precious little attention in the press for these sublime journeys, a situation we hope to redeem here. “Irena and I just returned from an overnight trip in our new plane, our …

Sunseeker Duo Goes Dual

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Irena Raymond became the first passenger of a solar-powered airplane recently, even taking over control of the Sunseeker Duo she and husband Eric built over the last several years.  Her thoughts provoke awe and envy. “Flying the Duo, skimming the white fluffy clouds from above and playing on the sky, I feel like a bird. No limitations, a pure freedom. It’s so quiet! Compared to a normal airplane, it’s like night and day. You need a very good headset in every other powered airplane, but in this airplane you can speak normally even when the motor is running full power, no headset needed. It is unbelievable.” Eric provides some hard data to complement Irena’s understandably poetic words.  “I am expanding the …

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 …