Solar Impulse 2 Makes Premier Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse HB-SIB, the second aircraft from the program headed by Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, took to the skies early this morning piloted by Markus Scherdel.  Taking off from Payerne Airport at 3:38 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) Solar Impulse 2 climbed to a randomly orbiting path within a 20-mile compass of the airfield to the southwest, Lake Neuchatel to the north, and Belleville to the northeast. At about 4:01 GMT, and about 5,300 feet, Scherdel reported a slight vibration and briefly leveled off until determining that it was probably an aerodynamic vibration – not a motor issue, but possibly from a hatch door.  He continued climbing and performed a bank angle test of 5° at varying airspeeds and “a …

Green Speed Cup Day Two – A Clear Winner

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

Robert Adam, one of the organizers of the Green Speed Cup in Germany and pilot of the Flight Design CTLS that ended the competition in seventh place, shared some information on the challenges faced by pilots in this year’s event. “We had 12-15 knots crosswind today (only a little less yesterday) and Tim-Peter (-Voss) managed this demanding taildragger (the SPACEK s.r.o. SD-1 microlight) calmly!”  This very light and short-coupled airplane flies with a variety of two- and four-stroke engines, but Voss’ had a Verner JVC-360 four-stroke unit of 38 horsepower.  It averaged a little over four liters per hour fuel consumption per 100 kilometers (59 mpg) over the practice day and two contest days.  In the Green Flight Challenge, it would …

Green Speed Cup – Year Two Final Results

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Stemme’s Green Speed Cup, a speed and economy run that was to have sped over six days, ended on the fifth, with all five Stemmes still competing, but with a big break between the top three and the bottom five. Stemme’s web site explains the deletion of the sixth event.  “The final race of the 2012 GREEN SPEED CUP was a task of 246 km north of Berlin. Although the weather forecasts looked good this morning, the actual weather didn’t match the expectations. Thus the teams compared their powered flight capabilities as the weather didn’t offer too many possibilities for optimization.” Day five was a cat’s cradle of crossing triangles that added up to 248.2 kilometers (153.88 miles) and was …

Green Speed Cup – Year Two, Days Three and Four

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

As the Stemme Green Speed Cup speeds into day five of a six-day series of challenges, the leaders are all – little surprise here – Stemme aircraft. Markus Scherdel took first place on day three’s task, a 346.1 kilometer (214.58 mile) triangle, with a new low in fuel consumption, 2.5 liters per 100 kilometers (94.08 mpg or 188.16 passenger miles per gallon) at an average speed of 142.2 kilometers per hour (88.16 mph). This is impressive because it comes close to requirements for Green Flight Challenge qualification. None of the five Stemmes competing managed less than 4.5 l./100 km. (52.26 mpg), right in Prius territory at much higher speeds. The Diamond DA40 TDI departed the contest because of other obligations …

Green Speed Cup – Year Two, Day Two

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

The Green Speed Cup is a closed circuit race similar to the Green Flight Challenge, but with a more free-style approach to how each team flies the course. As reported yesterday, the first day’s competition was won by Markus Scherdel, test pilot for Solar Impulse. The second day’s competition was a complete turnaround of day one’s results, with Wolfgang Uhlig taking the crown and Markus sliding to fourth place. Most interesting, the Diamond DA40 TDI, a four-seat Diesel-powered aircraft flown by Daniel Hirth, took second place. A longer event than day one, the task required pilots to fly from Strausberg down the longest leg of a scalene triangle to Klix, a village in Saxony. From there, they turned northwest to …

The Green Speed Cup – Year Two

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

How economically can we fly, even with current technology? In its second year, the Green Speed Cup is an attempt to answer that question, provide some sporting competition and allow scientific research into the manner in which the greenest aircraft operate. Organizer Stemme’s newsletter explains the GSC, “Is a competition for any kind of two-seated aircraft. The target of the GSC is to fly as fast as possible while minimizing the consumption of fossil fuel energy. It is a direct comparison of technologies, machines, materials and the capabilities of the pilots. “The competition should help to find new ways and practical solutions for saving energy during powered flights. The aircraft that flies with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance …

Solar Impulse Shines in a Grand Finale

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Nature’s vagaries threatened Solar Impulse’s planned flight all week at the 2011 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Field, but the clouds parted company, the sun shone brilliantly, and the giant airplane delighted the huge crowd with its extremely slow pass down the main runway. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, co-founders of the project, had accomplished what they set out to do – make believers in a clean, bright future of emissions-free flight. According to the project’s web site, “Gilles Fournier, President of Le Bourget airshow, declared afterwards: ‘This flight was the highlight of the air show. 30’000 people saw it this morning, and there was a very strong emotion amongst the crowd. This very intense moment reminded me of …

Solar Impulse Preparing for Paris Air Show

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

To prepare Solar Impulse and its pilots for the upcoming airshow season, André Borschberg and other members of the flight team completed a series of tests to enable precise flying, particularly around the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. “We are preparing for these trips beforehand because they are very complex operations, from both a logistical point of view and purely in terms of flying”, Borschberg explained following his three-hour flight on April 18. Solar Impulse will be the “special guest” at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget from June 20 through 26. This last week’s tests were designed, according to acting flight test director Ralph Paul, with “two objectives…: to adopt the Bourget configuration and increase the flight …

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 …

An Hour and 27 Minutes in the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The press release and pictures tell a beautiful story.  The CAFE Foundation offers its congratulations to the Solar Impulse team. This morning (April 7, 2010) at 10:27, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA took off from Payerne (VD) airfield on its maiden flight. Under the eyes of thousands of spectators from all over Switzerland, Solar Impulse HB-SIA slowly climbed up to 1200 meters. The next 87 minutes Solar Impulse test pilot Markus Scherdel spent familiarizing himself with the prototype’s flight behaviour and performing the initial flight exercises before making the first landing on the Vaudois tarmac. The execution of these various manoeuvres (turns, simulating the approach phase) was designed to get a feel for the aircraft and verify its controllability. “This first flight was …