Solar Impulse is Here

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solarimpulse.com reports, “The Boeing 747 landed at Moffett Airfield in San Francisco at 1:13 PM (UTC-8) on Thursday 21 February.  HB-SIA was immediately unloaded and, in the coming days reassembly will begin.” Almost immediately, crews will assemble and test fly the already intercontinental solar-powered aircraft in preparation for a flight from the Bay Area to the East Coast.  Having conquered the gap between Europe and Africa on its trip to Rabat, Morocco and on to Quarzazate, HB-SIA braved turbulence and gusting that caused it to turn back on its initial foray into the desert.  Its final arrival at a gigantic solar energy plant in Morocco’s interior was a symbol of what clean energy can accomplish and a tribute to Solar …

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.  …

Solar Impulse Lands in Desert at Night

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

But that’s a good thing, because it was on a nice runway with landing lights to help guide it down.  On June 22, at 25 minutes after midnight, local time, André Borschberg touched down at Quarzazate, the site of Morocco’s huge new solar generating plant.  Its second attempt at reaching this destination, Solar Impulse was flown through mid-day turbulence and shifting winds, but did not turn back as it had on the first attempt the week before. The project’s press release provides an outline of the flight.  “The Solar Impulse airplane took-off this morning at 07:05 (UTC+1) from Rabat-Salé. After flying in the direction of Casablanca, the HB-SIA made its way inland towards Marrakesh, avoiding the Atlas Mountains, and flying …

Solar Impulse Turns Back

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

June 13 was not a good flying day for Solar Impulse.  Hoping to finish this epic journey between continents, Andre Borschberg ran into stiff winds and severe turbulence.  Although in the air for 16 hours and 6 minutes while covering 780 kilometers (484 miles), the flight did not make it to its destination of the solar plant at Quarzazate, but returned to Rabat after battling winds and extreme turbulence.  Since the airplane cruises at around 30-35 miles per hour, its average ground speed for the flight of 55 kilometers per hour (34.1 mph) seemed normal enough, but didn’t show the wild swings in groundspeed experienced by Borschberg, a strong contrast to the uneventful leg between Madrid and Morocco. At one …

On From Rabat – Solar Impulse Explores Morocco

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Solar Impulse took off from Rabat-Sale’ Airport this morning 08:07 a. m. local time, heading over Casablanca and Marrakesh on its way south to Quarzazate, where it is expected to land at 00:30 a. m. local time.   Considering early ground speeds under 15 kilometers per hour (about 9 miles per hour), headwinds are a major constraint.  Turbulence may also cause difficulties, the area having an average daily temperature in the high 90s and low 100s Fahrenheit. Quarzazate is a high desert city whose name in Arabic means “noiselessly,” probably reflecting the vast stillness of the surround desert.  Home to Atlas film studios, one of the largest in world, and setting, along with the desert and Atlas Mountains, for films such …