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

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

Dropping Into Madrid

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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. …