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 …

Solar Flight SUNSTAR – a New High-Flyer

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Eric Raymond has been designing and building solar-powered aircraft for 28 years, and flew Sunseeker 1 across the United State in 1990, Sunseeker 2 over the Alps in 2009, and has started touring Italy in the world’s first two-seat sun-powered aircraft, the Duo.  After three such outstanding efforts, what direction will his new design take? He took away any mystery on that today by unveiling his fourth aircraft, an optionally manned, high altitude platform, SUNSTAR.  Eric claims, “more performance potential than any of the other projects now under development. “Compared to other solar UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) being developed, the Sunstar promises higher flight speeds in a turbulence-tolerant design, for operation in real world conditions.” “Sunstar takes advantage of sailplane …

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 …

Sunseeker Duo Makes Maiden Test Glide

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley shared this video a few hours ago. Eric and Irena Raymond have been crafting their Sunseeker Duo for the last five years, and finally have an airworthy craft, as shown in the video during its maiden flight near Voghera, Italy – new home to the Raymonds. Finishing construction of the world’s first two-seat solar-powered airplane in time for Friedrichshafen’s Aero Expo in April, the pair were honored with pride of place at the international showcase.  “This week we brought the Sunseeker Duo to AERO Friedrichshafen for its public unveiling. The airplane is fresh out of the paint shop, and since it is too large to fully assemble in the Slovenian workshop, it is also the first time that …

Your Chance to Help Kickstart an Historic Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kickstarter, an online crowd funding platform, helped John McGinnis work toward the completion of his ambitious and aerodynamically advanced Synergy.  Another innovator and pioneer in solar-powered aviation has enlisted the aid of Kickstarter for a superb project and a great adventure. Eric Raymond flew across the United States in 21 solar-charged hops in 1990, making a trek from San Diego, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, navigating and soaring with his Sunseeker. Nearly two decades later, he took Sunseeker II from Germany to Italy, conquering the Alps and fulfilling a life-long dream to top the Matterhorn. Since then, he’s also flown the University of Stuttgart’s e-Genius to second place in the Green Flight Challenge last September, co-piloting with Klaus Ohlmann, another …