Solar Impulse on First Leg of Epic Tour

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse 2, under the control of André Borschberg, took off at 7:12 a. m. (03:12 UTC) Abu Dhabi time, on the first leg of its around-the-world voyage.  The roughly 400 kilometers (215 nautical miles) between Abu Dhabi and Muscat, Oman – the airplane’s first stop – takes less than an hour by airliner and around five hours (according to Google Maps) by Maybach or lesser motor vehicle.  It took André nine hours, one minute for this leg, traveling at ultralight speeds.  His landing was tweeted as looking like a UFO descending, LED landing lights ablaze and advancing slowly overhead.  In the control room, Bertrand Piccard and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco followed the flight with advice and …

Solar Impulse 2 – The Bikes Chasing the Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Solar Impulse 2, now preparing for its imminent attempt at an around-the-world voyage, has made three flights in Abu Dhabi, one maintenance test to check operation of the huge craft, and one training flight each for the adventure’s pilots, Andre’ Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. In almost every video of HB-SIB’s takeoffs and landings, two or three cyclists can be seen chasing the Solar Impulse, causing one curious viewer to ask EV World what kind of bikes they are.  Of course, they are electrically-enhanced, fitting the project, and Swiss, part of Solar Impulse’s national pride. The Stromer bicycle is an advanced machine, with a rear wheel-hub motor, removable battery pack, and connectivity through a smart phone interface.  There is some conflict …

Solar Impulse 2 in Readiness for Around-the-World Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Reassembled and ready, Solar Impulse 2 stands ready to leave Abu Dhabi on an historic around-the-world flight within the next month, according to the project’s latest announcements.  When HB-SIB leaves Abu Dhabi, it will cross two oceans and four continents before returning to its departure point.  The trip will include landings in 12 locations and a total distance of 35,000 kilometers (21,700 miles) – all without using a drop of fuel. Its route and schedule will be affected by weather, and since the airplane will fly at only 27 miles per hour at night to conserve battery energy, by prevailing winds.  Normal flight speeds will range from 50 to 100 kilometers per hour (31 to 62 mph). The press release …

Solar Impulse Wrapping Up Flight Tests before Heading to Abu Dhabi

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solar Impulse 2, HB-SIB, flying now for several months, is being readied for a trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and host city for Solar Impulse’s around-the-world flight.  From there, early in 2015, it will embark on its around-the-world flight, alternately flown by Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg. The program continues the drive and immense logistical planning evidenced by Solar Impulse 1’s across-America flight last year.  “What better way to demonstrate the importance of the pioneering, innovatory spirit than by achieving ‘impossible’ things with renewable energy and highlighting new solutions for environmental problems?” This attitude will be necessary to overcome the challenges of five-day, cross-ocean flights each pilot will face, and to meet the meteorological …

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 …

Solar Impulse 2 Ready to Take on the World

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Even while the first Solar Impulse was scaling the Alps, traversing the Moroccan desert, and crossing America, skilled craftsmen and women were designing and building Solar Impulse 2, a larger, heavier solar-powered airplane rolled out this week.  Its next challenge, that of flying around the world, will test the limits of even this seasoned team. As shown on the first Solar Impulse’s flights, “Flying the Solar Impulse aircraft is quite different from being at the commands of any other airplane. Flight tactics, piloting skills, aerodynamics had to be re-learned from scratch.”  Part of the difference comes from the aircraft’s huge size and light weight.  Solar Impulse shares this:  “Here’s a fun fact for you to understand how special this aircraft is: …