72 Hours of Flight, Exercise, Rest, and Hypnosis

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The first Solar Impulse airplane, HB-SIA, has demonstrated repeatedly that it can stay up all day and all night.  The idea of perpetual flight has enticed designers for years, but the idea of a perpetual pilot has not – until the space age.  Charles Lindbergh had a restless night before his May 20, 1927 takeoff for Europe and spent much of the 33-1/2 hour flight battling his nearly overwhelming need for sleep.  A solar-powered flight will be considerably slower, and thus longer in duration, than Lindbergh’s epic voyage, however. With planned flights for HB-SIB, the second Solar Impulse craft, anticipated to span continents and oceans, the need for maintaining pilot health and alertness becomes imperative. As the team explains, “Over …

HB-SIA Across America

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

This morning, Andre’ Borschberg and Bertand Piccard revealed the potential route for Solar Impulse’s Across America mission in a press conference at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California. The airplane is fully reassembled after being brought to America on a Boeing 747.  Test flights will begin March 30th, and a technical flight “to test the aircraft’s mission readiness” for the coast-to-coast flight will take place March 30th. According to the Solar Impulse project, “The voyage will start in San Francisco on May 1st with stopovers in Phoenix (Arizona), Dallas (Texas), Atlanta (Georgia) or St. Louis (Missouri) on its way to Washington D.C. and New York City. The exact dates for each leg are undefined, as weather conditions play a factor …

Solar Impulse Shines in a Grand Finale

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …