Solar Impulse Breaks More Records, Attracts More Eyes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At 79 hours into the flight Flight Director Michi Anger let viewers on Solar Impulse’s web site know that the “U-turns” the airplane performed were to get the maximum amount of solar energy in the plane – “That’s why it looks as if we’re facing the wrong direction.” “André got a good amount of rest during the last 12 hours, but we had some problems finding calm air. André had 300m of resting periods but could only sleep for 170m. The autopilot is designed to function only in calm air so we had to wake André up from the MCC. This is a rude awakening for him so it made it more difficult for him to go back into sleep. “André passed 76h 45min of flight, breaking Steve Fossett’s 2006 record for the …

There’s an Airplane in There Somewhere

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Looking like an igloo condominium, Solar Impulse’s inflatable hangar was hastily shipped to Nagoya Airport in Japan to protect the large, but vulnerable, machine from weather damage.  Before the temporary hangar could be installed, though, high winds caused part of the structure holding a cover over the right wing to hit the aileron and cause minor damage. Solar Impulse reports, “In the early hours of Tuesday 2 June as we were in the process of offloading the material and beginning to prepare the mount the mobile hangar, there were wind gusts which led to damage to SIB, on a small part of the wing. We do not see this as being a major issue, but we do not have a full evaluation of the time …

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 …

SolarStratos Construction to Begin in January

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Just as we have competing teams working out their plans to cross the Atlantic on electrically-powered wings, several projects are aiming high, attempting to reach altitudes normally achieved only by SR-71 pilots.  With balloon jumps topping 130,000 feet and the Perlan Project in final stages of construction for test flights early next year, the latest entrant in stratosphere-busting climbs will attempt the mission on batteries and solar power. Raphael Domjan, a self-described “eco-adventurer” and founder of Mission SolarStratos, will attempt by 2017 to top 80,000 feet in a two-seat, twin-motored craft designed and built by Calin Gologan and his PC-Aero team.  The airplane, a long-winged derivation of Gologan’s Elektra Two Solar, will rely on recent developments between Gologan and his …

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 …

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 …

Sion Power, Airbus, UAE Team Up to Set Dubai Altitude Record

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

First, let’s get the new acronym out of the way.  The solar-powered flyer recently setting records in Dubai is part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program.  One headline led off with “What’s the HAPS?” leaving your editor saddened by not having thought of it first.  Such craft were previously referred to as HALEs (High Altitude Long Endurance) platforms. It’s also part of the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), a kind of Middle-Eastern STEM program promoting technological advancement and sustainable development in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The airplane set three world records in 2010, flying over the desert Southwest in America as part of Qinetiq’s development program.  It managed 336 hours 22 minutes …

The Raymonds Make the First Two-Passenger Solar-Powered Cross Country Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond shared this story of a short cross-country flight between his home field of Voghera, Italy and the town of Pavullo, about 100 air miles away.  It’s significant in being the first cross-country solar-powered flight for two, Eric’s wife Irena sharing flying duties.  The “normal” nature of the trip and the practicality of the airplane show that Eric is expanding his pioneering efforts from his initial flight across the United States in 1990 and his trip across the Alps in 2009 – all on solar power.   He’s received precious little attention in the press for these sublime journeys, a situation we hope to redeem here. “Irena and I just returned from an overnight trip in our new plane, our …

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 …

Floating Over the Danube: The Vision of the Little Tailor of Ulm Lives

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The beautiful blue Danube River of Strauss waltz fame, “…Rises in the Black Forest mountains of western Germany and flows for some 1,770 miles (2,850 kilometers) to its mouth on the Black Sea. Along its course, it passes through nine countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In 1811, Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger, a tailor in the city of Ulm near the headwaters of the second longest river in Europe, tried a novel idea – flying across the river on a nicely sewn-together hang glider.  His splashdown marked the end of his aeronautical career, but made him famous and an unlikely harbinger of things to come. City fathers have announced, “In the spirit of Berblinger, and continuing his vision, the City of Ulm aims to promote …