HB-SIA Across America

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 Flight on a Winter Wave

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond sent the following today. “Had a nice SUNSEEKER flight today, 3 hours, and as usual I could have stayed up into the dark, even in January!  This time there was wave lift, but very weak, despite 30 knot winds at 6700 meters (21,500 feet). “In the pictures you can see the inversion clearly, and the Adriatic covered in a blanket of clouds. “My batteries are very old and cold, but I still got high enough to connect with the wave, which went on forever. “Taxing was tricky because of big lumps of snow, so I landed downwind, as the taxiway is not cleared. Both his Solar Flight website News and Blog show more, including the construction of the Sunseeker …

Sunexelec – Recharging in Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

The Club d’Ultra Léger d’Alsace is a group of French enthusiasts in Strasbourg, on the German border about halfway between Luxembourg and Switzerland. They have been building ultralight aircraft since 1983, tackling technological innovations such as carbon fiber leading edges, motorization, electrification, and now solar power. They were the first to motorize a Swift, and with one of their craft electrically powered, mounted strips of photovoltaic cells to the upper wing surface.  Finding that worked to boost battery duration, the group went on to mount 6.1 square meters of solar cells on an Alpaero Exelec, an ultralight self-launching sailplane. After making 60 flights on battery power between May and April of this year, the group installed the solar cells on …

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

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …

Something(s) Amazingly New Under the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

To share an idea of how packed with information and inspiration an Electric Aircraft Symposium can be, I’m still writing reports on the fourth annual event, even though EAS V is coming up April 29 in Santa Rosa, California.  This is the next-to-last blog entry on last year’s presentations, and as noted in yesterday’s press release for the event, 2011’s will have at least as many presenters and material. Tyler MacCready is the son of Paul MacCready, founder of AeroVironment, Inc. and inspiration for many human-powered, ultralight, and solar-powered aircraft over the last several decades.  This author was in England when Bryan Allen pedaled Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel, a breakthrough in what was considered aerodynamically and structurally possible.  …

A Record Book for the Filling

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), standards setter and record keeper for the aviation world, recently added new classes of records, including those for solar-powered airplanes (CS).  Such classes can be broken down by sub-class and category as necessary. Qinetiq’s Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) achieved several records in the UAV category in July, and these were made official December 23 by the FAI – a neat Christmas gift to the team.  As noted in Qinetiq’s press release: “The FAI has ratified three records which the QinetiQ HALE Team claimed following Zephyr’s long duration flight in July 2010: • Absolute duration record Unmanned – The longest flying UAV in the world (beating Global Hawk’s record by a factor of 11) at 336 hours …