Boeing Adds Solar Winglets to Its Solar High-Flyer

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Despite having a wing, horizontal tail, and fuselage top full of solar cells, Solar Impulse 2 needs long days and short nights to make it through the dark periods between recharging.  Even Eric and Irena Raymond’s SunSeeker Duo, a more practical machine, performs only day-long flights so far. Part of this is the nature of sunlight and solar cells, both of which are limited in small areas.  Despite the fact that every hour, each square meter of the upper atmosphere receives 1.367kWh of solar energy, and National Geographic claims that “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year,” it’s hard to harness that energy on a relatively small …

Second Sunseeker Duo Calendar Here

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eric Raymond, designer and builder of three solar-powered aircraft, along with his wife Irena, take some pretty astonishing pictures.  They work from a unique aerial platform, the Sunseeker Duo they completed and now fly together.  Their travels and adventures are large-screen worthy, and they share them with their 2016 Calendar.  Eric explains. Dear Solar Flight and glider fans, We had the most amazing year ever flying the SUNSEEKER DUO here in Europe and we would love to share the vistas with you! Just now we are finishing our photo calendar in time for Christmas, and offering it for anyone’s gift to a pilot or themselves. Since our flight in the SUNSEEKER DUO to the Swiss Alps was very successful and …

Sunseeker Duo, Dynamic Duo Do the Alps

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Irena Raymond shared the following about her and huband Eric’s flight across the Alps from northern Italy to Switzerland and return – a four-day tour of the mountainous country, and validation of the Sunseeker Duo’s performance. The latest of a series of accomplishments, the trip’s mission was to “stop and show the airplane at different airports,” according to Irena. Remember that Eric crossed the United States on solar power in Sunseeker I in 1990, 23 years before Solar Impulse managed the feat. Eric crossed the Alps on his way from Friedrichshafen, Germany to the World Air Games in 2009, guiding Sunseeker II over sometimes cloud-shadowed peaks. Now he and Irena have made a two-person Alps crossing and tour of the …

Facebook Unveils a Very Big, Very Light Electric Flying Wing

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is intent on providing at least basic Internet services to everyone in the world, even if means creating his own air force to accomplish that lofty goal. March 27, 2014, he shared his overall plan, including a large fleet of airplanes that would loiter in the stratosphere, beaming high-speed Internet connections to one and all. Just a few days ago, Zuckerberg announced the completion of the first full-scale aircraft for this grand plan, the Aquila.  Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs in at around 400 kilograms (880 pounds).  Apparently built in England by his recently acquired team of aeronautical experts, Aquila will be able to stay in the air for months at a …

EAS IX to be A Gala Gathering

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley sent this along today. On May 1, 2, 2015, the world’s leading experts will converge for the 9th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium in the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country. The confirmed presenters include: Airbus on “The e-Fan Design” Michigan’s Satki3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry on “Solid State Energy Storage” Italy’s Eric Raymond of GFC I Team-eGenius on “Sunstar and the SunSeeker Duo” Slovenia’s Tine Tomazic of GFC I Team Pipistrel USA on “Converting GA Aircraft to Electric Propulsion” UCR’s Zach Favors on “Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries” Northrop-Grumman’s J. Philip Barnes on “Regenerative Electric Flight” NASA’s Dr. Eric Darcy on “Battery Safety” Ford/Ricardo’s Neil Johnson on “Li-ion BMS & Gauging” Launchpoint’s Michael Ricci on “Propulsion by …

A Cheerfully Acknowledged Chastisement

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

If one writes things, occasional slip-ups creep in.  In this case, an unchallenged assertion of who is “first” drew this kind email from Klaus Savier, builder, tuner and pilot of a very slippery Long-Eze.  He’s flown from California to Florida and back on good old fossil fuels (with one fuel stop each way) in his highly modified Long-Eze and achieved 30 miles per gallon at 250 miles per hour true airspeed.  It would be interesting to see how little fuel the airplane would consume at Green Flight Challenge airspeeds.  His demonstrated 0.36 pounds of fuel per horsepower-hour is claimed by Klaus to be 40-percent lower than the commonly seen 0.60 pounds per horsepower-hour that engines without his Light Speed Engineering …

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 …

Irena Raymond on Flying the Sunseeker Duo

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A few days after posting the entry on the Raymond’s first cross country flight in their new solar-powered Sunseeker Duo, your editor received followups from Irena and Eric.  First, Irena shares her impressions of what sounds like a beautiful flight. “Our XC flight with Duo was a great experience. “First of all, because I don’t like too many surprises, I tried to prepare myself as best as possible for this expedition. I was studying the aeronautical chart to get more familiar with the Italian airspace and possible restrictions, looking also at the terrain and possible out landings (just in case. of course). “And then the day of our flight was coming, bringing us a clear, sunny morning. At the noon …

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 Goes Dual

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Irena Raymond became the first passenger of a solar-powered airplane recently, even taking over control of the Sunseeker Duo she and husband Eric built over the last several years.  Her thoughts provoke awe and envy. “Flying the Duo, skimming the white fluffy clouds from above and playing on the sky, I feel like a bird. No limitations, a pure freedom. It’s so quiet! Compared to a normal airplane, it’s like night and day. You need a very good headset in every other powered airplane, but in this airplane you can speak normally even when the motor is running full power, no headset needed. It is unbelievable.” Eric provides some hard data to complement Irena’s understandably poetic words.  “I am expanding the …