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 …

Sunseeker Duo Makes Test Flights from December 17 to Earth Day

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Eric Raymond announced today that his Sunseeker Duo, the world’s first solar-powered two-seat aircraft, has been making test flights since last December 17, the 111th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. The Duo was built by Eric and his wife Irena, and is Eric’s third solar-powered airplane.  His first, Sunseeker I, flew across the United States in 1990, making 21 hops from San Diego, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Sunseeker II flew from Friedrichshafen, Germany across the Alps to Italy, then toured around Europe. In Eric’s announcement today, he claims that, “The Duo is the most advanced solar powered airplane in the world and the first that might be suited to production. It is also the first solar …

Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

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 …

Sunseeker Duo Shows Completed Form at Friedrichshafen, Moves to Italy

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Erik Raymond is moving his shop and Sunseeker Duo project to Voghera, Italy, nestled in Northern Italy between Milan and Genoa.  He showed the completed airframe at this year’s Aero Expo at Friedrichshafen, Germany and discussed, no doubt, the future of electric aviation with Axel Lange, the CEO of Lange Aviation.  Lange has developed the Antares and Arcus electric motorgliders, both outstanding designs. Following the Expo’s finale, Erik and his wife Irena drove south to Italy, where their enterprise will complete work on the Duo and plan for their proposed trips in unexplored realms– all on solar power. With Solar Impulse crossing the United States (which Erik did in 1990 in Sunseeker I) and more flights planned by other participants, …

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 …

Your Chance to Help Kickstart an Historic Airplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kickstarter, an online crowd funding platform, helped John McGinnis work toward the completion of his ambitious and aerodynamically advanced Synergy.  Another innovator and pioneer in solar-powered aviation has enlisted the aid of Kickstarter for a superb project and a great adventure. Eric Raymond flew across the United States in 21 solar-charged hops in 1990, making a trek from San Diego, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, navigating and soaring with his Sunseeker. Nearly two decades later, he took Sunseeker II from Germany to Italy, conquering the Alps and fulfilling a life-long dream to top the Matterhorn. Since then, he’s also flown the University of Stuttgart’s e-Genius to second place in the Green Flight Challenge last September, co-piloting with Klaus Ohlmann, another …