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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

Ingenious e-Genius

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At the third annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in San Carlos, California in 2009, designers from Germany and Slovenia showed their plan for a hydrogen-powered aircraft called Hydrogenius.  Today, a newly constructed, battery-powered “e-Genius” (developed along parallel lines with Hydrogenius) will be Eric Raymond’s mount for the July 10-17 Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California.  Eric writes that “e-Genius is now flying, and has reached the required 100 mph.” Hydrogenius’s original layout, replaced for the Green Flight Challenge with a simpler lithium-polymer battery-only system.  1 – Hydrogen tank 2 – Radiator 3 – Stack Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 4 – System Module (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) 5 – Power Distribution Unit 6 – LiPoly Battery to start the fuel cell system 7 – …

Many Happy Hours in Sunny Skies

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

Eric Raymond, over the last 20 years, has accumulated more solar-powered flying hours than any other pilot. And what hours these have been. Having met Gunther Rochelt and flown Rochelt’s Musculair human-powered airplane in 1986, Eric was inspired to apply the light construction techniques to the building of a solar-powered airplane. In 1990, he flew Sunseeker I across the United State in 21 hops totaling 121 hours in the air, going from California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the birthplace of powered flight. He upgraded Sunseeker over the years, improving the powerplant and aerodynamics of the amazingly light aircraft. Even with solar cells, batteries, and a 2.5 kW motor, the airplane weighed little more than a legal ultralight. Sunseeker II …