81.5-Hour Solar Flight – Best in Class

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Following Andre’ Borschberg’s record-breaking endurance and distance flight in Solar Impulse last month, the accomplishment of a group of Swiss students and their planned trans-Atlantic, solar-powered autonomous flight are equally worthy of consideration. With a much smaller budget than Solar Impulse, the students are planning a 5,000 kilometer (3,100 mile) flight from Bell Island, Canada to Lisbon, Portugal, a seven-day test of self-guided navigation and autonomous airmanship.  Recent achievements by the team suggest that success will come from good design and careful planning. Last month, their AtlantikSolar 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle made its first 24-hour flight.  (The team generously acknowledges American Alan Cocconi’s 48-hour, solar-powered flight with his 13-kilogram (28.6 pound) So Long in 2005.) Only two weeks later, the …

etlantic to Tackle the Atlantic – Both Ways!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Having pushed his electric Colomban MC-30 Luciole (Firefly) to its limits and having won the Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s approval of his speed and altitude records, Jean-Luc Soullier and his team partner Roman Marcinowski are now after significant distance, speed and altitude goals. Needing a faster, lower-drag airplane to accomplish the next set of tasks, the etlantic Project turned to Greg Cole at Windward Performance in Bend, Oregon.  Cole’s Duckhawk 15-meter sailplane outflew even 18-meter competitors in its first contest year. At a gross weight of 960 pounds (using the Windward specification), the special Duckhawk’s three-bladed propeller (special in itself) will have to overcome under 19 pounds of drag to maintain level flight at the best lift-to-drag speed.  But the plan …