Solar Flight on a Winter Wave

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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).

Sunseeker II in the clear, but surrounded by the deep snow of a Slovenian winter

“In the pictures you can see the inversion clearly, and the Adriatic covered in a blanket of clouds.

Flying over the valley temperature inversion, not yet having hooked up with the alpine wave

“My batteries are very old and cold, but I still got high enough to connect with the wave, which went on forever.

Eric Raymond enjoying some cold open cockpit flying (his canopy slides forward to allow unobstructed camera work) with the Slovenian Alps below and the Adriatic Sea under clouds in the distance

“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 Duo, the world’s first two-seat solar-powered airplane.

One blog entry in particular, shows a flight from Slovenj Gradec to Lesce Bled airport, on its way to Switzerland for an airshow.  He topped Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia, and flew with Sierra India, a local ASH-25 sailplane.

Sunseeker Duo, late in its construction. It now has gear and systems installed, but needs more to make its initial flights

As a reminder that he’s still working on the Sunseeker Duo, he notes that he is looking forward to flying it this year, although it will be, ”Far from fully equipped for the long voyages I want to take with my wife.” The team still needs instruments and the panel is far from equipped.

“For one thing, I want to equip it with 2 fully-redundant Mountain High oxygen systems, and blood oxygen monitors, so we are fully covered.  Already the SUNSEEKER II can climb high enough to kill me, and I don’t trust being alone up there, without more backups.  I have one oxygen system in it, but sometimes it seems so smooth and unreal, I question if everything is OK, and it takes so long to get down…

“In the SUNSEEKER II it is always possible to stay up into the dark, but it is boring after a while all alone. With the new plane the cockpit is more comfortable, and either person can fully recline the seat, and sleep for a while, with curtains to keep the sun away.

Even though the husband and wife duo were not successful in achieving Kickstarter funding for its Duo, It’s still possible to make donations that will help drive this craft and its creators to achieve new heights and show the true potential of solar aviation.

See the Solar-Flight home page and click on the “Donate to the SUNSEEKER DUO completion” link above the lead photograph.

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