Sunseeker Duo Plays Among the Alps

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Eric and Irena Raymond took a lovely Sunseeker Duo flight over the Italian alps near their home in Voghera and edited it all into a video.  They designed and built their own solar-powered airplane – Eric’s third.  He flew Sunseeker 1 across the US in 1990 in 21 hops.  A big press conference scheduled for his last landing at Kitty Hawk, NC was a big disappointment since the US invaded Kuwait that day. Six Minutes of Great Beauty Their airplane has solar cells arrayed across the wing and horizontal tail, a small battery pack that gets recharged while flying in the sun, and a 22 kilowatt (30 hp) motor on the tail.  Turning off the motor they can soar on …

SolarStratos Announces First Solar Free Fall

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If you happen to be in Payerne, Switzerland tomorrow morning around 7:00 a. m. Tuesday morning, August 25, you might want to visit the local airport.  There, the SolarStratos team will stage a demonstration flight with a free fall parachute jump by the project’s founder. Miquel Iturmendi will pilot Raphael Domjan to an unspecified height, from which Domjan will depart the aircraft and free fall, open his parachute, and join the gathered throng.  Iturmendi will presumably return the airplane shortly thereafter. We’re not sure whether this flight will be available for Cockpit Virtuel viewing, but future expeditions should have that feature, much like the Perlan Project’s world altitude record ventures.   Iturmendi was co-pilot on one run to 65,000 feet. This …

Electrifly-In: A Big Show in a Small Space

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

For those of us who find trudging over miles of airfield, such as Oshkosh’s AirVenture, or even local fly-ins spread along a runway tiring, Grenchen, Switzerland’s Electrifly-In may be welcome relief.  The event, previously called the Smartflyer Challenge, is planned for September 12 and 13 and should draw electric aircraft from all over Europe. Grenchen, a town of just over 2,000, has an airport with a single runway of only 865 meters (2,838 feet), enough to enable a Cessna Citation CJ3 to land (and presumably depart).  The runway will host this year’s newly re-named Electrifly-In, devoted to promoting electric aviation.  All the activities will be held in a small, easily-accessible area. All Electric Aircraft – All Day A baker’s dozen …

Eric Raymond Shares a Vision

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Eric Raymond is a real pioneer in electric aviation.  Decades before Solar Impulse made its epic flights Eric navigated his solar-powered Sunseeker I across the United States in 21 hops, traveling from Desert Center, California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. He flew over the Matterhorn on his way from Germany to Italy in Sunseeker II.  He and his wife Irena build the world’s first two-seat solar-powered airplane, the Duo, which they regularly fly over Italy and Switzerland.  He shared the promise and mystique of such flight with the readers of Travel Forward recently.   The Future is Electric: Exploring the World in a Two Seat Solar Powered Airplane MAY 18, 2020 BY TRAVEL FORWARD While Tesla and other car manufacturers are …

A Joyous Boxing Day Electrified

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Boxing Day is a holiday unique to the British Empire, a day-after Christmas gift-giving celebration in which the well-off gave gifts to their servants. Yahoo Entertainment explains, “While there is some dispute over what the name actually means, it’s commonly believed that Boxing Day refers to the habit of aristocratic employees gifting their servants or tradesman on Dec. 26 as a thank you for their work throughout the year. The employers would give them each a box to take home to their family with gifts, bonuses and leftover food. “Samuel Pepys, a naval administrator and Member of Parliament, is famous for writing in his diary in 1663: ‘Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something …

Solar Flight Calendar: Just in Time for the Holidays

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A Glorious Calendar Eric and Irina Raymond, besides being skilled solar-powered airplane builders, designers, and pilots are also professional photographers.  Their 2020 Solar Flight calendar highlights all those skills and provides historical background for their work.  Besides that – it’s gorgeous. With a baker’s dozen stunning color photos, and historical black-and-white archival images on the back of each month’s offering, the calendar is a nice blend of modern artistry and the chronicle of an eventful past.  Did you know, for instance, that Eric flew the first solar-powered aircraft across America in 1990 – 23 years before Solar Impulse’s journey? One episode on Eric’s blog is worthy of attention.  “At my slow flying speed, I often flew in formation with flocks …

Sunseeker Duo – The Uniquely Big Picture

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Unique People Eric Raymond was the first person to fly across the United States on solar power in 1990 in Sunseeker 1.  He was the first to fly on the sun’s rays over the Matterhorn in 2009 in Sunseeker 2. He and his wife Irena built the Sunseeker Duo and routinely fly it around northern Italy and over the Alps into Switzerland.  Eric has more hours piloting a solar-powered airplane than anyone, and Irena is probably the most experienced female solar pilot.  Only Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg in the Solar Impulse would have anywhere need as much time at the controls.   Janice Brown, “a…former elementary school teacher” flew Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger, even achieving a record …

Fred To Receives a Well-Deserved Award

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Fred To (pronounced Toe) lives in England and was one of a small group who built and flew the world’s first solar-powered airplane in December 1978. They flew just a few months before Larry Mauro lofted his solar-riser in April 1979. Both airplanes were limited by the technology of the day, lithium-ion batteries still over a decade away, and the best solar cells achieving less than five-percent efficiency. Fred wrote to tell your editor of the award. “I was in Montreux Switzerland a few weeks ago, and on the 22nd of October I received an award from prince Albert II of Monaco for Solar One, which is now formally accepted as the first solar powered aircraft to fly. It was …

Exciting News from Eric Raymond and Dr. Van Helsing

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We are excited to share this press release from Eric Raymond at Solar Flight.  Being in on things at the beginning of an extraordinary new technology is something that we strive for in this blog.  We were alerted to this by Dr. Abraham Van Helsing from the Transcendental Aerodynamics Department of the University of Transylvania.  He has been advising Eric on some arcane aspects of what most will agree are nearly unbelievable propulsion techniques. For immediate Release April 1, 2017 Today Solar Flight Inc. is proud to announce the roll out of its newest electric aircraft, the Monarch. In secret development for the last 2 years, it breaks new ground for this small aircraft development firm. The most revolutionary aspect …

Smartflyerchallenge – Europe’s First Fly-In for Electric Powered Aircraft

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Air meets have been an important part of aviation history, bringing pilots, planes nad the public together in a symbiotic gathering.  This was true in aviation’s genesis; things gaining a tremendous impetus with air meets throughout Europe and America following Wilbur Wright’s 1908 public demonstrations near Le Mans, France. René Maier, ex-Colonel of the Swiss Army and current President of the newly formed organization team for an annual event organized at the Grenchen Regional Airport, has announced the SmartFlyer Challenge, touted as the first fly-in for electric aircraft.  The event, to be held September 9 and 10, 2017, will make Grenchen “the center of electric flight,” according to the organizers.  Static and air displays of electric and hybrid-electric powered aircraft …