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

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

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 …

Eric Raymond: Skyping from the Sky

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Eric Raymond and his wife Irena fly their Sunseeker Duo from the Aeroporto Voghera Rivanazzano near their home in Voghera, Italy.  The Provincia di Pavia provides wonderful architectural and scenic backdrops for their flights, something captured briefly in a video they filmed last year for Skype and Microsoft.  To Eric’s surprise, the commercial was finally released this month. The Raymonds and their collaborators are part of a larger advertising campaign for Skype and Microsoft, with their high-tech offerings complementing the wireless communications tools and the ad’s graphics. Eric and Irena, John Lynch, and Jason Rohr perform well for the cameras, but Eric had an extra challenge in the aerial filming.  “I was flying in formation with a Phantom drone!” Microsoft …

Second Sunseeker Duo Calendar Here

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Eric Raymond, designer and builder of three solar-powered aircraft, along with his wife Irena, take some pretty astonishing pictures.  They work from a unique aerial platform, the Sunseeker Duo they completed and now fly together.  Their travels and adventures are large-screen worthy, and they share them with their 2016 Calendar.  Eric explains. Dear Solar Flight and glider fans, We had the most amazing year ever flying the SUNSEEKER DUO here in Europe and we would love to share the vistas with you! Just now we are finishing our photo calendar in time for Christmas, and offering it for anyone’s gift to a pilot or themselves. Since our flight in the SUNSEEKER DUO to the Swiss Alps was very successful and …

Sunseeker Duo, Dynamic Duo Do the Alps

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

A Cheerfully Acknowledged Chastisement

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

If one writes things, occasional slip-ups creep in.  In this case, an unchallenged assertion of who is “first” drew this kind email from Klaus Savier, builder, tuner and pilot of a very slippery Long-Eze.  He’s flown from California to Florida and back on good old fossil fuels (with one fuel stop each way) in his highly modified Long-Eze and achieved 30 miles per gallon at 250 miles per hour true airspeed.  It would be interesting to see how little fuel the airplane would consume at Green Flight Challenge airspeeds.  His demonstrated 0.36 pounds of fuel per horsepower-hour is claimed by Klaus to be 40-percent lower than the commonly seen 0.60 pounds per horsepower-hour that engines without his Light Speed Engineering …