Friday, December 19, 2014

Solar Powered Flight

Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew the first heavier-than-air aircraft one hundred and eleven years ago. In 2015 Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg plan to fly a solar powered, fixed-wing aircraft, around the world with only the power provided by the sun (Piccard, along with Brian Jones completed the first non-stop balloon flight around the globe in 1999).

Solar Impulse 1 conducted its first test flight in December 2009, and first flew an entire diurnal solar cycle including nearly nine hours of night flying, in a 26-hour flight on the 7th and 8th of July, 2010.

In 2013 they conducted a multi-stage flight across the U.S. from Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA. to John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport in New York.

Starting in March of 2015, Solar Impulse 2 will circle the planet in the northern hemisphere, taking around 5 months. The starting and ending point will be Masdar in Abu Dhabi. It's not a non-stop flight; obviously the pilots could not stay aloft long enough to complete the journey. The idea is that they fly an aircraft around the world during day AND night hours without ever 'fueling up;' from the initial charging of the batteries to the end of the flight, the only power comes from stored solar energy.

Solar Impulse 2

These videos are inspiring!

It's the beginning of a new era in powered flight!

For more information:

Wikipedia (another thank you to Wikipedia for aiding my research)

Solar Impulse

How Solar Aircraft Work

Solar Powered Motorglider