A decisive milestone was reached yesterday as the solar-charged, electric-powered Solar Impulse successfully completed the second-to-last leg of its Across America mission by landing at Washington Dulles International Airport–locally it was Sunday, June 16 at 12:15 a.m.–stimulating renewed enthusiasm for discovery and innovation.
The massive, gangly Solar Impulse landed at 12:30 a.m. in Phoenix on Saturday, having completed the first leg of the solar-powered airplane’s Across America mission. The flight departed Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. on Friday at 6:12 a.m. PDT and landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. MST.
The flight took 18 hours and 18 minutes, all powered by 12,000 solar cells mounted in the wings, driving four 10-hp electric motors and propellers. To fly at night, energy is stored in 881 pounds of lithium-ion batteries.
Switzerland-based Solar Impulse is planning “Across America” flights this spring to showcase its sun-powered aircraft to the U.S. public and demonstrate and develop the possibilities of solar energy. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the company is developing a second, larger aircraft that it hopes to fly around the world in 2015.
The Solar Impulse project recently received a burst of sunshine in the form of financial support from a commercial insurance firm, bolstering the team’s plans to complete the world’s first global circumnavigation by a piloted, solar-powered aircraft.
Dassault Falcon kicked off its traditional Falcon Family breakfast at NBAA 2011 with a message from chairman Charles Edestenne that the industry must unite to combat threats to its development. He stressed that business aviation is not a luxury, rather, it buys time, which he described as an essential competitive advantage in today’s world.
Solar Impulse’s first prototype made its first flight on April 7 in Payerne, Switzerland, paving the way for the first night flight with a solar-powered, manned aircraft this summer. Company CEO André Borschberg and founder Bertrand Piccard are then planning a round-the-world flight, with probably five stopovers, to demonstrate the potential of investing in renewable energies.
The HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft, the first prototype of the Solar Impulse project, is to be unveiled next week on June 26 at Dübendorf air base, near Zurich, Switzerland. Those who attend will discover some design changes since the last images were released, company CEO André Borschberg told AIN, adding that a first flight is planned for later this year.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg recently spent their first 25 hours at the controls of a flight simulator that replicates the cockpit in the first Solar Impulse prototype HB-SIA. Piccard flew the prototype from Tuesday, May 13 at 7:27 a.m. to Wednesday, May 14 at 8:43 a.m., and Borschberg from Thursday, May 15 at 7:20 a.m. to Friday, May 16 at 8:38 a.m.
Bertrand Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program, which is calling for a flight around the world with an aircraft powered exclusively by solar energy, showcased the state of his venture in a media conference at Duebendorf airfield near Zurich, Switzerland, last month.
Bertrand Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program calling for a flight around the world with an aircraft powered exclusively by solar energy, showcased the state of his venture in a media conference at the Duebendorf airfield near Zurich, Switzerland, on November 6.
- Page 1