Skip to comments.Swiss pilot makes history in solar plane
Posted on 06/06/2012 10:24:14 PM PDT by smokingfrog
Bertrand Piccard, a 54-year-old Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist, landed Solar Impulse at 11.30pm (2230 GMT) under a full moon at Rabat Sale airport where he was welcomed by officials of the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (MASEN).
Big marquees had been erected near the airport for the organizers of the flight, shown live on the site solarimpulse.com.
The plane was to stay in Rabat for five days before taking off for Ouarzazate in the south of Morocco for the launch by King Mohammed VI of construction of the largest-ever solar thermal plant.
As he got out of the aircraft, the pilot looked exhausted after the nearly 19-hour flight but was smiling. A special terminal had been set up by the Moroccan airport authorities with a large police presence.
Dozens of people, including flight organisers and Moroccan officials, gathered at the runway to witness the historic touchdown.
Piccard had taken off from Madrid's Barajas airport before dawn at 5.22am (0322 GMT) in the Solar Impulse, an aircraft as big as an Airbus A340 but as light as an average family car.
"For one hour I had the full moon on my right and I had the sunrise on my left and that was absolutely gorgeous," Piccard told AFP in an interview from the cockpit shortly after setting out.
"I had all the colours of the rainbow in the sky and also on the ground."
After more than 10 hours' flight, Piccard had climbed to more than 5,500 metres (18,000 feet).
Flying at some 45 kilometres (28 miles) per hour in the freezing, high altitude, he needed an oxygen mask to breathe.
An onboard video camera relayed images of the distant patchwork of fields and valleys stretched out below the aircraft, which has 12,000 solar cells in the wings turning four electrical motors.
(Excerpt) Read more at thelocal.ch ...
You know why homer was exhausted?
He prolly spent 19 hours trying to prevent the wings from coming off.
I thought this was a story about a man planning a flight to the Sun. :(
My mistake, they never say what the distance of the flight was.
Unless I missed it.
Cruise speed is 43 mph.
Humongous light craft.
No idea how much it could carry in passengers or cargo. I get the idea that there was no capacity to spare, even under bright clear skies. Still, why couldn’t photovoltaics be used to help ease the fuel usage of conventional aircraft that commonly fly above the clouds? As in lightening the load on generators? It needn’t be anywhere close to a total solution to be useful.
Talk about leisurely. Though this is airspeed, and doubtless this thing had a stiff tailwind on that course...?
I wonder what it costs?
I bet half the route or more was dependent on thermals
Hope it wasn’t too windy! That looks pretty frail.
Adding drag to wings and fuselage, flying off of wings and fuselage at inopportune times doing 400-500 MPH..........Just guessing.
I hate light craft in high lift areas.
Some folks love it.
I bet he picked up thermals of the Mts and ascended to a very high altitude and then used solar power to assist staying aloft across the Med
At any rate for all of my snarking... Bravo!
Of course this would mean with units that can be inlaid into the body and wings to create a smooth surface.
The 2500km figure is for the whole week...
The 19 hour journey being celebrated was only from Madrid to Rabat, which is 477 miles according to Google Maps.
That’s pretty pokey
Yeah but we all have defied the laws of aerodynamics from time to time.
All I need is 5 acres of solar cells on my mobility scooter and I can go to Jacksonville!
What I like is the two guys to the far right. Those wings must create some real lift!
At least the glide has a chance of being marketable. Wonder what it cost this earth worshiper to make this boondoggle.
Pray for America
This one is just ahead of the solar-powered flashlight on the practicality scale.
No, the solar-powered flashlight is a thoroughly practical, useful tool available on the free and open market from a wide variety of competing manufacturers and vendors.
This aircraft is an interesting experiment showing the possible viability of a light, long-duration, high altitude aircraft requiring no aerial refueling. While this experimental aircraft is manned, the concept would likely be most useful in a UAV.
A sense if humor is a valuable asset in life, I suggest you look into it.
— 28 miles in 19 hours!-—
This is progress? Sheesh.
Post #29 is not funny; it is merely stupid.
Sadly many Americans have been conditioned to mistake "stupid" for "funny" by several generations of self-so-called "comedians" whose stock in trade is mindless idiocy.
Stupid is not funny.
Stupid is stupid.
Do at least try not to get stuck on stupid.
Get back to us when you have accomplished that.
Do at least try not to get stuck on the stupid idea that the only use for an aircraft is to move things from "point A" to "point B".
This is progress?
Yes, it is. Huge progress, in fact.
Believe me, you’ve given me an unintended lesson in stupidity.
-—Huge progress, in fact.——
Composites have been around for a while. Are these photovoltaic cells particularly light in weight? What’s revolutionary here? The whole exercise could have been drawn up on a chalkboard, and then erased, saving a lot of time and money.
This could have been done 40 years ago. But no one in the last 40 years wanted to spend their own money on a pointless endeavor. I suspect that government funding was involved in some way.
Solar cells were neither light enough, nor efficient enough 40 years ago to lift their own weight much less the rest of aircraft. Likewise electric motors. Composites and thin-film polymers 40 years ago were nowhere near strong enough per weight to build an aircraft like this.
If you have to ask what's revolutionary about a lightweight, low maintenance, long duration aircraft which requires no refueling, nor requires fuel at its base ... you're not competent to be having this discussion.
Seriously ... with your attitude, the Bell X-1 would have been drawn on a chalkboard, then erased, saving a lot of money. It could have been done 40 years earlier, but no-one wanted to spend their own money on a pointless endeavour. I suspect government funding was involved in some way.
-—you’re not competent to be having this discussion.——
Well, I have an ME degree with a minor in EE, but you’re probably right, because I couldn’t care less.
From an engineering perspective, I find this very impressive:
IF that's true, the drivel you've been spouting is even less excusable than I had thought.
From an engineering perspective, I find this very impressive:
Yes, AlphaDog is seriously cool. I'd like to point out that "AlphaDog is actually the offspring of BigDog, an earlier, noisier, version with limited payload and operating range." Good thing nobody dismissed BigDog as something that should drawn up on a chalkboard, and then erased, saving a lot of time and money. I'd further like to point out that "AlphaDog ... was developed with funding from DARPA and the US Marine Corps" and "The company worked with engineers and scientists from Boston Dynamics, Bell Helicopter, AAI Corporation, Carnegie Mellon, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Woodward HRT".
Hmmmm .... I suspect that government funding was involved in some way.
DARPA vs.”he was welcomed by officials of the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency.”
Solar power is not evil, immoral, fattening, or a communist plot. It is an interesting and developing area of technology which is potentially very useful in some applications, and not so useful in others.
I grew up in a farming area..on a farm actually. I don't know of a single farmer who has his electric livestock fence tied into the barn current anymore. Every fence is solar powered. Works great. The setup my dad has is at least 14-15 years old and never had a problem with it.
Solar is taking off with various farm uses in just about every area from the fences to oxygenators for ponds, heating water in water tanks for livestock in the winter...on and on.
Seems like every 2-3rd vendor at the Farm Science Review in Ohio has new solar panel technology applications for farm use...but we are told politically by some to hate and be wary of the use.
It's not too bad an arrangement, if you don't need too many "W", and have a lot of "m2".
The way you are taking this so personally it appears you have invested all of your butter and egg money into this contraption.
Bless your little heart.
Just a guess is all.