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Old 03-19-2009, 06:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solar Inpulse Airplane

This is pretty interesting. They will be attempting around the world flight in a manned solar aircraft. Pretty amazing feat.

Here's another link from popular mech.

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The $94-million Solar Impulse prototype weighs in at just 3300 pounds thanks to its carbon-fiber body, but has to compensate for the still-developing world of solar cells by sprawling panels across its huge wingspan. The cockpit will only have room for one pilot, and itís filled with avionic nstruments, computers and vacuum-packed food. Meanwhile, Bertrand and Co. have designed Solar Impulse to fly for 36 hours at a maximum altitude of 27,000 ft.

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Old 03-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very cool.

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Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SolarImpulseChannel
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very similar to a NASA project prototype named Helios - It was just a solar celled wing with multiple propeller pods. Designed for unmanned remote controlled flight, it was meant to circle over a fixed spot for weeks together, offering communication services similar to a comm. satellite, but without the costs and risks of the launch involved.

It was beautiful to see it flying! Too bad it fell down to the sea when testing sometime ago, but NASA has photographs on their site.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't see how they could possibly do it. 25,000 miles in 36 hours? That's 700 mph! The Voyager took a bit over 9 days for the trip...
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Maybe they need to feather the props and score some thermals and updrafts and/or land a few times and recharge in the sun a bit and stretch your legs.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Made the first flight the other day.

SOLAR IMPULSE - AROUND THE WORLD IN A SOLAR AIRPLANE
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The wingspan on that thing is absolutely enormous. And the takeoff speed was rather low. I somehow doubt they will make a nonstop flight around the world in the thing.

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I think you missed the point I was trying to make, which is that it's not rational to do either speed or fuel economy mods for economic reasons. You do it as a form of recreation, for the fun and for the challenge.
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