Flight On Solar And Battery Power Only Over 24 Hours
ANN Update 0930 EDT 07.08.10 The Solar Impulse
aircraft landed back at Payerne, Switzerland precisely (because
that's how the Swiss do things) at 0800 local time, after flying
more than 24 hours powered only by electricity from solar
The London Telegraph reports that pilot
and co-founder Andre Borschberg flew over the Jura
mountains for more than a full day, reaching an altitude of around
FL285. The aircraft reportedly had about 3 hours left on its
batteries when the sun rose over Switzerland.
Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard said the flight proves
that an airplane can stay aloft almost indefinitely. "Nothing can
prevent us from another day and night... and the myth of perpetual
flight," he said.
Original Story: The Solar Impulse aircraft
lifted off at 0700 Central European Time Wednesday from Payerne,
Switzerland for its delayed attempt to fly for 24 hours powered
only by the sun and on-board batteries.
The team had planned to make the flight last week, but a
technical glitch forced them to postpone the flight until
Wednesday. "You have to understand that the airplane is completely
experimental," said Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard. "It
is the type of airplane that has never flown in the past, so we
need to assist the pilot from the ground, but we also need to
assist the airplane itself."
The Voice of America reports that telemetry from the aircraft
will tell ground crew about such things as wing vibration and
flutter, the position of the flight controls, power levels, and
solar cell efficiency.
The 24 hour flight requires a long period of daylight and very
stable weather, and conditions in July in Switzerland are ideal,
according to pilot and co-founder Andre Borschberg.
The flight plan calls for the aircraft to fly to an altitude of
about 25,000 feet, and then slowly spend that altitude as energy
during the night. It will also use energy stored in onboard
batteries to keep the propellers turning.
The ultimate goal is to build a solar-powered airplane that will
fly around the world. The aircraft being flown this week is a
prototype, and construction is expected to begin on the next
generation solar impulse soon.