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Monthly Archives: March 1982

Record-Breaking Solar Plane Completes US Trip

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The Solar Impulse airplane has landed at New York’s JFK airport, having done its outstanding trip over the US. This is a 1st time that a solar-powered plane able to flying in both day and night has tried to fly across the United States.

The landing completes the final leg of that Solar Impulse’s across United states transcontinental bid, which began in May.

Earlier in its trip, the Solar Impulse plane broke the flying record for solar-powered flight by staying in the air for a full eighteen hours.

Last year, the Solar Impulse plane became the first solar-powered craft to complete an inter-continental flight.

The record-breaking airplane was planned and built by project co-founders (and Impulse co-pilots) Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. The team hope to commend the virtues of renewable power with their invention.

Piccard and Borshberg are also behind the ‘Clean Generation’ initiative, which is an endeavor to encourage businesses and governments to develop and adopt sustainable energy resources.

The solar impulse HB-SIA has the identical wingspan as the A340 Airbus, but weighs only 1.6 tonnes (by comparison an A340 weighs, on average, about 370 tonnes). The Impulse’s wing and stabiliser are enclosed with roughly 12,000 solar cells, these make 4 propellers and completely charge the lithium-ion for night flying. The craft features a high speed of 70 kph (45mph) with a maximum cruising height of 8,500m (28,000ft).

Piccard and Borshberg say that their next step is to attempt a journey round the world, which they expect will begin in 2015. But, with a view to attain this, the duo must develop a much bigger airplane, the HB SIB.

US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, was present to meet the craft, saying,

“When you look at the Department of Energy’s study programmes and tech visions, it involves many of this same type of tech progress that these gentlemen have developed in an integrated technique to achieve something that wouldn’t of been considered a few years ago (…) I think in 10 years we are going to see the fruits of all these technology varying the world.”

In spite of a rip within the wing, which caused the pair to scrap their projected Statue of Liberty fly by, the Solar Impulse airplane succeeded in its aims. The plane has broken records, encouraged improved thought into renewable power and proved to become a flourishing invention. Solar powered passenger jets may yet be a long way off, but the Solar Impulse airplane proves the tech is getting there.