Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Around the world on solar power - Solar Impulse


Stats on the prototype aircraft (for RnD of the full scale aircraft.)

* Wingspan 63m
* Weight 1,600 kg,
* Take-off speed 35 km/h
* Average flying speed: 70 km/h
* Motor power 4 x 10 HP electric engines
* Battery specific capacity: 220Wh/kg
* Solar cells: 11,628 (total area 200m²)
* Maximum altitude 8,500 m (27,900 ft)


40 HP total! This aircraft is substantially lighter than your average glider, or about the wingspan of a jumbo jet with the weight of small car!

An around the world flight would take just short of 1 month, with landings every few days to change pilots. I personally will be impressed with any effort here, just building the aircraft is among the greatest achievements (and that most likely to produce tangible spin off results in the industry), but I can't help but want it to fly around the world without stopping. That may only happen as a UAV, however.