Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Transportation Science Technology

Solar Impulse Airplane Makes Public Debut In Paris 26

Posted by timothy
from the how-does-it-lift-all-those-horses dept.
dsmendes writes "The Solar Impulse airplane made its debut at the Paris Air Show with a 20 minute public voyage powered by nothing but solar cells, with 12,000 cells on the wings powering 4 10-horsepower motors."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Solar Impulse Airplane Makes Public Debut In Paris

Comments Filter:
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @06:43PM (#36628776) Homepage Journal

    The Solar Impulse airplane made its debut at the Paris Air Show with a 20 minute public voyage powered by nothing but solar cells

    - well, it's powered by nothing but solar cells and an average size star, which is about 1,000,000 km/diameter, hanging above our heads. If the Sun could have and express feelings, would it be bothered to know, we think it's nothing? What if it felt it was unappreciated and decided to leave (or at least to leave France)? Let them try and power those planes by nothing and solar cells without the Sun :)

  • "This is your pilot speaking, in Paris it is 15C and partly cloudy. We anticipate a bumpy approach so please remain seated with seat belts secured. Flight attendants, prepare the cabin for landing."
  • I see this carries a person. I think of the primary benefit of solar aircraft being the potential for "perpetual" flight, e.g. as a cheap alternative to a satellite. Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight, other than the technical challenge of doing so? (It's a neat accomplishment, either way).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      [[ Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight, other than the technical challenge of doing so?]]

      I believe the purchase and maintenance of the average airliner over its lifespan costs less than the fuel they put through it. So, removing the fuel cost would be really neat.

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Removing even a part of the cost would be "really neat". I imagine they could try mounting some of those solar power elements on top of specially designed plane's wings to power some of electrical systems on board at least.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      "perpetual" will only work if it can stay in the air in the dark using additional power it gathered during the day. Otherwise it has to be able to keep up with the sun... I read that it has batteries, but if it has enough batteries to store enough charge to stay in the air through ~12 hours of darkness then we could ditch the solar cells and run planes on batteries and just charge them when they land.

      • Otherwise it has to be able to keep up with the sun...

        I feel like they could get some military funding for this thing by saying that they want to upgrade it to "outrun the terminator."

      • by andrewme (1562981)
        It looks, from a cursory glance, that the manufacturers intend to do just that. I quote: "The Solar Impulse solar plane, which in 2010 demonstrated it could harvest enough energy by day to stay aloft all night, will soon take its first international flight. The team will be headed by Bertrand Piccard, the man who piloted the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, and will leave from Brussels on May 2nd." This, on , posted 4/29/11. Hats off to the engineers and scientists behind this.
      • Re:Oh, it's manned (Score:4, Informative)

        by Cochonou (576531) on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:26AM (#36630986) Homepage
        This is what this plane is doing. It charges its batteries during the day, while flying, and discharges them during the night. It has already flown during a complete day-night cycle.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      The motivation need only be "because it's fun".

      Gliders don't have a practical purpose, but we make them and make them big enough to put one or two people in, and there are a lot of them around. There are people who just want to fly for fun.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)

      Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight.

      Zero fuel use. Zero CO2 emission. Goes from point A to point B by flight. What other motivation do you need ?

  • I, for one, welcome our Cloud(tm) fearing overlords

  • What is not in the article is that they had to charge the plane before it left Brussels.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

Working...