Back on April 14th of this year a little noted event occurred when an gentleman named Mr. Eric Raymond flew his solar powered aircraft "Sunseeker II" becoming the first man to fly across the Alps in a solar powered aircraft. This feat came almost 100 years after the first aerial crossing of the Alps by a Frenchman in his Blériot XI monoplane. Mr. Raymond has an engineering bent and is a former hang glider pilot with a special interest in solar powered aircraft. The significance of this event is highlighted by the fact that on June 26th in Zurich, Switzerland a group will unveil a zero emission solar powere aircraft called "Solar Impulse". The creators will take the plane on a test-flight later in 2009 and hope to eventually create an airplane that can embark on a world tour. Having a wingspan of some 61 feet and 12,000 solar panels the cells will generate more than 6 kilowatts of power to run the aircrafts four electric motores. The aircraft is expected to fly around 43 mph on 8 hp, similar to what the Wright Brothers managed with their Wright Flyer back in 1903. One of the cool things about aviation is that it continues to contribute to the advancement of science throughout the world, something our Congressmen should think about. Airplanes are not toys, they are machines designed to extend the reach of mankind. Stay tuned for more developments on solar powered aircraft. But there is a lot of information available on solar energy homes. You may think creating your very own solar powered home is expensive, but there are plenty of alternatives, including build-it-yourself projects you can learn through online guides like earth4energy. Not enough sunlight to generate electricity? How about wind? If you have a steady breeze or wind then you might want to consider home wind energy. Small wind turbines are very efficient, quiet and can be built by any handyman with a little guidance. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 And now 'tis man who dares assault the sky . . . And as we come to claim our promised place, Aim only to repay the good you gave, And warm with human love the chill of space. — Prof. Thomas G. Bergin, Yale University, 'Space Prober.' This was the first poem to be launched into orbit about the Earth. It was inscribed on the instrument panel of a satellite called Traac launched from Cape Kennedy on November 15, 1961.