Anyone who has read this blog on a regular basis knows the amount of skepticism I have had about solar energy as a source for powering manned aircraft. I guess I wasn't paying attention when my friends Orville and Wilbur took to the air over the beaches at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina! On December 10th Solar Impulse took to the air for the first time proving controllability, acceleration, braking and power test of the motors. HB-SIA made the flight sans solar panels, but they will be connected soon enough and ready for the flight tests in Switzerland which should begin next year. Are you ready? Here is the video of this momentous achievement:
On the right is a photograph of the Solar Impulse in flight for testing controlability of aircraft, engines and systems. While the flight only achieved a height of 1 meter, it nonetheless demonstrated the feasibility of the design. This flight used battery power as the solar panels had not yet been connected; however, it demonstrates the ability of the aircraft to takeoff with a pilot aboard. One step closer to an around the world flight, solar power is making itself known in the world of aviation.
Stay tuned - its sure to only get better! Now ... I have a question for you! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this new technology, and where it is leading ... I would really love to know!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Success four flights thursday morning all against twenty one mile wind started from Level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty one miles longest 57 seconds inform Press home Christmas. — Orville Wright, 17 December 1903. This first telegraph home had two transcription errors. It should have read 59 seconds and Orville's name was spelt 'Orevelle.' Bishop Milton Wright received the telegram at about 5:30 PM, and showed it to Katharine a few minutes later. Supper was delayed while the telegram was sent over to Lorin's home and the news was telegraphed to Octave Chanut