Monday, June 29, 2009

Solar Powered Plane

Fig: The HB-SIA

Based in Switzerland, a team of over 50 specialists from six countries is working on the Solar Impulse project: a solar-powered airplane capable of taking off autonomously and maintaining itself in flight for several days, entirely propelled by the energy stored in the photovoltaic panels contained in its wings.

The HB-SIA prototype is currently under construction and the round-the-world flight is programmed to happen in 2012, on a flight over land near the equator. Five stops are planned during the route, in order to change pilots and present the adventure to the public and authorities. Each flight leg will last from 3 to 4 days (considered the maximum endurance for a single pilot).

This is certainly a technology many of us have been waiting for, and which seems a natural step in the aviation industry.

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