Record breaking US flight completed by first solar airplane

earpieceWhile many of my readers will be interested in some of our own writing, here’s one i discovered whilst rummaging around stumbleupon.com that is much better written than I could ever hope to reach. Maybe one day I will get to this rank, you never know.

The Solar Impulse aircraft has landed at New York’s JFK airport, having finished its outstanding trip across the United states. This is the 1st time that a solar-powered plane capable of flying in both day and night has tried to travel across the US.

The landing completes the final leg of that Solar Impulse’s across America transcontinental bid, which began in May.

Earlier in its path, the Solar Impulse airplane broke the distance record for solar-powered flight by staying within the air for a full eighteen hrs.

2012, the Solar Impulse plane became the very first solar-powered craft to finish an inter-continental trip.

The record-breaking plane was designed and created by project co-founders (and Impulse co-pilots) Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. The friends expect to extol the virtues of renewable power with their invention.

Piccard and Borshberg are also after the ‘Clean Generation’ initiative, that is an attempt to support organisations and governments to improve and take on sustainable energy resources.

The solar impulse HB-SIA has the same wingspan as an A340 Airbus, but weighs only 1.6 tonnes (by contrast an A340 weighs, on standard, around 370 tonnes). The Impulse’s wing and stabiliser are enclosed with some 12,000 solar cells, these run 4 propellers and fully charge the lithium-ion batteries for nighttime flying. The craft has a top speed of 70 kph (45mph) with a maximum cruising height of 8,500m (28,000ft).

Piccard and Borshberg say that their next step is to try a trip round the world, which they hope will begin in 2015. However, in order to realize this, the duo must develop a bigger airplane, the HB SIB.

United states Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, was present to welcome the craft, saying,

“When you look at the Department of Energy’s study programmes and tech visions, it involves many of the same kind of technology advances that these gentlemen have developed in an integrated technique to achieve something that would not have been thought of a couple of years ago (…) I feel in 10 years we’re going to find the fruits of every one of these systems changing the world.”

In spite of a rip within the wing, which caused the pair to scrap their proposed Statue of Liberty fly by, the Solar Impulse plane succeeded in its goals. The craft has smashed records, encouraged increased consideration into renewable power and showed to be a flourishing invention. Solar powered passenger jets may yet become a good distance off, however the Solar Impulse airplane proves the technology is getting there.

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