Friday, May 13, 2011

Solar Powered Airplane Completing First International Flight

Solar Powered Airplane Completing First International Flight: "

Pilot AndrĂ© Borschberg is currently flying at over 12,000 feet over the Belgian countryside in the solar powered HB-SIA airplane. The Solar Impulse pilot left the team’s home airport in Switzerland early this morning for its first international flight to Brussels.

Borschberg is cruising at a less than 50 miles per hour on the cross continent flight which included flying over eastern France, Luxembourg and now Belgium. The flight is expected to last around 12 hours, with the touchdown in Brussels happening some time after air traffic and thermal activity is expected to be diminished.

The Solar Impulse team has a nice tracking page on their website where visitors can follow Borschberg’s flight in real time including altitude, speed and a live video feed from the cockpit.

After spending some time in the European Union capital, HB-SIA will be flown to Paris next month for the Paris Air Show. The solar powered airplane, which can fly at night on battery power, has a wingspan of more than 208 feet. The wingspan of a Boeing 747-400 is 211 feet. But unlike the 747 which can take off weighing 875,000 pounds, the Solar Impulse airplane tips the scales at a slender 4,400 pounds at take off.

HB-SIA is fueled by 12,000 photovoltaic cells that can charge the batteries or power the four electric motors.

The team is currently working on the second aircraft, HB-SIB, which they hope to fly around the world beginning as early as next year.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...