Sunday, June 16, 2013

"most advanced sun-powered aircraft" vividly displays solar power's problems: It seats one, cost $112 million, took a month and a half to fly cross country, and can't fly in bad weather

Solar-Powered Plane Lands Near Washington - ABC News
Pilot Bertrand Piccard was at the controls for the last time on the multi-leg "Across America" journey that began May 3 in San Francisco. His fellow Swiss pilot, Andre Borschberg, is expected to fly the last leg from Washington to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in early July, the web site added.

It's the first bid by a solar plane capable of being airborne day and night without fuel to fly across the U.S, at speeds reaching about 40 mph.
Organizers said in a blog post early Sunday that Piccard soared across the Appalachian mountains on a 435-mile (700-kilometer) course from Cincinnati to the Washington area, averaging 31 mph (50 kph). It was the second phase of a leg that began in St. Louis.

The plane, considered the world's most advanced sun-powered aircraft, is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its enormous wings and charge its batteries during the day. The single-seat Solar Impulse flies around 40 mph and can't go through clouds; weighing about as much as a car, the aircraft also took longer than a car to complete the journey from Ohio to the East Coast.
"The solar airplane was in great shape despite the quasi-shower it experienced" before takeoff from Cincinnati, the web site added.
Tom Nelson: Hooray?: "Advanced" solar-powered plane can't fly in bad weather, goes 43 miles per hour, has a single-seat cockpit, weighs 3,500 pounds loaded, and has about as much power as the Wright brothers' first planes
It cannot fly in strong wind, fog, rain or clouds.

The plane can climb to 28,000 feet and flies at an average of 43 miles per hour (69 km per hour).

The project began in 2003 with a 10-year budget of 90 million euros ($112 million)
Spirit of St. Louis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maximum speed: 133 mph (214 km/h)
Cruise speed: 100-110 mph (161-177 km/h)

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