Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Electricity in the air..

Again from our unit AE office, 2LT Abrams:
A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe is set to travel across the United States with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and New York, organizers of the trip announced Thursday.

The plane, Solar Impulse, is expected to be ready to leave from NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. on May 1, although the actual departure will depend on the weather, the plane's Swiss creators said at a news conference at the NASA center.

Solar Impulse, considered the world's most advanced solar-powered plane, will stop for seven to 10 days at major airports in each city, so the pilots can display and discuss the aircraft with reporters, students, engineers and aviation fans. It plans to reach New York's Kennedy Airport in early July - without using a drop of fuel, its creators said.


Before its coast-to-coast American trip, the Solar Impulse will take test flights around the San Francisco Bay Area in April, officials said.

Piccard and Borschberg are planning an around-the-world flight in an improved version of the plane in 2015.

Piccard comes from a line of adventurers. His late father, Jacques, was an oceanographer and engineer who plunged deeper into the ocean than any other person. His grandfather Auguste, also an engineer, was the first man to take a balloon into the stratosphere.

Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones made history in 1999 when they became the first people to circle the globe in a hot air balloon, flying 25,000 miles nonstop for 20 days.
The prospect of this fragile, gossamer creature plying the heavens using no aviation fuel is one of the more intriguing aspects of this story. There is an entire website along with wonderful video on this subject here. The narrative is a little treacly and the narrator's accent is somewhat off-putting and -- yes -- they are asking for cash from you (no big deal) but it is a fascinating area of science and well worth exploring.


W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Long Beach Senior Squadron 150