Engineering Materials

Solar Impulse 2 Preps for Round-the-World Flight

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Elizabeth M
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Solar flying high
Elizabeth M   1/29/2015 8:18:45 AM
Well this is certainly an impressive undertaking. I think it would be impressive even if the plane wasn't solar--not a lot of flights these days go around the world consistently (even with fuel breaks). I hope the Solar Impulse passes the test with flying colors (pun intended)! It's projects like this and the solar car challenge race in Australia that are really beginining to show the world what can be done with solar power and a little ingenuity. Imagine if we could some day really lose our dependence on oil and gas? That would be quite something.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Solar flying high
Ann R. Thryft   1/29/2015 12:34:02 PM
Liz, you've certainly got a point about the RTW aspect of the flight itself being unusual. OTOH, without the need for fuel and fuel breaks it doesn't have to. Now, if it could just go faster, the pilot wouldn't need as many breaks either. At any rate, if we'd started working on solar and other alt energy 30-plus years ago when awareness was high, we'd be in a very different place now. But vested interests in keeping things the way they were didn't exactly want that to happen.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Solar flying high
Elizabeth M   1/29/2015 1:11:42 PM
You are so right, Ann, that we could be so much further along in solar and also wind if the investment had been there so much sooner. These things have always existed as energy sources, and other parts of the world have been using them (think Holland and windmills). But across the globe I think investment could've been better, especially in places so rich in natural energy sources. People seem to be getting it now, though, finally. Just wrote about the first commercial wind turbine in NYC, which is pretty impressive!

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Re: Solar flying high
patb2009   1/30/2015 2:40:03 AM


the RTW aspect is a party trick, it s a way to get press and set a record,  where

this is useful is two ways.  

1) Trans-oceanic.  when you scale this up, and you need to make at least  150 Knots, but your oceanic crossings cheap, will be popular, if there is no fuel bill


2) Carrying a comms package and rotating on station somewhere for a week.

Sit up at 15,000 feet go all night long carrying a mobile cell tower,  and you are

now a serious low cost data relay...

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