June 30, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Used by permission. Copyright Solar Impulse/EVFL Claudio Leonardi
A follow on to the Solar Impulse electric airplane that rolled out in Switzerland in June may circle the world in 2012. The development model, unveiled by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will fly at the end of 2009 and gather data for the final model. It can fly both night and day using batteries and solar power.
Piccard, a psychiatrist, made the first round-the-world flight by balloon, and Borschberg is an airplane and helicopter pilot with management experience. The model just unveiled carries only one pilot. The four-electric-motor aircraft must become light enough during further development to carry two pilots if a trip around the world made in segments lasting four to five days each is to succeed. The idea is to push the science needed to accomplish the goal.
Helping with that is a large chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer, Solvay, the Omega watch company, and Deutsche Bank. Solvay has designed the cockpit and many of the parts for the aircraft using lightweight polymers. The unveiling in late June occurred near Zurich before 200 international press representatives and hundreds more watching on the Internet including 60 people in China.
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
Six aviation trail-blazers including the first female U.S. jet airline captain, an Apollo astronaut, an air racer, a record-setting test pilot, and a pair of brothers renowned for aircraft design innovation will be enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014.
Flight testing of a factory version of the Quicksilver Sport 2S, the first of two models with factory-built versions planned, is complete.
This month we look at the Pitts S2-B operated by Eagle Sport Aviation in Deland, FL.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.