November 30, 2012
By Alton K. Marsh
Photos: Â© Solar Impulse.
Solar Impulse, the sun-powered 25-knot airplane from Switzerland with a wingspan greater than 200 feet, will be flown to Los Angeles for a trip across the United States in 2013. The flight will be announced in December.
This is not the flight around the world that is now planned for 2015. That flight requires a newly designed aircraft now in construction. The scheduled flight was delayed when a main spar broke during testing. In the meantime, an earlier model that flew from Switzerland to Africa and back will be crated and sent to the United States in February. Negotiations are in progress to use facilities at Moffett Field at NASA Ames Research Center, although they are in an early stage.
Solar Impulse: Crossing frontiers flight - Ouarzazate to Rabat, June 29, 2012.
The route through the central part of the country is not determined but the end goal is to land at Washington, D.C., and New York. Bertrand Piccard, psychiatrist and pilot who made the first nonstop round-the-world balloon flight, is the initiator and chairman of Solar Impulse. André Borschberg, an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and an airplane and helicopter pilot, is the CEO.
The airplane will be assembled in March and test flown in April. After that, the flight is weather dependent. The Solar Impulse does not like turbulence, nor could it survive much of it.
Solar Impulse lands in Geneva in 2010.
Solar Impulse is an all-electric airplane that recharges its batteries with solar panels. It’s already reached 30,300 feet–a world record for a solar-powered airplane, and stayed aloft 26 hours and 10 minutes for another solar-powered record.
A story on Solar Impulse will appear on the CBS show 60 Minutes Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
Pilot Safety and Skills,
Your mission: Fly with eight F-15s to the Philippines, rejoin, refuel with air tankers, engage an unknown number of Red Air fighters, refuel again, and then return home to Okinawa. And fly with radio silence up to the first contact with the Red Air fighters.
Shell announced Dec. 3 the development of an unleaded aviation fuel that will be submitted for certification as a "performance drop-in" avgas replacement.
The Aviation Safety Reporting System is a voluntary safety reporting program that allows airmen to make anonymous reports to the government about issues encountered in aviation, with anonymity allowing the airman to be candid–even when their actions may have been a violation of the regulations.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.