By Alton K. Marsh
First it was ballooning legend Bertrand Piccard announcing that his piloted solar-powered airplane, Solar Impulse , would fly nonstop around the world in 2011.
Now Lisa Airplanes in France, currently developing a “Hy-Bird” airplane using both fuel cell and 10 percent solar energy, says it can beat Piccard’s flight by at least two years.
That could beat a Boeing project in which Boeing’s partner in Spain plans to fly a fuel-cell-powered Dimona glider built by Diamond Aircraft.
That provides a complete range of aircraft from all-solar ( Solar Impulse) to a mix (Hy-Bird) to all fuel cell (Boeing-Spain). Lisa Airplanes also plans civil sales of its Akoya, the same airframe shape as is planned for the Hy-Bird.
January 3, 2008