The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Solar Plane

I have recently wondered how cheap airlines like EasyJet and Ryan Air are going to keep costs down and be environmentally friendly when airplanes are going to need fuel for the foreseeable future. The new prototype plane by Solar Impulse tells me alternative energy isn't going to be of much help in that regard for a while: it has the wingspan of an airbus, the weight of a car, and a cockpit for one (1) passenger.

It is, however, pretty cool and will hopefully fly without any fuel at all and able to go around the world in 25 days. Dr Bertrand Piccard, who runs the project, will fly the finished plane in Spring 2010 and attempt to go around the Earth in 5 hops. It sounds like there are many risks: the flight has to match the simulations and the weather has to be decent, too much turbulence would wreck a plane which is also a 60 meter hang-glider.. It all feels very adventurous, pioneering and sci-fiesque. Cool interview with him on the BBC page.


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