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Solar-Powered Airplane Completes First International Flight

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the icarus-airlines dept.

Businesses 211

liqs8143 writes "Solar Impulse, a fully solar-powered airplane, has completed its first international solar-powered flight. After a flight lasting 12 hours 59 minutes at an altitude of 12,400 feet, using no fuel and propelled by solar energy alone, Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels, Switzerland. After the landing, company co-founder Bertrand Piccard said, 'Our goal is to create a revolution in the minds of the people . . . to promote solar energies — not necessarily a revolution in aviation.' Compared with 2003, energy efficiency has increased from 16 to 22 percent. And the cells are now half as thick. The project has a total cost of $88 million, which is funded by mostly-Swiss partners and public donations."

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I AM SOLAR POWWERED! (1)

secretsquirel (805445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136576)

sA DA TAY

Re:I AM SOLAR POWWERED! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137098)

wa da ta my damie

'International' Flight? (0)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136588)

Too lazy to RTFA, but couldn't you have indicated the embarkation point? Austria to Switzerland? Not too interesting an international flight. New Zealand to Switzerland? Now we're talking.

Slashdot: quality summaries since Chips and Dips.

Re:'International' Flight? (3, Informative)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136604)

Switzerland to Belgium. So it wasn't just a hop across an adjacent border. And, as the summary says, they were in the air for almost 13 hours.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136628)

If they were moving 1cm per minute (spending all its energy just staying up), then they could have only traveled 7.8m. Time doesn't mean much.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136644)

Do you think before you post? If they had a helicopter that hovered for 13 hours at such a low speed it would be even more impressive. It FLEW. It didn't crawl or roll.

Re:'International' Flight? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136658)

If they had a helicopter that hovered for 13 hours at such a low speed it would be even more impressive.

What, like a party balloon?

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136746)

This is obviously not what the article meant. TFS clearly states "solar powered airplane." That would not include some kind of hot air balloon or whatnot.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136918)

" It FLEW. It didn't crawl or roll."

Hot air balloons fly too "using no fuel" and I'm sure they could be propelled forward using solar too.

Flight distance from Switzerland to Belgium is only 320 miles (487 km) [travelmath.com] . That's only 26 mph (40 kph). A solar powered car is over twice as fast. [newscientist.com]

At an average speed of 26 mph this isn't an airplane, it's a glider, as you can see from this extremely slow speed take-off [youtube.com]

The $94 million wasted on this [fastcompany.com] would have been better spent on improving solar powered cars rather than a 26mph glider.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136934)

sorry about the flight distance, the 487km came from this link [travelmath.com]

Re:'International' Flight? (3, Insightful)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137520)

Hot air balloons don't generate lift using aerofoils, they float using a large bag of hot lighter-than-the-surrounding air, and they use large propane burners to keep that bag's contents warm - so they do use fuel. They also only have gross control - up and down. Their direction of travel is largely subject to prevailing winds.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137918)

It's OK. Slashdot groupthink on this one seems to be "so what?" Apparently that's how crap comparing this glider to a party balloon [slashdot.org] gets modded informative.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136830)

you have the laws of flight working against you on this. I doubt the flow of air at 1 cm / min (3.7 10^-4 MPH) would create the lift needed to keep the plane in the sky. Perhaps if it were a solar powered blimp...

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136920)

Nonetheless, he is on the right track. According to the second article, the craft only travels 50km/hr, which is approximately 400 miles over its 13 hour fight. While this flight may be a step in the right direction for solar powered travel, it still seems unimpressive compared to conventional travel means.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137130)

Stupid retard. Yeah, conventional is better. Fill your airplane with conventional fuel fifty years from now. Go ahead!

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137220)

I doubt the flow of air at 1 cm / min (3.7 10^-4 MPH) would create the lift neede

Might be just a lot of hot air blowing from Brussels.

Re:'International' Flight? (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136724)

So it went through Switzerland, France, and Belgium?

Still not that impressive; I'm working on a boomerang capable of traveling across four US states, which I plan to test in New Mexico.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136760)

You haven't got a fucking clue where any of those countries are, do you?
Now if they had said Austria, you would've though it went halfway around the world. :P

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136990)

Point ---> x

You ---> x

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

sunzoomspark (1960660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136928)

"With this flight, we would like to encourage politicians to opt for more ambitious energy policies,"
The point of the project is to attract attention to solar power and they seem to be doing a good job of that.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136992)

I was originally unimpressed as well until I realized that this plane did all this *without costing any fuel*.

From a more useful article [greenanswers.com]

The Solar Impulse crossed Switzerland, Luxembourg and France in its 630 kilometer (391.4 mile) journey.

Sure the speed was only like 30 miles per hour, but this at least is a working model that shows this works. As solar cells get even more efficient, it should be able to generate enough lift to speed up. Then it'll be able to start carrying goods as it gets even stronger. Watch as prices on shipping plummet, reducing prices on all goods. Then it becomes acceptable for people. Airplane ticket prices drop like rocks. And thus the world gets even smaller.

I mean, yeah, this is a hell of a way in the future considering cruising speed of a 747 passenger jet is 570mph [wikipedia.org] but it's a good first step.

Now I just need to worry about if it can fly in the dark...

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137154)

More like watch as prices on shipping plummet, while keeping the price of goods either the same or increasing them. It isn't often you ever see items becoming cheaper. People will just become richer as a result.

Re:'International' Flight? (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137170)

It seems to be a publicity stunt. I find it very unlikely that it'll ever be efficient to lug solar cells around on a plane - not to say that there won't be airliners run from solar power, just that generating that power onboard, in real time, seems ridiculously wasteful. The panels add weight, restrict the design, and depend on the aircraft being in the light pretty much continuously; rather than trying to cram a few square metres of solar cells on the wings, why not just use a whole field full of the things on the ground to produce the energy, and load it onto the plane in the form of (say) hydrogen?

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137614)

why not just use a whole field full of the things on the ground to produce the energy, and load it onto the plane in the form of (say) hydrogen?

You're pretty much right, this is largely a publicity stunt. No reasonably sized aircraft would be able to replenish a significant portion of its energy budget from the sunlight that lands on its body.

However, there is one niche where a solar powered aircraft would make sense -- lightweight drones that are meant run autonomously and stay up in the air for months or years at a time. For them, being able to "refuel" every day without landing anywhere would be a big plus.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138042)

> I find it very unlikely that it'll ever be efficient to lug solar cells around on a plane - not to say that there won't be airliners run from solar power, just that generating that power onboard, in real time, seems ridiculously wasteful.

I used to think so, but I have kind of changed my mind. There are a number of points in favour of adding solar cells:

a) If you can integrate them into the wing surface, the impact should be minimal.

b) Planes fly above the clouds, so you get more sunshine hours and higher energy than on the ground.

c) Fuel is heavy, too, and a significant amount of fuel is required just to get the rest of the fuel off the ground.

d) Planes last a long time - so you should be able to amortise quite nicely.

So overall there seems to be a case for it, especially as additional power on long distance flights. It may not be there yet, but the time will come.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137276)

The biggest problem I can see with getting up to jet speeds with an electric vehicle is the method of propulsion. How can you propel an e-plane aside from using a conventional prop? Perhaps the ducted fan could eventually replace the turbo prop.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137408)

It only used *no* fuel if the batteries were at the same level of charge at landing as they were prior to takeoff, othewise, they *did* use fuel.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

e70838 (976799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138212)

The batteries were at a higher level of charge at landing. They did produce fuel.

Re:'International' Flight? (0)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137142)

So it went through Switzerland, France, and Belgium?

Still not that impressive; I'm working on a boomerang capable of traveling across four US states, which I plan to test in New Mexico.

Make sure you pick your test site wisely or failure may result [roadsideamerica.com] .

Regarding your .sig: is that old, I thought Apple was on the outs these days?

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137128)

Switzerland to Belgium. So it wasn't just a hop across an adjacent border. And, as the summary says, they were in the air for almost 13 hours.

Three hundred miles is what someone says further down the thread. Not far by standards of the northern half of the western hemisphere. So again, the headline shouldn't be pimping the international aspect, rather the time aspect (which IS impressive).

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137506)

To give you an idea how fast that was. The Pony Express could do the three hundred miles in less time, at a cost of far less than 88 Million $.I know gliders that have traversed the Appalachia mountains in single day, a distance that is far greater. I still think the pedal powered flight from England to France is more impressive.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137604)

Speaking of pedal power, I wonder how that human helicopter did the other day. Local news said the first flight didn't work, but a second one was scheduled.

2x further than Solar Challenger (1)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138046)

The Solar Challenger did a 262km international flight from England to France in 1981. Given that the Solar Impulse has a max speed of 50km/h (from TFA) and was in the air almost 13 hours, that suggests a flight in the neighborhood of 600km. Not bad but then, one would expect some progress after 30 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Challenger [wikipedia.org]

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138168)

No no – it landed in Brussels in Switzerland. Glad to see that the US version of geography is alive and well.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136686)

The summary isn't very clear about the flight path. Clearly, this is the work of 'Wrong Way' Corrigan [wikipedia.org] .

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136802)

I actually did RTFA, and none of the articles mention the embarkation point. They mention mission control in Payerne, and that the plane went over the Jura mountains, and that the plane landed in Brussels, but never states where it took off from.

The summary isn't good (Brussels Switzerland?), but the articles suck.

Re:'International' Flight? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137144)

The summary isn't good (Brussels Switzerland?), but the articles suck.

Hrm, Slashdot isn't raising its standards to meet the rest of the world, the rest of the world is lowering theirs to meet slashdot...

Volatile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137052)

So what happens when the plane is hit with a strong headwind? Mongolia?

Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136590)

That would be _to_ Brussels, _from_ Switzerland, I'm guessing.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136908)

it's even worse since brussels is home to the EU parliament while swiss isn't in the EU

i am outraged... at this ignorance... damn cowboys should stick to wearing funny hats and riding their horses... :(

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137248)

Snobbery over American ignorance of geography always amuses me. The fact of the matter is that most people's knowledge of geography is limited to their own country and a few other countries which are important on the international stage. Nearly everyone could find India on a map, but only very few could do the same for, say, Lithuania or Azerbaijan.

In other words, don't expect the average person to know the geography of unimportant countries, like Belgium.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (1)

Corbets (169101) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137336)

Snobbery over American ignorance of geography always amuses me. The fact of the matter is that most people's knowledge of geography is limited to their own country and a few other countries which are important on the international stage. Nearly everyone could find India on a map, but only very few could do the same for, say, Lithuania or Azerbaijan.

In other words, don't expect the average person to know the geography of unimportant countries, like Belgium.

I'm American, yet I somehow am capable of understanding that Brussels isn't in Switzerland, just as many Europeans are capable of understanding that Miami isn't in New York.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137378)

Miami is too easy, it's well known for its sun & beaches. Same with NYC, LA, San Fran, Seattle, Houston.

Ask a representative sample of Europeans what state Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, or even Chicago are in, and see what the score is then. Heck, ask them what state Portland is in and see if they get the trick question.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137476)

Miami is too easy, it's well known for its sun & beaches. Same with NYC, LA, San Fran, Seattle, Houston.

As a native of Seattle, the LAST thing I'd think Seattle is known for is sun and beaches! Heck, I usually have to specify the State, right near Vancouver BC (not Vancouver, WA) to make people in Europe and Asia realize I'm not from Washington DC.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137542)

My mistake, the wording was off. Should have said

"Miami is too easy, it's well know for its sun & beaches. NYC, LA, etc. are too easy as well."

As for Seattle not being well known, that surprises me, though my assumptions are coloured by the fact that I grew up when Grunge was a Big Thing. That, and the fact that it neatly fits in one of the four corners of the continental USA (along with Boston, Miami, and San Diego).

Geography (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137802)

So when i say I'm going from Washington to Denver by road and it takes less than 4 hours.
Or
I'm going from London to Paris by road and it takes less than an hour.
What countries am I in?

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138216)

And Brussels isn't easy?

Re:Brussels, Switzerland, eh? (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137994)

The awful truth is that the very existence of Belgium is doubted by some:

http://zapatopi.net/belgium/

Not enough room for Jepp Charts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136596)

on that fancy solar plane? Otherwise someone would have noticed they were flying to Belgium, not Switzerland.

Re:Not enough room for Jepp Charts... (0)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136668)

// Subby needs to eat more Brussels sprouts so as not to make such mistakes[/fark off]

Awesome Geography ! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136716)

Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels, Switzerland.
Damn ... never knew Brussels was part of Switzerland ...O wait ... guess I should go hand in my Belgian passport and go request a Swiss one ....

Awesome Geography ./ !

Re:Awesome Geography ! (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137026)

Maar, ik wiet niet !

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136806)

Not wanting fancy QC for ./ - but OP should preferably understand the material posted, yes?

Video of landing not playing well (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136818)

Is it just me, or is youtube not meeting demand on Sunday afternoons and evenings? Or is it comcast?

editors (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136822)

Why the f even have editors here. Jeezus.

Re:editors (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136902)

To give you, and others, entertainment, of course. Why do you really come here, anyway? Come on, admit it, you LIKE complaining about English; we know....

Re:editors (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137118)

To introduce errors that we can all laugh at, of course! Daily lulz!

http://www.borsadigucci.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136842)

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Hoodie Ralph Lauren [fr-polo.com]

Big deal (0, Troll)

solarfreek (2160702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136872)

A glider [tinyurl.com] can soar for whole day if it has no pilot and sufficient wings. And they managed to fly from one puny country to another. I can set up an international flight using a paper plane. I just go close to the border and throw it. (Although border patrol might then held me up for suspicion of illegal transport of goods)

Don't click post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136980)

Gaytube, now really?

Re:Big deal (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137044)

The 'unshorten' [unshorten.com] site saved me from your troll, but there is a phenomenon I just discovered has a name, which sounds very trollish, called 'cloud suck' [mashpedia.com] . It can keep you aloft for a very long time and even kill you if it carries you too high. Hang gliders beware! And slashdotters beware of almost everybody with a UID over 2000000...

I would be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36136894)

I would be careful taking a red-eye on the Solar Powered airline!

Beat them (3, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136924)

I didn't fly across the Atlantic, a savings of 100%

The flight was the easy part (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136926)

The red tape they had to wade through to authorize it was much more painful... Actually crossing the EU probably isn't so bad... wait till they try to fly around the world.. Getting the proper clearances will take much longer than the trip itself... Just ask Dick Rutan

Re:The flight was the easy part (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137266)

Fly a transpolar route above water the whole way. No problem with permissions. Just that little detail about no light over one pole or the other...

Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137018)

Brussels is in Belgium. Obviously the Article was submitted by an American. I assume this was a Switzerland to Brussels flight. A few hundred kilometers. More if I see flight details.

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137254)

The article is posted on a non-American web site.

It is quite amazing how the various Europeans who post on this site manage to embarrass themselves so frequently.

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138152)

Your statement would be interessting, if it had anything to do with reality.

Yes, the article was posted on a non-American website.
But guess what: The article nowhere says that Brussels is in Switzerland.

So this was added by the editor here at ./ or by the person submitting the story. Either of whom are most probably American.

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138176)

FTFA:

After a flight lasting 12 hours 59 minutes, using no fuel and propelled by solar energy alone, Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels at 21h39 this evening (UTC +2). A crowd of supporters was there to celebrate the arrival in the European Communities’ capital of Bertrand Piccard’s and André Borschberg’s solar airplane.

The "Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels, Switzerland." part is an invention by the submitter or "editor".

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138240)

The article never claims that Brussels is in Switzerland, only the /. summary does. Your move, America.

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137540)

"Obviously the Article was submitted by an American."

Yeah, that's telling them! Those dumb Americans! I mean, it's not like they were developing solar-powered aircraft in back in the late 1970's or anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossamer_Penguin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Challenger

Clearly this example, whether a result of parapraxis or simple ignorance, is proof that all Americans just drool on themselves all day long.

Re:Brussels is in Belgium / Belge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137718)

... is proof that all Americans just drool on themselves all day long.

I know I do!

Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (3, Informative)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137074)

Actual flight path in title. Approx 660km @ 50km / hr, with cleared airspace due to special needs. See http://www.solarimpulse.com/blog/2011/05/13/all-lights-at-green/ [solarimpulse.com] Herzliche Glückwünsche to the team.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137238)

Actual flight path in title. Approx 660km @ 50km / hr, with cleared airspace due to special needs.

See http://www.solarimpulse.com/blog/2011/05/13/all-lights-at-green/ [solarimpulse.com]

Herzliche Glückwünsche to the team.

SZ? [wikipedia.org] Wow, Swaziland to Belgium is quite a hike.
Switzerland is .ch .

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137440)

Evidently you were assuming I was using tlds? Doch nein.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (3, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137622)

SZ? [wikipedia.org] Wow, Swaziland to Belgium is quite a hike.

And yet if you remove the superfluous punctuation [wikipedia.org] from your Wikipedia search you find that SZ is the "the NATO country code for Switzerland". Swaziland would then be WZ in that system.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (1, Informative)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137788)

Yeah, and we all live by NATO codes here on the continent. Right?

I would sooner point to the ISO3166 standard for country codes. There, Switzerland is still CH.

Having said that, ISO3166 doesn't quite match the vehicle codes used on the road.

I tend to look at the license plates on cars, where CH is Switzerland, but France would be F and Belgium would be B.

Here is a list of both the vehicle codes and the ISO3166 codes:
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landcodes_voor_voertuigen [wikipedia.org]

Oh, and by the way: Swaziland is SD respectively SZ. The NATO can kiss my ass.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (1)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137806)

By the way, its because Switzerland is a confederacy of Helvetians (Confoederatio Helvetica) that they're CH.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137920)

Yeah, and we all live by NATO codes here on the continent. Right?

Actually, I don't care what you personally use as I am not making any advocacy statements here regarding country codes. Suffice it to say that the original poster does use that particular system, and they were not incorrect to do so (as the Anonymous Coward who responded had assumed).

You seem to be taking such a trivial matter rather personally. Your animosity towards NATO should not dictate how other people must express themselves.

Re:Payerne (SZ) via Nancy (FR) to Brussels (BE) (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138008)

We should use the latin names for these former roman provinces

Design purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137582)

No range, no speed, it will not replace neither B-747 nor F-15 any time soon not even if it can go all around the word. Maybe it was designed just for test or for other purposes. It could stay flying high over a city for long time while retransmitting radio signals or with radar watching for low flying planes or missiles. Comparing it to a solar powered car does not make sense to me because the most basic reason an airplane is different from a car is because it can easily flight over land, mountains and water and that is impossible for a car solar powered or otherwise.

Brussels, Switzerland? (3, Funny)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137744)

I am deeply sorry, but I have to agree with TheNAM666 here. This does look like a typical American write-up. Just like that time a security lady at an airport in the US was questioning me about why my Dutch passport was made in Switzerland. It got made at the consulate in Stockholm. Or that time when the Israeli border check said the same damn thing.

I have found that both Americans and Israelis have displayed the most spectacular levels of ignorance about the world outside of their own country. More so than other travelers and people I've met in my life. That's not to say all Americans and Israelis are stupid, far from it. It's just that the ratio of numbnuts to decent conversationalists is significantly higher.

Coolest example ever was when Dutch customs at Schiphol airport were looking for something because they were asking every passenger that passed through a certain spot where they just arrived from. They put the question in Dutch first. An American lady in front of me looked at the customs officer and in reply to his "Pardon Mevrouw, waar komt uw vlucht vandaan?" she barked an irritated "I don't speak German".

He smiled, inclined his head and replied "That's alright, madam. Neither do I."

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137796)

I must apologize for the incident at the border crossing in Israel. Though most of the world seems unaware of it, our resources are very strained, and the education system is unfortunately rather poor in many areas. In contrast to the United States, I believe we are relatively aware of it, and would like to change it.

If that happened at an airport security check, and was not a ploy used to test you, it should be a reason for dismissal of the security agent. Please post again if it did.

The incident at Schiphol reminds me both of the depth of Dutch humour, and of the fact that while the Western Germanic languages are in fact very similar, speaking German in the Dutch lands (or not knowing the difference) is mistake not to be made twice. (IMO they are even kinder than most of Eastern Europe, to anyone who bothers to learn their language, much less some of the local dialects and customs).

The Swiss are somewhat a different story, but they have their own charms, as well.

It is hard for me to think any Schengen zone member (that excludes UK) would make the mistake of placing Brussels in Switzerland, except as a typo. And it should have been corrected by the moderators who accepted the article.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (1)

i ate my neighbour (1756816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137872)

I don't know about Hebrew, but in some languages the names Sweden and are Similar. They are "Isvec" and "Isvicre" in Turkish. Kind of like Australia and Austria. A common mistake the kids(and sometimes adults) make.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137912)

You do realize that the submission was from a Pakistani blog? And that the /. summary is verbatim? Perhaps European geography is not their strong suit?

No, what am I thinking, that's crazy talk. Americans are dumb, that must be it.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138248)

Slashdot outsources their editors to Pakistan now? That explains everything.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (2)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138050)

While I mostly agree with your post, I'd like to say that Dutch and German are pretty similar. It might hurt your pride, but they're basically the same language with a slightly different grammar and pronunciation.

I can speak 5 languages, but I'm really not sure I could tell the difference between Swedish and Danish, or even Japanase/Korean/Chinese, especially if you take different accents and pronunciations into account.

If you think I'm a numbnut, well, you know where you can shove your West Germanic language.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (2)

dutchd00d (823703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138172)

I can speak 5 languages, but I'm really not sure I could tell the difference between Swedish and Danish

I speak maybe 2.5 languages, and I am sure: I certainly couldn't tell the difference. But if someone at a Danish airport addresses me in a scandinavian-sounding language I'm not going to assume it's Swedish. Which is the equivalent of what happened here.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138196)

It is a reasonable assumption that somebody addressing you at a Dutch customs office would address you in Dutch, not German, even if you did not know either language for sure.

Think about it, if you flew over to Sweden and got addressed by a customs officer in an unfamiliar language which you determine could be either Swedish or Danish, which language would a reasonable person that is, as the GP put it, not a numbnut assume that it was? :-)

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138208)

While I mostly agree with your post, I'd like to say that Dutch and German are pretty similar. It might hurt your pride, but they're basically the same language with a slightly different grammar and pronunciation.

I can speak 5 languages, but I'm really not sure I could tell the difference between Swedish and Danish, or even Japanase/Korean/Chinese, especially if you take different accents and pronunciations into account.

If you think I'm a numbnut, well, you know where you can shove your West Germanic language.

Similar? British english and american english are similar. Dutch and German have the same base but are not similar. If you hear Japanase and Chinese you can here clearly a difference. Check out some Chinese videos on youtube. It doesn't matter if someone can speak 5 or 10 laguage. The point here is that if someone is writing public news he must be sure that such mistakes doesn't happen. Unfortunately it happens a lot. Especially from US people.

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138238)

This was about a question asked by a Dutch customs official when arriving in The Netherlands.

Common sense dictates that this person would be asking the question in Dutch, not German. And apparently repeated in English afterwards.

Vote: Least impressive Solar story of the decade. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36137770)

What? Less than three hundred miles!

Must have been a slow news day.

Here's how to make flight work (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36137812)

Aircraft require more high density energy than any other thing humans do (besides spacecraft). Getting off the ground with any significant amount of cargo and traveling at a useful speed of several hundred knots requires many gigajoules of energy. Only fossil fuels have that kind of energy density and power output : even nuclear is too darn heavy compared to jet fuel.

In the long run, eventually we'll run out of recoverable fossil fuel. There'll still be plenty of it in the ground, but the energy cost to remove one barrel of oil will be too high for it to be economically feasible. (if it took 1/2 or 1/3 a barrel of oil in energy to recover one barrel of output, it would probably not even be worth it).

At that point, we'll have to convert all our cars and trucks to electrically driven vehicles : not from batteries, but from wires above or in the road (or both). Robotic vehicles that grab onto an overhead wire and a rail in the pavement at the same time on the straight aways, switching to ultra-capacitors when they change lanes or make turns is what I am thinking of.

We'll power everything with nuclear or vast arrays of solar and wind. And for airplanes, we'll have to make jet fuel synthetically from coal or even from CO2 extracted right from the air.

Everything I just named already exists. Some of the engineering details have not been worked out, but it's just a matter of money. So don't panic, the Western world will be fine.

No mention of where it flew from... (1)

Squapper (787068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138038)

...it took of in Helsinki, Sweden.

fake video (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138118)

The video is a fake. No way is Switzerland that flat.

Brussels, Switzerland? (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138130)

Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels, Switzerland

Switzerland is not a member of the EU so it does not make sense to move the de-facto capitol of said union there. Why not just keep it to Brussels, Belgium instead?

Re:Brussels, Switzerland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36138218)

With the political situation in Belgium, regarding the political will of many in Dutch-speaking Flanders to split off from Belgium into a seperate country - the situation of Brussels, an enclave within Flanders becomes a problem - in which country should Brussels (which is predominantly but not entirely French-speaking) lie?

Selling Brussels off to Switzerland, letting the other two split-up countries get to divide what's left, seems like a perversely interesting idea. :-)

Last time I checked (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138142)

Last time I checked Brussels was in Belgium.

A revoluton in Aviation? Hah! (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36138210)

In 13 hours they only went 660 km? Thats not likely to be a practical alternative to jet powered planes. And its not like they can keep going much longer than that, solar power is not so good at night.

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