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Solar Impulse Airplane Makes Public Debut In Paris

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-does-it-lift-all-those-horses dept.

Power 26

dsmendes writes "The Solar Impulse airplane made its debut at the Paris Air Show with a 20 minute public voyage powered by nothing but solar cells, with 12,000 cells on the wings powering 4 10-horsepower motors."

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This went well, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628728)

"The subsequent 12 hour flight east proved to be a more tragic affair."

powered by nothing (3, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628776)

The Solar Impulse airplane made its debut at the Paris Air Show with a 20 minute public voyage powered by nothing but solar cells

- well, it's powered by nothing but solar cells and an average size star, which is about 1,000,000 km/diameter, hanging above our heads. If the Sun could have and express feelings, would it be bothered to know, we think it's nothing? What if it felt it was unappreciated and decided to leave (or at least to leave France)? Let them try and power those planes by nothing and solar cells without the Sun :)

Re:powered by nothing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628802)

I'll have what you're having.

Re:powered by nothing (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628904)

Let them try and power those planes by nothing and solar cells without the Sun :)

Hey; they could always power those panels with oil lamps.

Re:powered by nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628932)

The oil which came from squished up animals who ate plants who got their energy from photosynthesis, which is powered by...

Re:powered by nothing (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629678)

Brilliant!

Re:powered by nothing (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631086)

I am not sure it's brilliant enough.

Re:powered by nothing (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629194)

What if it felt it was unappreciated and decided to leave (or at least to leave France)?

They'll just build more nuclear power plants.

Re:powered by nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630254)

funnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

the funniest things often are the truest things ..

Re:powered by nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36636516)

Also, adding multiple copies of letters seems to help people feel like it was funnier.

Bumpy Ride (1)

kullnd (760403) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629146)

"This is your pilot speaking, in Paris it is 15C and partly cloudy. We anticipate a bumpy approach so please remain seated with seat belts secured. Flight attendants, prepare the cabin for landing."

Oh, it's manned (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629232)

I see this carries a person. I think of the primary benefit of solar aircraft being the potential for "perpetual" flight, e.g. as a cheap alternative to a satellite. Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight, other than the technical challenge of doing so? (It's a neat accomplishment, either way).

Re:Oh, it's manned (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36629366)

[[ Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight, other than the technical challenge of doing so?]]

I believe the purchase and maintenance of the average airliner over its lifespan costs less than the fuel they put through it. So, removing the fuel cost would be really neat.

Re:Oh, it's manned (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36629488)

Removing even a part of the cost would be "really neat". I imagine they could try mounting some of those solar power elements on top of specially designed plane's wings to power some of electrical systems on board at least.

Re:Oh, it's manned (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630150)

"perpetual" will only work if it can stay in the air in the dark using additional power it gathered during the day. Otherwise it has to be able to keep up with the sun... I read that it has batteries, but if it has enough batteries to store enough charge to stay in the air through ~12 hours of darkness then we could ditch the solar cells and run planes on batteries and just charge them when they land.

Re:Oh, it's manned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630296)

"...run planes on batteries and just charge them when they land."

Then the plane would be nuclear powered (or hydroelectric/oil/coal/geothermal powered...).

Re:Oh, it's manned (2)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630320)

Otherwise it has to be able to keep up with the sun...

I feel like they could get some military funding for this thing by saying that they want to upgrade it to "outrun the terminator."

Re:Oh, it's manned (2)

andrewme (1562981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630562)

It looks, from a cursory glance, that the manufacturers intend to do just that. I quote: "The Solar Impulse solar plane, which in 2010 demonstrated it could harvest enough energy by day to stay aloft all night, will soon take its first international flight. The team will be headed by Bertrand Piccard, the man who piloted the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, and will leave from Brussels on May 2nd." This, on , posted 4/29/11. Hats off to the engineers and scientists behind this.

Re:Oh, it's manned (1)

andrewme (1562981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630570)

This URL [inhabitat.com] got trimmed. Sorry!

Re:Oh, it's manned (3, Informative)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630986)

This is what this plane is doing. It charges its batteries during the day, while flying, and discharges them during the night. It has already flown during a complete day-night cycle.

Re:Oh, it's manned (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631316)

The motivation need only be "because it's fun".

Gliders don't have a practical purpose, but we make them and make them big enough to put one or two people in, and there are a lot of them around. There are people who just want to fly for fun.

Re:Oh, it's manned (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36633288)

Is there a motivation for manned solar-powered flight.

Zero fuel use. Zero CO2 emission. Goes from point A to point B by flight. What other motivation do you need ?

Finally (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630062)

I, for one, welcome our Cloud(tm) fearing overlords

Plugged into the socket! (1)

solidraven (1633185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630604)

What is not in the article is that they had to charge the plane before it left Brussels.

Re:Plugged into the socket! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36632806)

Because it's not really relevant.
It wasn't planned at all. They had to charge it because of an incident and they didn't want to lose the beginning of the Bourget air show.
But before living Brussels, it made a flight on solar only.

NASA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36635702)

Didn't NASA develop a solar plane back in 2003?

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