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Solar powered aircraft record

Posted by on in Renewable Energy Blog
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After touching down at 8:30pm CET on 24th July 2012, after a 6,000-kilometer (3700-mile) journey, the Solar Impulse HB SIA airplane broke the world record for the farthest distance ever travelled on a solar-powered aircraft.

For the entire duration of the trip, the plane was powered using four 10-horsepower motors powered exclusively by energy gathered from 11,628 photovoltaic panels. Regardless of the weather, these panels harvested the energy produced from the daylight where they then stored the energy using 400 kilograms worth of lithium batteries.


On 6th June 2012, the Solar Impulse already became the first solar powered airplane to complete an intercontinental flight when it flew on a first leg of the longer mission from Madrid, Spain to Rabat, Morocco. Landing between stops, each leg of the plane's record-breaking journey consisted of
approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles), achieved with an average flying speed of 70km/hr.

Measuring 21.85 meters in length and 6.4 meters in height, the HB-SIA features a large wingspan of 63.4 meters despite weighing about as much as an average car at 1600kg. Its light weight is accomplished through the structural use of carbon fiber and all flight instrumentation and other equipment takes into account the need for energy efficiency as well as reliability in the relatively difficult conditions that are encountered at high altitudes.


The research and technology that went into the Solar Impulse HB SIA is considered a first prototype for the construction of another aircraft, the 'HB-SIB'. Featuring a more spacious cockpit that will permit its single passenger to lie reclined for up to 4-6 days on end, this second airplane is expected to conduct an around-the-world flight between April and July 2014



Information adapted from designboom.com website

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