In the month when the World Environment Day is celebrated, the Solar powered plane have completed its test journey! The test journey was the maiden attempt to have the solar powered aircraft fly for 24 hours (i.e. the day and the night). As the journey went successful, it shows the new hope for alternate energy sources. The experimental plane was not like the commercial aircraft of course.
More overwhelming stuff for us is actually the night journey of the air craft, which proved that it is capable to store the energy in the day time from solar rays in the amount sufficient for the night flight. We are on the threshold of energy crisis. The limited amount of petroleum is enough to server for a few years only. The next option we have to think about are the promising alternative sources. Solar power is of course the best alternative if we are capable to manage store and use it effectively. The success of this plane affirms us that we are on the right way.
Andre Borschberg, the pilot of this test flight have of course get his name marked in the history for this successful attempt. Earlier also the test flights were arranged but they were for the smaller period, hence this is rightfully considered as a milestone in the segment.
Some interesting facts:
- The plane was armed with 4 electric engines, 10 horsepower capacity each.
- There are 10748 solar cells framed on the top of the wings to collect the solar energy.
- The weight of the batteries carried is one quarter of the plane’s total weight. So we need to see if this could be reduced remarkably.
- The total weight of the plane was around 3500 lbs.
- The test flight was carried with the flying speed of 43.5 miles per hour, definitely people are looking for enhancements in this segment as well.
- The maximum altitude the plane is reached upto is 28000 ft. Most domestic flights, fly over around 30000 ft.
- The next flight is scheduled in 2013. It is planned as the around-the-world-trip with only 5 stops.
- One of the flight decorators is the former NASA chief pilot Rogers E. Smith, and he is happy with test flight results.