Solar-Powered Airplane on Round-the-World Flight
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane currently circumnavigating the globe, is now almost halfway between Japan and Hawaii on a 120-hour segment. Once it reaches Hawaii, it’ll have completed the longest leg of its 22,000-mile journey across the world — all on solar power! Progress is updated in real-time, with a live video feed, on their website: https://www.solarimpulse.com/
Charging by day and running off battery power at night, pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take turns at the helm. A variety of systems monitor everything from avionics to solar equipment to the pilots’ food, water, and oxygen rations.
Back in March, the Solar Impulse started its journey from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. After crossing the Pacific Ocean, the pilots will spend the next few months flying over the continental United States, across the Atlantic, and finally back to Abu Dhabi.
The Solar Impulse has more than 17,000 individual solar cells covering a wing-top surface area of about 320 square yards. Together they generate a little more than 60 kW of electricity, enough for the four electric motors to provide 15 horsepower to the propellers — if you were to install an array this size on your home’s roof, you’d need more than 240 panels!
This allows the plane to fly slowly (but efficiently) across the world at speeds not much faster than a passenger car—about 62 miles per hour on average.
There’s more information on the Solar Impulse Technical Details page. We wish them sunny days on their journey!For your land-based solar needs, Wholesale Solar is ready to help you customize the system of your dreams. See our website at https://www.wholesalesolar.com for various options, or give us a call at 1-800-472-1142 to speak to a live Solar Sales Technician who’ll help you through the whole process!