Somewhere Out There, A Solar Airplane is Gliding Silently Across Europe
Don't worry, this plane's photo op won't freak you out!
We've got solar-powered golf carts. We've got solar-powered buses. We've even got solar-powered vacation lodges.
And now we're going to have solar-powered airplanes. From Wired.com
[Eric] Raymond’s eight-country tour of the continent in Sunseeker II... would be the first trans-European flight in a manned solar plane.The environmentally friendly aircraft developed by Solar Flight will highlight the potential for electric aircraft to shape air travel, and may even point to design efficiencies that could benefit fossil-fueled planes.
The airplane, created by e-plane company Solar Flight, apparently floats above the earth in absolute silence. It's designed to recharge mid-flight in all kinds of cool ways and can run either off solar power or off batteries. The entire thing weighs about as much as a motorcycle, measuring only 23 feet long and with a 17 foot wingspan. It has a top speed of 80mph on batteries and can reach 40mph running just on solar power alone.
Of course those dimensions mean that it's not viable for commercial air flight any time soon. But the article at Wired explains that there's a wide range of work being done on green air technology, from startups building e-planes to Boeing's experimental hydrogen fuel-cell aircrafts. And in the meantime: neat!
· Solar Plane Set to Soar Over Europe [Wired.com]
· Forget Planes, Fly Your Car Instead [Jaunted]
[Photo via Wired.com]