Vice President, Rational Complex & Embedded Systems
As you know, this past week, a manned, solar powered airplane flew across the United States. This is something that only a few years ago seemed impossible, but all great milestones appear that way before they are accomplished. The amazing part is that this plane, powered by the sun, flew night and day in a continuous flight without using any other fuel source. When you consider that a lot of laptops can't last on a flight across the US, this is an amazing feat for solar power and battery storage.
“The aircraft, powered by about 11,000 solar cells, soars to 30,000 feet while poking along at a top speed of 45 mph. Most of the 11,000 solar cells are on the super-long wings that seem to stretch as far as a jumbo jet’s. It weighs about the size of a small car and soars with what is essentially the power of a small motorized scooter.
The Solar Impulse left San Francisco in early May and has made stopovers in Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dulles.”
Of course, this is only one more step in the constant evolution of both clean, renewable energy and aircraft design. The promise for efficient transportation rests squarely on the backs of engineers who will keep raising the bar!