Solar Impulse 2 - Around the World Flight on Sunshine Begins Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Commerical Transportation' started by xcel, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] An adventure of incomparable grandeur and if accomplished, an achievement of epic notoriety.

    Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Mar. 8, 2015

    Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) in preps for the around the world flight.

    The original Solar Impulse prototype’s 8 world records including the being the first solar plane to ever to fly through the night, between two continents, and across the United States, the Solar Impulse Team is at it again.

    This time, they plan on flying around the world on nothing but the power they absorb by the sun.

    The Around-the-World Mission Flights will take place over 5 months and begin and end in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.

    The Si2 will take-off from Abu Dhabi in early March and return by late July or early August 2015. The route includes stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China. After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the Continental U.S.A. stopping in Phoenix, somewhere in the Midwest depending on weather conditions and New York City’s JFK. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.

    In early February the Solar Impulse team unveiled the flight path alongside partner representatives.

    Solar Impulse is currently in the process of confirming the steps from Abu Dhabi, and would make stops in Asia, the United States and in Southern Europe and North Africa before returning to Abu Dhabi in July 2015.

    The Solar Impulse 2 at Altitude and Cruise

    [​IMG]

    The First Round-The-World Solar Flight by the numbers:
    • 2 pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, flying one after the other in the single-seater cockpit
    • 1 airplane: Solar Impulse 2
    • Zero fuel
    • 22,000 mile journey
    • 500 flying hours
    • 10 legs, some lasting more than 5 days and nights
    • A 5-month mission (March-August 2015)
    • A 60 person support team
     
  2. rhwinger

    rhwinger Well-Known Member

    Wow. This would be an interesting project to be involved in!

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
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  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bob:

    I read they had a successful takeoff this morning. I will try and keep track of the progress from time to time.

    Wayne
     
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  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    What altitude do you suppose they fly at ? I know they may have to cross some mountain ranges , but doesn't it take less power to keep the plane aloft at a lower altitude ?

    Bob, you know a thing or three about this.
     
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  5. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    Their altitude will vary depending on the time of day, gradually climbing to 28,000 ft over the course of the day while the sun is providing excess power to the solar panels and taking advantage of the brighter, unhazy sunlight at higher altitude, then gradually losing altitude to 5000 ft during the night as they nurse their energy stores until the sunrise. It doesn't take any more energy to fly at a higher altitude, but it does take energy to climb up to that altitude (which you get back as glide when descending). But at a higher altitude you can fly faster for the same energy output since the thinner air produces less drag and stall speed and most efficient cruising speed are faster compared to their values at a lower altitude. Their main enemy will be aerial turbulence and headwinds (it has a cruise speed of 28mph).
     
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  6. litesong

    litesong litesong

    Get anywhere near a jet stream & it'll break them. Normal 550mph jetliners look for jet streams & sizzle along at 740mph!!!

    Are they flying west to east, so they'll have an extended time during the day to charge batteries? I love slow pokey driving with my car(live in beautiful Washington state & love to look longingly & for a long time at my varying views). But 28mph is ssslllooowww. Maybe a tailwind will get them up to 60 mph. Still, from 28,000 feet, that is......... ssslllooowww.
     
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  7. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I don't know which way they're going, but would imagine that in making that choice, minimizing the time of flying in darkness would be more critical than maximizing time in daylight each day. Anyway, the direction of prevailing winds would be a more important consideration.
     
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  8. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    They are flying eastward around the world.
     
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  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Andrew Chiang posted this earlier today.

    Surprised there haven't been posts recently (I don't think) on Solar Impulse.

    I hadn't really followed them after the following aired (bad frame rate, but I'd seen the segment on TV:



    Apparently, they had a 9-month delay: Experimental Solar-Powered Plane Takes Flight After 9-Month Delay

    I did watch them land at Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA (on a side road near the field since there was no public access to the base) on ~April 23rd. That was their Pacific Ocean crossing.

    They recently finished their Atlantic crossing: Leg 15 - New York - Seville and are getting close to done (by landing in Abu Dhabi).
     
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