• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Solar Impulse plane starts bid to cross US

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Wishing success for this historic flight!

"A plane powered only by the Sun has set off from San Francisco on the first leg of a bid to cross the US with no fuel.

The Solar Impulse craft will stop in Phoenix, Dallas, St Louis, Washington DC and New York in the coming weeks.

The team's plane has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but weighs only as much as an average car.

It has already made a day-and-night flight lasting more than 26 hours, and the team aims to eventually circumnavigate the globe in 2015.

The plane took off from Moffett Field on the edge of San Francisco Bay at 06:12 local time (13:12 GMT). It should take about 19 hours to complete the first leg of the American crossing to Phoenix.

The craft's wings and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which in daylight hours charge an array of lithium-ion batteries in gondolas that hang below the wing.

Together, these provide power to the plane's four electric motors and allow flight in daylight and night conditions."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-en...ment-22369680#
 

shlunka

Fourum Addmean
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
1,758
Reaction score
1,110
Location
Land of the sodomizers
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
This is awesome! Until you find yourself in a storm with no sunlight. :)
 

Knowledge=power

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Messages
1,398
Reaction score
392
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Wishing success for this historic flight!

"A plane powered only by the Sun has set off from San Francisco on the first leg of a bid to cross the US with no fuel.

The Solar Impulse craft will stop in Phoenix, Dallas, St Louis, Washington DC and New York in the coming weeks.

The team's plane has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but weighs only as much as an average car.

It has already made a day-and-night flight lasting more than 26 hours, and the team aims to eventually circumnavigate the globe in 2015.

The plane took off from Moffett Field on the edge of San Francisco Bay at 06:12 local time (13:12 GMT). It should take about 19 hours to complete the first leg of the American crossing to Phoenix.

The craft's wings and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which in daylight hours charge an array of lithium-ion batteries in gondolas that hang below the wing.

Together, these provide power to the plane's four electric motors and allow flight in daylight and night conditions."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-en...ment-22369680#

I'm sure we've had the technology for years, but oil money is just too enticing for people to unveil it. We should all be driving electric cars and flying in electric planes.
 

Dittohead not!

master political analyst
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
51,236
Reaction score
33,408
Location
The Golden State
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Wishing success for this historic flight!

"A plane powered only by the Sun has set off from San Francisco on the first leg of a bid to cross the US with no fuel.

The Solar Impulse craft will stop in Phoenix, Dallas, St Louis, Washington DC and New York in the coming weeks.

The team's plane has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but weighs only as much as an average car.

It has already made a day-and-night flight lasting more than 26 hours, and the team aims to eventually circumnavigate the globe in 2015.

The plane took off from Moffett Field on the edge of San Francisco Bay at 06:12 local time (13:12 GMT). It should take about 19 hours to complete the first leg of the American crossing to Phoenix.

The craft's wings and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which in daylight hours charge an array of lithium-ion batteries in gondolas that hang below the wing.

Together, these provide power to the plane's four electric motors and allow flight in daylight and night conditions."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-en...ment-22369680#

That is way cool!
Imagine the possibilities of unmanned aircraft that could stay aloft indefinitely above the clouds and storms. They could take the place of satellites, but at a fraction of the cost.
 

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
That is way cool!
Imagine the possibilities of unmanned aircraft that could stay aloft indefinitely above the clouds and storms. They could take the place of satellites, but at a fraction of the cost.

Indeed, this leap in ability is nearly as exciting as the days of the Wright brothers first flight!
 
Last edited:

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Interesting, I wonder if the future will allow this technology to be minimized in size for casual flyers?


Think of how much computers have changed from when the first one looked like this -

sage_computer.jpg
 

Oozlefinch

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
13,590
Reaction score
10,423
Location
State of Jefferson
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
This is actually pretty cool. Last week while I was waiting for the ferry to take me home I got to see this flying over the bay for about an hour. I tried to get a photo of it, but there was just not enough contrast and you could not see it.
 

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
This is actually pretty cool. Last week while I was waiting for the ferry to take me home I got to see this flying over the bay for about an hour. I tried to get a photo of it, but there was just not enough contrast and you could not see it.


Cool! It must be a sight in person. The pictures I've seen are impressive!
 

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Here's a pretty good pic of it (I like the bicycle out front for comparison and symbolism) -

Solar+Plane+050313.jpg
 

Oozlefinch

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
13,590
Reaction score
10,423
Location
State of Jefferson
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Cool! It must be a sight in person. The pictures I've seen are impressive!

It was. I stopped and was watching it as it flew in circles between the Ferry Terminal and Treasure Island, and it was totally silent. It was funny to see people stare at us, having no idea what we were looking at. Then we would point it out, and the reaction was normally some variation of "Holy shoot!" At times it would turn to the West where there was a strong wind, and it appeared to just hover there in one place.
 

Your Star

Rage More!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
27,241
Reaction score
19,930
Location
Georgia
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Progressive
Think of how much computers have changed from when the first one looked like this -

sage_computer.jpg

And the crappiest of phones have more computing power than that behemoth, just awesome when you think about it.
 

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
It was. I stopped and was watching it as it flew in circles between the Ferry Terminal and Treasure Island, and it was totally silent. It was funny to see people stare at us, having no idea what we were looking at. Then we would point it out, and the reaction was normally some variation of "Holy shoot!" At times it would turn to the West where there was a strong wind, and it appeared to just hover there in one place.


Way cool! I would imagine with the extremely low weight and design it handles much the way a glider would in the air currents. I'm hoping there will be much footage of it in its cross country flight. But nothing can beat seeing it fly in person. You are lucky to have seen it!
 

Oozlefinch

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
13,590
Reaction score
10,423
Location
State of Jefferson
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
And the crappiest of phones have more computing power than that behemoth, just awesome when you think about it.

Oh you have no idea!

I actually did my first programming on an IBM 360, programming COBOL on keypunch cards. State of the art in 1979, but I think my cell phone is much more powerful then even that "modern computer" of only a few decades ago. Of course, everything has changed since then.

I remember when Hard Drives were called "Winchesters", and we called the machines they rested in "Washing Machines".

PH3340.jpg


Ahhh, the good old days.
 

the_recruit

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
4,207
Reaction score
2,615
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Interesting, I wonder if the future will allow this technology to be minimized in size for casual flyers?

Nope. There are fundamental flaws that are unavoidable. Solar energy is too diffuse. Regardless of how efficient your solar panels are, the surface area of the craft needs to be so large to scoop up enough energy that it will never be very practical.
 

shlunka

Fourum Addmean
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
1,758
Reaction score
1,110
Location
Land of the sodomizers
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Nope. There are fundamental flaws that are unavoidable. Solar energy is too diffuse. Regardless of how efficient your solar panels are, the surface area of the craft needs to be so large to scoop up enough energy that it will never be very practical.
Unless a material is discovered to make the aircraft lighter. Carbon nano tubes perhaps? Though, that would be very far into the future.
 

the_recruit

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
4,207
Reaction score
2,615
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Unless a material is discovered to make the aircraft lighter. Carbon nano tubes perhaps? Though, that would be very far into the future.

Most of the power necessary for flight is to fight drag (wind resistance). Drag is affected by the vehicle shape, size, and speed. Reducing the weight allows you reduce the speed necessary to remain airborne, but the sheer size of the vehicle (and remember large size is necessary - to scoop up the diffuse solar energy) means it will be facing a lot of drag.
 

Catawba

Disappointed Evolutionist
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
27,254
Reaction score
9,350
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Watch a solar plane fly across America | Grist

"All-solar plane Solar Impulse has already successfully flown from Switzerland to Belgium. Now it’s trekking across the U.S., and you can watch its progress with live video feed of the cockpit and mission control. You can also track it with the live map here."
 

longknife

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
1,385
Reaction score
501
Location
Sin City
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
IMHO, solar power for winged aircraft will never be totally viable. It might be extremely advantageous for blimps or dirigibles though. Just what it might take to make them useful again. Non-polluting and extremely quiet.
 

MoSurveyor

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
10,016
Reaction score
3,900
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
IMHO, solar power for winged aircraft will never be totally viable. It might be extremely advantageous for blimps or dirigibles though. Just what it might take to make them useful again. Non-polluting and extremely quiet.
IDK about extremely quiet. I remember seeing one bucking a heck of a headwind and it sounded like a wing of Cessna's from a half mile away.

I still wouldn't mind seeing them come back, though. :)
 

longknife

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
1,385
Reaction score
501
Location
Sin City
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
IDK about extremely quiet. I remember seeing one bucking a heck of a headwind and it sounded like a wing of Cessna's from a half mile away.

I still wouldn't mind seeing them come back, though. :)

[Showing my age!]
I clearly remember seeing US Navy blimps flying over the Southern California coast when I was growing up. Would go to the beach and sit in the sand for hours wishing I could be up there in one of them.

I also remember watching one of the early flying wings in the same skies.

images
 

fmw

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Messages
12,361
Reaction score
3,358
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
It is a matter of battery technology. The current state of the art for storage capacity for weight is the lithium polymer. Those are the batteries that burned up in that airliner and in some of the electric cars. They will have to do much better in future to make battery powered flight commercially viable. But I do tip my hat to these pioneers. I hope they acheive their goals.
 
Top Bottom