Recently in Real planes Category

Jetman coming to America! - Scratch that.

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As reported on CBC's website, Yves Rossy is planning to fly his jet powered backpack style wing over the Grand Canyon. That will make for some great photos, videos, etc. Here's wishing him good luck!

Update (an hour later): While the FAA gave him permission, Yves decided the time frame was too tight and canceled the flight, and he was not comfortable he would have time to train / practice flying in such a "challenging" space. Too bad. Looking forward to the next flight!

Manned solar powered flight achieved today!

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The news services are buzzing with word that Solar Impulse has achieved sustained flight. What is Solar Impulse? Amazing engineering.
Solar Impulse - alps
A 1,600kg manned solar fueled electric powered airplane.

200m^2 of solar cells provide power to run 4 x 7,500W motors (peak output). The solar panels only receive 250W/m^2 on average throughout the day, so that means only 6,000W total (1,500 / motor) of continuous thrust is possible.
The article notes that the plane glided for 87 minutes. I believe the media is taking some literary license with the word 'glided'. According to the new release from Solar Impulse, the plane took off, climbed to 1,200m on a test flight to familiarize the pilot with the handling, etc. The news release says the flight lasted 87 minutes - so I don't think there was much gliding going on (certainly not during the climb).
Solar Impulse - pilot
The technical details that have been released are impressive:

Wingspan:63,40 m
Length:21,85 m
Height:6,40 m
Weight:1 600 Kg
Motor power:4 x 10 HP electric engines
Solar cells:11 628 (10 748 on the wing, 880 on the horizontal stabilizer)
Average flying speed:70 km/h
Take-off speed:35 km/h
Maximum altitude:8 500 m (27 900 ft)

Their ultimate goal? Fly around the world, including flying at night.


Swiss adventurer hits sea while trying to fly from Morocco to Spain on jet-powered wings

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Yves is still out there pushing the envelope. His latest attempt to stretch the distance of his jet powered wing didn't go as far as hoped. He was attempting to fly between Morocco and Spain

Looks like strong winds may have been his undoing.

"strong winds buffeted him. At one point he flew through clouds and was lost from sight. Below him, a ferry sailed from Morocco to Spain. Sterzel says Rossy went down about a third of the way into the flight, but did not crash. Rather, it was his decision to ditch."

He was quickly rescued. No immediate word on the damage to his wing, or how soon before he tries again. As the sponsor is quoted as saying "Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved on the first attempt,".