VIDEO: Solar-powered Plane Makes First Flight

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Pei-chen

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NASA's Pathfinder-Plus reached 80,201 ft and stayed above 70,000 ft for three and a half hours while carrying 68 pounds of test instrumentation and other payload (including pilot) back in 1998.
 

bogcotton

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[citation][nom]Marco925[/nom]It's a step! A step forward that one day we might have a Zero Emissions plane![/citation]

This is possible, but you will be travelling around 50 MPH.

A much better solution is a maglev train, this can potentially be 'zero emmisions' and also travel around 350 MPH in normal air, or 1000s of MPH if we develop low pressure or vaccuum tunnels.
 

cryogenic

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Looks very fragile, I wonder what will happen to that plain when a storm hits, and if it has enough power to outrun a storm, 40 to 45 mph doesn't seem that much.
 
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The engine noise in the background is misleading. Electric engines do not make any considerable noise. What I hear is a helicopter taking off in the background. This should have been claryfied in the video.
 

gwwerner

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They had better get started on that flight around the world. If they fly around the equator at 45 MPH the trip will take about 23 days. Hopefully the plane has autopilot so the pilot doesn't have to stay awake the whole time.
 

victomofreality

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[citation][nom]bogcotton[/nom]This is possible, but you will be travelling around 50 MPH.A much better solution is a maglev train, this can potentially be 'zero emmisions' and also travel around 350 MPH in normal air, or 1000s of MPH if we develop low pressure or vaccuum tunnels.[/citation]

So many issues here. One is that trains don't work on water so you'll still need plains for intercontinental travel. Two not zero emissions, it requires electricity to run and if your getting that from something like a coal plant then there is horribly high emissions. Three the energy and resources that go into making the track and the damage that it will do to the land it's being built on. Fourth is the shear ammount of track we would have to lay in North America to replace a plain with high speed rail.

Don't miss understand me I'm a huge supporter of high speed rail and it saddens me how far behind North America is on this trend. It's just that it is well suited to replace short range commuter flights but not replace planes all together.
 

mlopinto2k1

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So what your saying is, I can get in my car and drive 80+mph on the NYS thruway and get there in half the time this thing can. Plus, it's dangerous as all get-out. It's too light. The wingspan is too great. It'll tear to shreds in really strong winds. Or crash. Not enough power.
 

enzo matrix

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[citation][nom]mlopinto2k1[/nom]Plus, it's dangerous as all get-out. It's too light. The wingspan is too great. It'll tear to shreds in really strong winds. Or crash. Not enough power.[/citation]
As a pilot I gotta say, no it won't. Unless you totally screw up. Considering gliders are designed the same (except for the engines, it looks exactly like a glider), I suppose you consider them dangerous as all get-out too? As for running out of power, turn off the engines. The large wingspan vs short chord along with the light weight will make it an excellent glider. A good 20 minutes gliding at the same speed as flying will probably bring it back up to full power. Then gain back the
 

wawa sxm

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are the solar cells used only for take off? with a wing span like that i would think it glides more than anything....i guess its used as well to reach 40-50mph but is that just a burst for a couple minutes? if what i think is true this doesn't seem like advancing cell tech, more like using existing tech to do nice things
 

reconspartan

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[citation][nom]victomofreality[/nom]So many issues here. One is that trains don't work on water so you'll still need plains for intercontinental travel. Two not zero emissions, it requires electricity to run and if your getting that from something like a coal plant then there is horribly high emissions. Three the energy and resources that go into making the track and the damage that it will do to the land it's being built on. Fourth is the shear ammount of track we would have to lay in North America to replace a plain with high speed rail.Don't miss understand me I'm a huge supporter of high speed rail and it saddens me how far behind North America is on this trend. It's just that it is well suited to replace short range commuter flights but not replace planes all together.[/citation]
Putting a train under water seems much more feasible than getting a 100 acre solar plant to fly. From the perspective of an EE student, I don't think solar aircraft will ever be capable of providing a means of mass transit.

@Whoever is responsible for making this website work: Comment box and corresponding functions are not working in IE8. Had to use firefox
 

nebun

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just use a nuclear power plant...the rods need to be replaced only every 15 to 20 years or so. now this is green, and get all the power you need :)
 

10tacle

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[citation][nom]victomofreality[/nom]Don't miss understand me I'm a huge supporter of high speed rail and it saddens me how far behind North America is on this trend. It's just that it is well suited to replace short range commuter flights but not replace planes all together.[/citation]

It's not that America is "behind", and I'm assuming you mean Europe there. They have been trying to increase high speed rail use in the single heaviest traveled short hop corridor in the nation: between Washington DC and New York. However, it is economically unfeasible and people still prefer to either drive or fly. See this link for all the high speed rails corridors:

http://www.fra.dot.gov/Pages/203.shtml

America is too spread out to have high speed rail, and there is a lot of NIMBY issues. I sure as hell don't want a 200mph train cutting through my back yard. I can deal with a 500 mph airplane 30,000 feet above my roof.
 

10tacle

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[citation][nom]nebun[/nom]just use a nuclear power plant...the rods need to be replaced only every 15 to 20 years or so. now this is green, and get all the power you need[/citation]

We've been using those on aircraft carriers and submarines for nearly half a century. Nothing new about that, but for an aircraft, it's already been pondered: nobody wants to deal with the mess a crashed nuclear powered aircraft would cause in a populated area.
 
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