A Solar-Powered Plane Landed at DFW Airport Last Night After a Record-Breaking Trip

SolarImpulseFlight.jpg
Solar Impulse
At sunrise on Wednesday, an airplane took off from Phoenix International Airport, eventually landing 1,000 miles to the east in Dallas. That in itself is hardly remarkable. Commercial jets travel the same path dozens of times each day. What was different about this journey was that the aircraft, the Solar Impulse, is powered by sunlight. When it touched down at DFW Airport just after 1 a.m., running off battery power for the trip's final hours, it had just completed the world's longest-ever solar powered flight.

Piloting the vessel was Andre Borschberg, a Swiss entrepreneur who helped launch the Solar Impulse project a decade ago. Three years ago, he piloted the plane for a record 26 hours though, with an average speed of 26 miles per hour, he covered significantly less ground than he did on the Dallas trip.

"It shows that with this technology, we can really do something in terms of controlling, reducing our energy consumption," Borschberg told reporters after landing at DFW, where the vessel will remain for about a week.

The stop in Dallas is the completion of the second leg of the Solar Impulse's cross-country journey, which started in May. The eventual goal, tentatively eyed for completion in 2015, is to circumnavigate the globe.

And here's a video from Solar Impulse of the plane landing at DFW:

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
Josh Bullard
Josh Bullard

It's funny how many people thought this was a U.F.O.. Idiots.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

On the contrary, this technology does have potential applications.

 Say you want an aerial platform with the ability to remain airborne for very long periods of time -- monitoring the environment, for example. You'd want something like the Solar impulse. Flies almost forever, unlimited range, no need to refuel. With a light improvement in batteries, a larger payload.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

Problem is you are never going to move significant weights with solar power without improving the solar cells so this is a dead end technology.  Go improve the cells first.

keeponkeepinitdown
keeponkeepinitdown

"It shows that with this technology, we can really do something in terms of controlling, reducing our energy consumption," 

No, not really.

"The flight took more than 18 hours"




John1073
John1073

I'm going to see it Saturday. Should be neat.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@bmarvel That is true.  There are some practical applications.  However,  this quote: "It shows that with this technology, we can really do something in terms of controlling, reducing our energy consumption,"  Is pretty much complete bullshit.

kduble
kduble

@roadsidecouch The trash you guys are talking would have fit right in with comments made about automobiles and airplanes 100 years ago.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@roadsidecouch But even at 100% solar efficiency, it's still useless.  The earth just doesn't receive that much solar energy over such a small surface area.  

kduble
kduble

@keeponkeepinitdown Keep in mind the Wright brother's first flight lasted 12 seconds and was only 120 feet. That's less than the wingspan of the Solar Impulse.

keeponkeepinitdown
keeponkeepinitdown

@kduble @keeponkeepinitdown Ok great. But unless you somehow figure out a way to create solar panels that produce energy at more than 100% efficiency then the laws of physics are going to stop this from being very useful for anything other than tourist hang gliding like attractions and rich guy weekend toys.

The claim that this shows we can reduce our energy consumption is bogus. It doesn't show anything at all. 

keeponkeepinitdown
keeponkeepinitdown

@cynicaloldbastard @keeponkeepinitdown What's the end result here? Even at 100% efficiency this can never replace or even come close to the utility of a combustion engine. 

It's just another eccentric rich guy toy like Tesla cars. Totally useless in the real world. 

kduble
kduble

@keeponkeepinitdown @kduble  Had you been standing on the beach at Kitty Hawk 110 years ago, you'd have been saying the same stuff. That's the great thing about inventions: Nobody knows where it would lead.

When computers used vacuum tubes and 7-inch reels, you wouldn't have seen much potential for that, either.

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

@keeponkeepinitdown  

In 1990 I used an IBM 286 computer with a 14,400 bps modem.  What was the point of continuing to invest in computer technology and development?

What is your background in solar and battery technology that makes you an expert in the future of solar aircraft and electric cars?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...