Solar Power Airplane Takes Flight
With the advancement in solar power technology, a European company, Solar Flight developed the world’s first solar powered two-seater aircraft, the Sunseeker Duo. It has made its first flight a few months ago, and the company is testing the plane’s flight performance since then.
The two seater plane which looks like a sailplane, has a wingspan of 22 meters and weight of 280kg. With 1,510 solar cells lining the wings and tail surfaces, the Sunseeker Duo gathers energy from the sun to be stored in the lithium-polymer battery pack. The plane’s motor can put out 25kW of power, which is more than the team had initially hoped for, and stay aloft for as long as 12 hours.
“The lithium batteries today have seven times more capacity than the nickel cadmium batteries we used in Sunseeker I,” says project leader Eric Raymond. “When we first sketched the concept for this airplane, we couldn’t imagine solar cells with greater than 20 percent efficiency. These technologies are a dream come true.”
“We are working very hard to have the airplane tested and ready for passenger flights by this summer,” says Irene Raymond, the wife and project partner of Eric. “No sight is more captivating than Earth from above. It will be even more beautiful from the cockpit of a solar powered airplane.”
Watch the Sunseeker Duo take flight in the video below.