Solar plane flight aborted due to bad weather

Solar impulse at Brussels Airport, author Brussels Airport, Wikimedia share license

Solar impulse at Brussels Airport, author Brussels Airport, Wikimedia share license

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Solar Impulse 2, an attempt to raise awareness of the environmental issues, by flying around the world the world using solar energy, has been forced to abort an attempt to fly from Japan to Hawaii due to bad weather.

According to the National Geographic;

The Solar Impulse 2, a plane attempting to fly around the world using solar power, was forced to land Monday in Nagoya, Japan due to inclement weather.

The experimental aircraft — flown and financed by Swiss businessman and pilot André Borschberg — is now two months into its quest to become the first solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the Earth.

Read more: http://time.com/3903110/solar-impulse-plane/

The Solar Impulse information page spells out its green mission:

Since the ecological movement appeared on the scene in the 1970s, an irreconcilable conflict has divided those who want to protect nature, and who call for reductions in mobility, comfort and growth, from those in business and industry who defend people’s employment and purchasing power. Today, for the first time, this cleavage can be bridged, and the answer is clean technology. At last, technologies exist which can simultaneously protect the environment in a cost-effective manner and bring profits to companies.

The problem with our society is that, despite all the grand talk about sustainable development, we are a long way from making use of the clean technologies that are already available to us. Every hour, our world consumes around a million tons of petrol, not to mention other fossil fuels, spits back out into the atmosphere enough polluting emissions to disrupt the climate, and leaves half of the population stagnating in totally unacceptable living conditions. And yet, everything could already be so different…

Read more: http://info.solarimpulse.com/en/our-story/ambassador-of-the-future/

What can I say – I admire Borschberg’s courage at attempting such a difficult feat. But his failed attempt to fly to Hawaii was surely a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with renewables. Borschberg’s plane can’t carry cargo or passengers, it can barely carry its own weight. It would have been impossible to construct without high tech petroleum based plastics. And when the weather turned against him, Borschberg’s ingenuity and courage was helpless to overcome the inherent shortcomings of renewable energy.

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226 thoughts on “Solar plane flight aborted due to bad weather

  1. I don’t know what it’s been like around the world, but here in the UK this nonsense received uncritical coverage on just about every BBC news programme yesterday. Disgraceful.

    • Of course it will. The BBC is in full-on propaganda mode for Paris in December. There will climate change references slipped in everywhere. There will probably be an Eastenders special where they all discuss how it is worth than they thought. I could add a sarc for that but then it will turn out to be true.

    • A few years ago we used to have a thing called balance in the news.
      After giving one bunch of people the chance to market their heap of bullcrap, it was standard for the article to complete will a reflection in the form of “however, critics point out that…”
      In this particular case, they may point out that the project as a whole has been responsible for a massive consumption of fossil fuels and emission of CO2.
      Or they might point to the fundamental physical limits which will prevent this principle from ever moving more than the most trivial loads in the most ideal weather conditions.
      Or they might question whether this project has lead the general public to uprate their assessment of solar energy or to derate it.
      Or psychologist may point out that the real motives behind such a stunt are the enjoyment of a technical challenge and the acquisition of status, excitement and money, and not necessarily the same “save the planet” motives as are touted by the ballooning and solar plane flying daredevils responsible.
      But, since we now live in the new wonderland of uncritical grinning gullibility no such criticism will be found in any major media outlet.
      And, since no alternative is now possible or acceptable, I have decided to teach myself to effect a permanent gullible grin.
      I believe that John Cook is running a course in that.
      After all, he is the world master.
      It’s called Gullibility101x, or suchlike.

    • Nah the “around the world on only wind” gig was completed by a number of mariners already, the most notable being Captain James Cook who also did lots of useful work at the same time.

      • Also done in a balloon by Phineas Fogg about 150 years ago in only 80 days. By the end of this month, the solar plane will have covered much less ground, in a longer time frame and for more cost. The ecoterrorists are truly taking us backward.

      • A glider is a fine flying aircraft. The one I flew was rated for 3 Gs, and was said to be capable of 5 Gs. Other gliders at the airport were marvels of aerodynamics, far surpassing what I had to fly. But even still, these planes were manuverable, and aerobatic to the point that an FAA inspector would have a fit if he saw half of what we did. And this was all in the mountains. Looking down at the runway, and up at the landmarks was all in a morning’s flight.
        There is one thing about a glider, and it is this. There is no “go around” for a messed up landing approach. Every landing approach ends successfully. Or Not.
        It was often said that gliders make good pilots.

  2. The plane may have been able to complete the flight if not for that storm caused by global warming. /sarc

  3. BBC is already prepping for peak hurricane season!
    1 June: BBC: Jonathan Amos: Solar Impulse: Zero-fuel plane makes forced Japan landing
    Solar Impulse, the zero-fuel aeroplane, has landed in Japan after being forced to abort a Pacific crossing due to deteriorating weather ahead of it….
    But a developing cold front over the ocean is blocking its path and pilot Andre Borschberg has decided to play safe by putting down in Nagoya…
    Solar Impulse will now be tied down and protected from the elements in a mobile hangar while meteorologists and flight strategists look for a new possibility to cross the Pacific…
    “When we took off from China two days ago, we thought we could go through the front and reach Hawaii. Now, we see the front has closed. It’s active. There’s rain, there’s icing – everything that’s dangerous for our aircraft. So we’ve decided to stop in Nagoya and wait for better weather to continue.”…
    Ideally, the team needs to cross America, and then the Atlantic, before the hurricane season starts to ***peak in August.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32963426

    • Not to mention the typhoon season in the Pacific. There have been several nasty storms sweeping up past Japan already this season.

  4. Carbon Fibre (Wings wider than a Boeing thingy)
    Over half a tonne of batteries working at 300volts (not green stuff for sure)
    A bunch of electronics and LEDs
    Wind (something that a ram air turbine would like)
    Cold (at extremes and no pressurisation)
    20 minute sleeps
    What could possibly go wrong?

    • The same thing that stops EV in the upper Mid-West. You can’t run the heater / lights and get the same distance from the batteries.

      • Easy, use one of the motors like a generator, extract wind energy to run a resistive heater, problem solved…what what?

    • “…flown and financed by Swiss businessman and pilot André Borschberg.”
      I wonder what his “business” is and if it doesn’t use a drop of fossil fuel to operate. I mean, his business operates entirely off the grid, right? Probably not. Just another good-time/Hollywood/leftist/feel-good hypocrite…

      • http://andreborschberg.com/
        An engineer by education and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in management science, André Borschberg has solid experience in creating and managing numerous technology projects, companies, and startups, as both an investor and an entrepreneur. His interest in innovative solutions, combined with his passion for aviation, have led him to team up with Bertrand Piccard to direct Solar Impulse and be one of the pilots who will fly the aircraft around the world.
        Borschberg has been a member of highly regarded associations such as the prestigious World President’s Organization (WPO) and the Chief Executive Organisation (CEO). Sensitive to the well-being and condition of others, pro-active and always open to new experiences, he has also been active in the social field, including Restos du Coeur and assistance to the sick.
        André Borschberg has also practised meditation and yoga for many years, developing the latter discipline in order to improve his resistance to fatigue and stress during the long flights planned for Solar Impulse. Married to Yasemin and father of three children, André Borschberg lives at Nyon in a house built with environmentally-friendly methods and materials. Solar Impulse lies at the crossroads of his passions and concerns : aviation, new technologies, ethics, respect for the environment and industrial ecology.

  5. Call me malign for what I wrote here below, but It should not be so much different from a glider with a small electric motor.
    Looking to it’s takeoff by night I suspect that it had the battery fully charged by an outlet connected to the power grid.

    Massimo

  6. I was slightly amused by the statement that the pilot would have to bail out rather than ditch the aircraft because of the danger of electrocution. Given that the thing flies at about walking pace*, how far apart in the water would it and the pilot be and what would be the radius of the electrical danger area? Further, if any of the pv panels float, presumably they would keep generating until the sun goes down. Unintended issues?
    * In the head photograph, the aircraft appears to be still airborne with cyclists not trying very hard to keep up.

  7. “It would have been impossible to construct without high tech petroleum based plastics.”
    Zactly. The innovation here is not solar power, it is the plane itself. Slick marketing to make it about the solar power.
    I’m thinking an 1850s clipper ship would be faster, and carry people and cargo.

    • “I’m thinking an 1850s clipper ship would be faster, and carry people and cargo.”
      You have to admit that adding the Z axis makes the task a bit harder.
      It probably sounded much better as just an idea on paper. To me these types of projects often illustrate the lack of ability of what the technology demonstration is trying to showcase.

      • That’s my point. If they can’t stick solar motors on a 737, or some other plane, they aren’t useful. Fabricating an exotic plane to use the solar motors only demonstrates the ability to make exotic planes.

    • The Flying Cloud holds the anchor-to-anchor record for an around-the-Horn trip from New York to San Francisco: 89 days, 8 hours in 1853 (beating her own previous record from 1851 by 13 hours). The Andrew Jackson in 1859-1861 did a pilot-to-pilot run in 89 days 4 hours. There were only three sub 90-day passages from New York to San Francisco by square-rigged ships; Andrew Jackson holds one of them and Flying Cloud holds the other two. 100 days was more typical of clipper ships, but before them regular merchant ships could take 200 days.
      Let’s say a typical 1850’s clipper could make it in 100 days, roughly 16,000 miles. That translates to an average speed of 6.66 miles per hour, or 5.8 knots. The article doesn’t say exactly how far the Solar Impulse 2 has managed to go in the two months, but if it’s less than about 9,600 miles then your speculation is correct: an 1850’s clipper ship would be faster. Not to mention a lot more comfortable.

      • Oops, the Andrew Jackson record passage was 1859-1860, not 1859-1861.

      • Thanks to the link provided below by Alan Robertson (http://www.solarimpulse.com/widget-rtw_wrapup), I can now calculate the relative speeds of Solar Impulse 2 and an 1850’s clipper ship.
        Solar Impulse 2 has as of this moment covered 10,784 km (6,701 mi) in 85 days 16 hours and some change, or a total of 2,056 hours for an average speed of 3.26 miles per hour / 5.25 km per hour / 2.83 knots — just under half the speed of a clipper ship.
        Somehow Around the World in 300 Days doesn’t quite stir the imagination like the original.
        So not only is a clipper ship faster, but it has a lower carbon footprint as well — wood, canvas and hemp line are all carbon-neutral. Use whale oil for the lanterns and it’s 100% renewable energy.

      • “An 1850s clipper ship would be faster.”
        Heh heh. That really puts this publicity stunt in perspective.

  8. We get this everyday on sat tv. Swiss Re is driving it and milking it with daily infomercials.The claims go off the wall. The self righteous smarm, vomit inducing.

  9. Ah, I wondered what this was all about when I cought an image of the tail end of the plane. I hope no taxpayer money was wasted on this. Does anyone remember the “Gossamer Condor” from the 1970’s, a human powered aircraft?

  10. Solar Impulse is accompanied on its whole trip by a “real”, fossil fuel powered plane to carry spare parts and support crew. While the experience will surely help in the development of energy technology, it also shows the limitations.
    We have had wind “powered” transportation systems for centuries: sail boats, surf boards, kites, gliders, etc. but none of them has made enough technological advances to become exploitable on a larger scale.

    • I seem to recall that all major commerce was conducted with wind power for hundreds of years … seems large scale to me …

    • “While the experience will surely help in the development of energy technology”
      How’s that?

    • That’s a good question: Which is faster, a sail boat or a solar powered airplane? (For now, a sail boat is winning, but not inland.)

  11. I recall someone a couplle of years ago trying to convice me that a wind turbined aircraft driving electic motors driving propellors was a viable alternative to AVGAS. Seriously!

    • I remember a letter to the editor of Popular Mechanics many years ago, touting the benefits of filling the tires and all the empty spaces in the body of a car with helium. Thus cutting weight and thus reducing gas mileage.

    • Having worked in the motor industry, while there are “empty spaces” in a typical car body, and there are, they are not sealed. So all the sealing would add extra weight, and probably, negating any effect helium would have.

      • You should not want to use helium anyway, especially if you worked with helium before, so you well know that helium escapes by osmoses any closed container you design! 🙂
        Have a great day.
        Massimo

        • Massimo PORZIO

          You should not want to use helium anyway, especially if you worked with helium before, so you well know that helium escapes by osmoses any closed container you design! 🙂

          At least He has the decency to stay inside metal pipes and pipe welds and valves. Pressurized Hydrogen goes right through the walls of the pipes. When it is not embrittling and further cracking the welds themselves by granular corrosion.

      • HI RACookPE1978 & Patrick,
        no, helium (like hydrogen) pass trough pipes and valves indeed.
        It’s just inert instead of highly reactive, but it is almost the same beast to keep it confined in a delimited space.
        This is because helium molecule is monatomic while hydrogen molecule is diatomic, so the first is almost of the same size of the second.
        Since is difficult to establish with precision a size comparison between molecules of different shape, some report helium molecule greater than hydrogen one, other report vice versa. AFIK no one knows for sure.
        The first proof of what I say is that NMR in hospitals laboratory have to be checked weekly for refilling the superconductors coolers, this despite the helium container is surrounded by a second container filled with liquid nitrogen, which s the state of the art for containing helium, The second proof is that the state of the art for checking pipes leakage is achieved using helium.
        Have a great day.
        Massimo

  12. The irony is building this plane was only possible thanks to the type of ‘evil fossil fuel industries ‘ the greens despise , where else do they think all the light weight tech materials came from .
    If he does it will be quite a achievement but one simply not possible without the type of industry the ideology behind this idea is opposed to.
    And it is odd to think that the first round the world flight in 1924 used a plane with far more ‘natural’ materials in its construction than the solar one.

  13. This fiasco ranks alongside the global warming “scientific research” ship marooned so very expensively in the sea ice in Antartica last year – ice that the “scientists” (not to mention an army of worthy green media people) on board simply did not expect to find.
    Oh dear!
    Given its hopeless, unsustainable power supply, am I the only one who finds it equally ironic that this flighless bird is grounded in “the land of the rising sun”?

  14. Note the youtube above, even there they deceive. Its a flight across half the Pacific not The Pacific.

  15. Whattabuncha wet blankets.
    Flying a solar powered airplane over the ocean at night, that takes a big pair of batteries.

  16. Phillip Bratby
    You say, “Renewable energy = unreliable energy”.
    Yes, it is the old, old story; e.g.
    If windpower were viable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.
    Excepting hydropower, renewables are, always have been, and for any foreseeable future always will be expensive, inefficient and unreliable.
    Richard

  17. The whole “raise awareness” thing is getting really old. Why can’t they just admit that they want to fly a solar powered plane around the world because – duh – it is a seriously cool thing to do, and because they just want to see if they can. I bet that is why most of the engineers who built the thing are involved. Is anyone really fooled by this pretense that they are all oh-so-serious environmentalists and they are only doing it out of some deep concern to “raise awareness of environmental issues”. Who do they think they are fooling.

    • “Raise awareness” is a code phrase for doing something goofy on a corporate tab. A couple of Activist /scientists recently ” raised our awareness ” about the dangers of water skiing in the Arctic.

  18. This reminds me very much of the first test flight of Concorde, the press were going into overdrive about how it would change the future of flight. One expert on UK TV was asked the question where will supersonic passenger flight go from here, his answer was “nowhere”. I cannot remember his name, but his answer in 1967 was well before the price rises in oil in the 1970’s.
    I admire the technology of both Solar Impulse 2 (whatever happened to Solar Impulse 1?) and Concorde, but the success of both was secondary to their futility!

    • But at least Concorde was a pretty aeroplane…unlike this heap of carbon fibre.

      • At least the Concorde could cruise at around Mach1.6, replete with lots of passengers, luggage, crew, fancy nibbles and wine … a little bit of wind and/or cloud didn’t seem to matter

        • I do notice the rather “spartan” lack of restrooms, heating, cooling, air-conditioning, in-flight meals and refreshments, stereo-earphones, movies, in-flight wines or beers, stewardesses, flight attendants, co-pilots, passengers, cargo, or utility of any sort …..

      • “Wasn’t it the French that made it pretty?”
        No. The design was basically mostly British. I used to have a next door neighbour who was a draughtsman who worked on parts of the design at B.A.C.: we had the frequent pleasure of the 11 a.m. flight to JFK passing over our gardens. The tale of how the French magically came up with a very similar design involves a leak of the British design for political reasons – tied into trying to persuade de Gaulle to let the UK into the EEC!

      • Perhaps it’s worth noting that Concorde managed circumnavigations both Eastbound (JFK-Toulouse-Dubai-Bangkok-Guam-Honolulu-Acapulco-JFK in 32 hours 49 min 3 sec) and Westbound (Lisbon-Santo Domingo-Acapulco-Honolulu-Guam-Bangkok-Bahrain-Lisbon 31 hours 27 min 49 sec). Times include refuelling stops.

    • Yes, obviously a sailboat could do it faster and carry passengers and cargo. This is less than useless

    • Since it is on leg 7a of 13. after two months from start, the 80 day mark will come and go before it gets to the USA.
      Coming into Typhoon season, I’d be surprised if it leaves Japan before November.
      In 2014, there were 18 Typhoons in the NW Pacific from June thru November.

  19. It would be intersting to submit a FOI to ascerttain how much CO2 and pollution was produced in its manufature/constructure (including its batteries) taking into account the transport of all components to site.
    Ditto, the team that has sat groundside along with the mission.
    But one can see the money being made in all this environmental cr*p when Oil Majors (such as BP and Shell) are calling for a price to be fixed on carbon. They can make more money out of this sideline than the traditional core business. Extraordinary the way that consumers/Joe Public is being ripped off because of politians/lobbyists and big business.
    http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/climatesnapshot/bp-calls-global-carbon-price-avoid-worst-impacts-climate-change
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/11644177/Shell-and-BP-call-for-international-carbon-pricing-deal.html

    • Exactly. They are simply getting on board the green train so they can replace coal usage with their natural gas. Follow the money.

  20. Branson and Gore are patrons…amongst others. So it surely is cr*p therefore.

  21. Borschberg has a history of using other peoples money to pursue “unusual” projects, (kind of like many national governments). Although you will hear about his exemplary background I know a couple bankers in Zurich who could not find a single real success story in his background.

  22. “But his failed attempt to fly to Hawaii was surely a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with renewables. Borschberg’s plane can’t carry cargo or passengers, it can barely carry its own weight.”
    The Wrights plane couldn’t do that either. We should have just given up then, and used trains and boats, which worked.
    [REPLY: actually, you are quite wrong. The Wright’s plane could in fact carry a passenger, one Mr. Wright, whom as I recall piloted the plane at Kitty Hawk, NC and other demonstrations that year. And, it could fly at night and on cloudy days. The context here is what matters, the Wright plane had no peers. This solar plane has thousands of peers, and a century of aviation innovation before it, yet it still can’t carry Wilbur or Orville or Air Mail. Sorry, it’s not progress, its mostly gimmick – Anthony]

    • Wrong? Actually, the solar plane can carry enuf food and water to feed the pilot for a week, which actually no plane can presently do. It flies on cloudy days and at night; it’s does not do well in thunderstorms which is the reason it was grounded.

      • In 1986, Dick Rutan and Jeanne Yeager were airborne for more than a week on the Voyager 1. And their plane was more capable than a Piper Cub. In fact, it actually did make it around the world! 😉

      • They did this in a Burt Rutan built aircraft. Made of CARBON composites. Around the world, non-stop on one tank of gas. (the whole airframe was basically a fuel tank.)
        Burt Rutan is a well known skeptic of CAGW and a smart dude.

      • Stats of the Rutan Voyager (from Wikipedia)
        General characteristics
        Crew: Two pilots
        Length: 29 ft 2 in (8.90 m)
        Wingspan: 110 ft 8 in (33.80 m)
        Height: 10 ft 3 in (3.10 m)
        Wing area: 363 ft2 (33.72 m2)
        Empty weight: 2250 lb (1020.6 kg)
        Gross weight: 9694.5 lb (4397.4 kg)
        Powerplant: 1 × Teledyne Continental O-240, 130 hp (100 kW)
        1 × Teledyne Continental IOL-200, 110 hp (81 kW)
        Performance
        Maximum speed: 122 mph (196 km/h)
        Range: 24,986 miles (42,212 km)
        Endurance: 216 hours

      • In a week most other plane can get around the world. This plane has taken two months to get from Abu Dabai to Japan. There is no practical reason for a plane to stay aloft for a week.

      • “Actually, the solar plane can carry enuf food and water to feed the pilot for a week, which actually no plane can presently do.”
        Ignoring your self-contradiction, I’m sure a 747 could carry enough food and water to sustain a pilot for a year – but there’s no need to.

      • Google is working on high altitude solar powered surveillance and communications drones which could theoretically stay aloft, way above the weather, for weeks. But even they admit it’s a roll of the dice.

      • Wouldn’t it be just as “green” to put the solar cells on the ground in a sunny spot to power a small plant making fuel from, say, algae, and use the fuel to power the Rutan Voyager?

    • The Wright flyer was the first powered plane. There has been 100 years of aeronautical advancement since then.
      Even with 100 years improvement in aeronautics, electrics, solar cells, etc. this plane still can’t do what the Wright flyer did.

    • The only reason I see for a Solar powered plane is it could stay aloft at high altitude performing specific missions for a long time. Such a craft would be unmanned, and more controllable than a balloon. Like most most manned air and spacecraft, a huge part of the cost, technology, and weight is devoted to keeping the people inside alive.

    • A Zeppelin with Helium gas and solar-voltaic panels all in the same place? Can I buy the film rights?

      • It would never get off the ground if I think what you are saying is right. Zeppelins were filled with hydrogen because of a helium embargo on Germany.

        • Yeah. But it is a one-way leak … Drill a gas well in a He-bearing stratum.
          The He leaks out (or is used industrially), floats to the top of the atmosphere.
          Floats away into space.
          Presto. Zero-zero chance of recovery and re-use.
          Once out of the ground, it can never be used again. (Without fusion.)

      • I actually have two versions, one with a resurrected Peter Sellers where it treks cross-country at an altitude of about 3 feet. The other version is with hydrogen, bit it’s a very, very, very short feature.

      • The LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin flew for nine years before being grounded after the loss of the LZ-129 Hindenburg:
        “By the time of Graf Zeppelin’s last flight, nine years later, the ship had flown over a million miles, on 590 flights, carrying thousands of passengers and hundreds of thousands of pounds of freight and mail, with safety and speed. Graf Zeppelin circled the globe and was famous throughout the world, and inspired an international zeppelin fever in the late 1920s and early 1930s.”
        http://www.airships.net/lz127-graf-zeppelin/history
        The ship had few close calls, however, so its success may have been a matter of good luck.

  23. Ah, such a shame. In a 100 yrs we would/could/might have been able to load it with 400 passengers and their luggage and flown round the world 6 times in a day but we will need much more money to complete the scam oops I meant science project.

  24. You might check on the glorious fate of the last Famous Solar Plane to soar triumphantly over the Pacific:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Helios
    (The Name should have been “Icarus”, but at least they picked the right myth.)
    And yes, a wonderful symbol for all that is harebrained about the ecolunatic boondoggle.

  25. I think they’re overmilking the green aspects of the project (necessary to get all the attention they crave).
    I’d be happier if they just concentrated on the aviation “first” of first manned solar flight around the world and then followed that up with a first nonstop, unmanned solar flight around the world in the lower stratosphere.

    • followed that up with a first nonstop, unmanned solar flight around the world in the lower stratosphere.
      How are they going to that? Backwards?

  26. One countries use of fossil fuels condemns other countries to live in poverty?????
    What universe did these Einstein’s come from?

  27. Just had a sponsored link pop up on my FB newsfeed enticing people to “find out how you can get solar with no upfront costs and profit straight away”. In the comment section about half were those complaining about having spent $3,000-$5000 and not seeing much difference in their power bills. Those who are home all day were more enthusiastic and appear to be able to cover the price in about 5 years. Mind you, there are still subsidies here in Oz, I believe.

    • There are a number of high priced homes in Park City that were built with a solar option. The solar was more in the range of 30-50K. Many of these folks have 6000 square foot homes in California, with 28 cents KWH and total electric bills of 500+ a month. It amazes them that their electric bills are below 100 bucks a month in Park City. But in Park City air conditioning is used infrequently, power is 10.5 cents kwh, and the homes are probably used less than 60 days a year. They just don’t make the comparison, so they think they’re saving 2500 a year, and will payout in 12 years. They really save about $50 a month.

      • Certainly in Australia, those who do not have “solar” installations, actually subsidise those that do.

  28. Squirrel Suits. I love those guys! Jet engine back-packs. Felix Baumbgartner jumping from outer space. All that falling with style stuff. I just love watching it and I admire the guts that it takes to do it.
    None of it is practical. It is all stunt work.
    I categorize this solar plane as a stunt. The technology is cool, the people are awesome.
    Solar powered anything is fundamentally UNRELIABLE. So the fact that “weather” brought a halt to this publicity stunt gives we skeptics the reverse publicity of a very public solar powered failure.
    So, Borschberg. Many thanks for the schadenfreude.

  29. ‘Since the ecological movement appeared … an irreconcilable conflict has divided those … Today, for the first time, this cleavage can be bridged …’
    Ok, I’m a bit of a Neanderthal. But, in this case I make no apologies. I will state, for the record, that I am totally in opposition to any form of cleavage ever being bridged.

  30. I don’t get the point. Simple calculations would show how the concept is impractical.
    Was this a stunt for the upcoming Paris waste?

  31. Speaking of flying around the world……
    I know this is probably somewhat OT, but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone out there is interested in following the ongoing efforts to solve the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator back in 1937….
    http://news.yahoo.com/expedition-returns-south-pacific-crack-amelia-earhart-mystery-030135945.html.
    The International Group for Historical Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is beginning its 11th expedition to the Kiribati island of Nikumaroro (a.k.a. Gardner island as the British called it) this month to search for evidence that Earhart landed on the coral reef just offshore and became marooned on the island with her navigator in 1937. Nikumaroro is about 360 south of Howland island where she was supposed to land.
    In previous expeditions, TIGHAR found evidence of the existence of castaways on the island from around the time that Earhart went missing…including a woman’s shoe of the type Earhart reportedly wore and a broken bottle of skin cream of the type that Earhart reportedly used. A photo from New Zealand taken of the island’s coral reef taken in 1938 shows what appears to be a fuselage of an aircraft sticking out of the water. The island was settled by the British and native islanders in 1939, and the there are unconfirmed reports of plane pieces being found on the island when it was settled (the island is uninhabited today).
    During this expedition, TIGHAR is going to (among other things) search the deep waters off the coral reef where they hope to find physical evidence of Earhart’s plane using a deep water submersible. If you want to read more and follow the expedition, the website is: http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/AEdescr.html or
    http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Archivessubject.html.

  32. And what the BBC would not mention, is that most of the motive force for this aviation farce is not coming from the electric motors, but from the upper jetstreams. This thing flies so slowly (50kts) it may as well be a balloon, which is why it has to fly west to east WITH the upper winds.
    Put it this way, if they flew east to west they would actually fly backwards. In fact, it flies so slowly it would almost be as quick to fly backwards around the world, as forwards. The thing is an advertising billboard for the impractibility and stupidity of the Green Dream, no more no less.
    Ralph

    • Good points about the jetstream, but the craft does make at least 32 Knots on its own.
      Any international traveler can verify that there is a difference of several hours flight time WestEast depending on whether one is flying with, or into the jetstream.

      • Whoopee-do. At 40 kts, it would take 40 days to circumnavigate the globe in still winds.
        And since the average upper jetstream is in the range of 100 kts, if this technological abortion flew east-west, it would be averaging 60 kts backwards. As I said, it is faster backwards than forwards !!
        And while flying west-east some 2/3 of the energy is comming from the jetsream, and not from the solar panels and engines.
        Ralph

      • As you pointed out, flying East to West, it would still be flying West to East, if it got tangled with the jet stream.
        However, maps I’ve seen of their flight plan shows them staying out of the jetstream.

      • Can it fly high enough to get into the jetstream? There doesn’t appear to be any form of cabin pressurisation and for a week at jetstream height, the pilot is going to need a serious supply of oxygen.

      • Can it fly high enough to get into the jetstream?
        _______________________________
        They claim 39,000 ft, so yes. And in aviation you are normally allowed to go to 40,000 ft before you need pressure breathing equipment, so I suppose it is possible. But they would need one heleva oxygen bottle to remain at that altitude for several days.

    • Don’t know if this thing can fly high enough to make it into the jet stream.
      I suspect that the turbulence surrounding the jet stream would be more than this thing could handle anyway.

  33. They of course use commercial electricity to plug in the batteries for a full charge before takeoff, and land at night with near depleted batteries.

    • According to their website, they fly to maximum altitude and charge the batteries during the day and slowly descend on battery power during the night. There are graphs which have tracked their progress and daily altitude changes.
      It’s been fun watching their progress, but requires effort to overlook the constant “save the planet” BS. That’s the price of website admission…

  34. I watched the pilot turn South over the Sea of Japan and figured he was heading for Nagoya. Are they merely waiting out the storm? That’s not a failure…
    IMHO, the weight of their constant preachy BS hampers their efforts.

  35. This was pointed out over at Bishop Hill’s. It’s hilariously “Green”.

    Dozens of trees had to be cleared ahead of the Solar Impulse 2’s arrival at the Mandalay International Airport for its giant mobile hangar and exhibition tent, said Taik Aung, the country’s director of air navigation and safety division. Towering shrubs along the runway also needed to be trimmed to accommodate the plane’s 72-meter wing span, said Corinne Henchoz Pignani, of the Swiss Embassy in Yangon.

    Trees!
    The enemies of using the Sun to reduce atmospheric CO2.

    • Doh, I meant.
      This was pointed out over at Bishop Hill’s. It’s hilariously “Green”.

      Dozens of trees had to be cleared ahead of the Solar Impulse 2’s arrival at the Mandalay International Airport for its giant mobile hangar and exhibition tent, said Taik Aung, the country’s director of air navigation and safety division. Towering shrubs along the runway also needed to be trimmed to accommodate the plane’s 72-meter wing span, said Corinne Henchoz Pignani, of the Swiss Embassy in Yangon.

      Trees!
      The enemies of using the Sun to reduce atmospheric CO2.

  36. I believe the top speed for the Solar Impulse 2 is 50 mph. So if it gets into a wind greater than 50 mph then it’s going where ever the wind blows it. Not very practical especially if you’re try to get to an island in the Pacific.

  37. Since the ecological movement appeared on the scene in the 1970s, an irreconcilable conflict has divided those who want to protect nature, and who call for reductions in mobility, comfort and growth, from those in business and industry who defend people’s employment and purchasing power.

    I reject their premise. It is typical class warfare agitprop: evil business and industry pursuing equally evil profit vs “pure as the driven they won’t remember what snow is” environmentalists.
    There is no “irreconcilable conflict”, just a reasonable and ongoing effort to clean up as we move forward. What conflict there is comes from the left, who want to divide society and pit the subdivided factions against each other.
    America proves my point: the largest industrialised nation in the world is also the most conservation minded and cleanest.

    • “It is typical class warfare agitprop: evil business and industry pursuing equally evil profit vs “pure as the driven they won’t remember what snow is” environmentalists.”
      It’s refreshing to know that ‘evil business’ is in no way associated with the mining and processing of the raw materials that go into ‘green’ industries; that ‘evil business’ does not profit from the manufacture and installation of ‘green’ gadgetry such as turbines and solar panels, and that ‘evil industry’ gets by without government subsidies, grants and whatnot. The current expose on Elon Musk and his $4.9 billion in government grants is a case in point – he says he can do without it, so I’ll believe him when he cuts a $4.9 billion check made out to Uncle Sam. Oh yeah, ‘the check is in the mail’?

  38. Note that they plan to fly in the same direction as the upper atmosphere prevailing winds. Wonder if they have enough battery power to allow them to climb to 40,000 feet or higher, and, therefore, be above most of the clouds. Wonder if that thing will even get to 40,000 feet.

    • No oxygen system for the pilot. Can’t get over 8-10,000 feet safely. Which puts it right in the middle of the clouds and turbulence from even the smallest storms and fronts. Just like they did between 1908 (first passenger) and Boeing’s B47 “smooth” ride at 550+ knots at 35,000 – 45,000 feet in 1950.
      So, in 48 years from 1908 to 1956, they went from 2 people at 50 knots, no cargo and no cockpit and a pasture to 45,000 to 120,000 feet altitudes and world-wide plane flights lasting days with take-off weights of almost 800,000 lbs (B-36, B-52, Spruce Goose) … Now, with 66 more years of “progress” in aviation, we are back to 50 knot speeds with one pilot and no cargo at all. And we are still requiring trees to be cut down to take off.

      • No. 10,000 – 12,000 feet is the established altitude to FLY THE AIRPLANE safely and continuously without supplemental oxygen or a pressurized cabin.
        Federal Law: § 135.89 Pilot requirements: Use of oxygen.
        (a) Unpressurized aircraft. Each pilot of an unpressurized aircraft shall use oxygen continuously when flying—
        (1) At altitudes above 10,000 feet through 12,000 feet MSL for that part of the flight at those altitudes that is of more than 30 minutes duration; and
        (2) Above 12,000 feet MSL.
        Sure, you can “walk” around at 14,000 – and I too have driven to the top of both Washington and Mt Evans in CO. But that is NOT “flying safely” … And this plane is as worthy of mention as the Wright brothers’ 1908 flights from a cow pasture. They too flew in a circle. But the Wright brother’s at least carried a passenger.

      • Given the air temps at altitude, this too is a limiting factor since I doubt that there is spare energy for heating.

    • Mark W – it’s a question of acclimatisation, on the ground you go up slowly (even slower than Solar2). Piloting an aircraft you also need all your wits about you which you won’t get with the partial pressure of O2 above 10K feet

      • In US you can drive on highest paved road in country – 14000 ft – Mount Evans Colorado. By car there is no time for acclimatisation too. Personally I have driven from 0 to 12000 feet on White Mountain California. Definitely you can feel it, not very pleasant, but it doable.

      • Don’t forget we are talking about 6 days, not just a few hours at high altitude. Low levels of oxygen and cold for 6 days is dangerous. It is nothing like a quick hike or drive up a mountain for a few hours.

  39. What you skeptics seems to have failed to understand is that this project demonstrates that as solar panels become more efficient and materials become stronger and lighter, we will soon have large scale commercial air transport powered only by clean energy sources.
    This will occur when solar panels reach 100,000% efficiency and when reinforced polymers have negative weight.
    “Hey. They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he’s up there, laughing at them.” – Blades of Glory.
    You people will be the ones who look retarded, when we green-tards are all floating about in our solar jet-packs. (erm…possibly some sarc. involved, maybe)

    • indefatigablefrog
      Welllll … technically, I’d think that if they had “any” surplus electric power at all, they’d use it to power a very small air compressor to inflate ridges or chambers in the wings and body to act as stiffeners “almost light as air”. Going one step further, you’d use He to inflate a larger body that encompasses the entire ship and can carry larger cargo and more passengers …. say up to the maximum of 1000 feet and Trans-Atlantic non-stop flights against the wind. For a profit no less.

      • There are many ways in which this design could be improved upon.
        By some margin, at least.
        The principle area for improvement currently would be to scale the design up further.
        Over time solar efficiency and power/weight ratio will improve.
        But fundamentally, it will never generate more power than is contained in the quantity of sunlight shining on the top of the airframe and that ain’t very much.
        What I think that they should do is create some sort of energy dense fuel down here on earth and then use it to power some sort of engine that drives the vehicle forward through the sky.
        What? We already did that?!!!

  40. Say I think I may set up a fund me account and set out to sail a paper airplane around the world. You know, toss the most aerodynamic paper plane directly east ward walk over to it and toss it again eastward until I reach an Ocean; board a ship and continue to toss the plane eastward on the deck as we cross the sea (our boat will need to be specially equipped to avoid embarrassing “paper plane overboard” events). As we encounter a new continent our ship can sail on with most of the support crew to the next major sea crossing and await my pedestrian aviator arrival as we set out to claim the fastest circumvention of the globe by a paper airplane and our place in the immortal Guinness Book of World Records. I judge we should beat the solar impulse in time spent on the project by a year (unless, of course, the crew or your intrepid explorer find themselves charmed by some exotic place and remain longer than expected to promote the gilded grace of gliding.)

    • Extra points if you don’t use back up paper planes, just stick with 1.
      (Dip nets are ok.)

      • yep yep especially if we are in a location that we really need an excuse to stay in a couple of more days “the sponsors or the Folded Wing announced today that they need to allow the paper to dry before resuming their record breaking journey to immortality”

    • As long as you are doing it to save the planet, it should be a great (financial) success!

      • Do you have a design for the plane? If not, I have one I’ve used for 45 years which outperforms all others I’ve seen.

      • Your design has stood the test of time? There used to be a neat little program called “Paper Airplanes” with several print/fold designs.
        Any way that you could link to a pic/design of your plane?

      • @ Tom and Alan the way this thing is taking off we should set up a board of directors and start vetting the staff don’t you think we should start with a basic design and then invite contributions until we achieve a consensus of 97% contributors to the design?

      • Maybe we could add a solar cell to power something on it, though I don’t know what.

      • I tweak the design in a couple of ways. First, after you fold down the top, you fold each side over, align its edge with the opposite 45 degree edge of the triangle an make a crease, and then proceed per the diagram. The extra creases will end up running front to back on the upper surface of each wing, giving them more of an airfoil shape. Also if you don’t fold back the nose 1/2 inch as they suggest in the diagram, it seems to fly slower. Lastly, the dihedral of the wings and location of the final fold (making the “fuselage” taller or shorter) has a big effect.

    • @Tom Not to worry on the issue of originality of design we are ,after all, conducting our courageous, epic, record setting, endeavor in the shadow of the most advanced industrial economies in the history of the world and they are notoriously humble and selfless when allowing fruitcakes like us to claim we are pioneers in the quest to creatively entertain ourselves and the credulous! I like the idea of running lights, LED of course, but I worry so that a solar cell might be construed as ballast and the people would think we are just throwing a rock around the world.

      • Or a golf ball. But since our glorious effort will save the planet we have to get serious. Is there some sort of thin lightweight elastic material with variable resilience as an electric current passes through it? It could be used to bend the wings and provide aerodynamic control…

      • The first circumnavigation of the globe by a paper airplane powered by muscle! I like it and it will advance the cause of greeness everywhere by using more energy for work accomplished than almost anything else I can think of provided, of course, that we retain a support staff of sufficient skills and duplication of duties to carry this endeavor forward relentlessly. Maybe we’ll need another boat.

  41. While the point of “solar power isn’t currently a practical fuel for aircraft” is a valid one, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to criticize the effort to fly a solar plane around the Earth. The technology is fringe. The plane is fragile and tiny. But, no one would have criticized Charles Lindbergh because the Spirit of St. Louis couldn’t carry 60 passengers with luggage. They’re just trying to bring attention to the technology, get funding, and try to scale up the technology.
    Personally, I think it’s a dead end, but I don’t begrudge them their effort. After all, flying a solar powered plane is pretty cool. I wonder if an anthracite fueled plane could manage it. That would be fun, too.

    • For me, the people doing this flight project get an “A” for their efforts, but “F-” overall, for their BS proselytizing.

    • More instructive if they used nuclear fuel or plasma drive that would be a “Lucky Lindy” kind of project. This is more an “I believe in unicorns” sort of effort.

      • Yeah. A nuke powered aircraft project would be great. Controversial as hell, but much more likely to work. They could make a light and strong armor to encapsulate the fuel and reactor that could survive a crash – call it a “Black Box” Drive or something like that, to emphasize how safe it is.

    • We’ve been developing the science of aeronautics for over 100 years.
      Solar cells have been improving for even longer, as have batteries and electric motors.
      None of these “technologies” are fringe.
      What they are is impractical, and they always will be.

      • True. But, Solar Aeronautics is a pretty fringe idea. I’m surprised that it works at all. Making it practical? That would sure as hell surprise me. But, hey, it would be the good type of surprise – like finding out unicorns are real. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but if they do, I wish them the best in their attempts.

    • Fragile I agree but ‘Tiny’ not so,Length: 21.85 m (71.7 ft)
      Wingspan: 63.4 m (208 ft).

    • In 1943 US Congressman Jennings Randolph flew from Morgantown WV to Washington National Airport in his single engined Stinson powered by aviation fuel derived entirely from coal:
      http://www.wvcoal.com/research-development/wv-supervises-wyoming-coal-to-aviation-fuel.html
      According to the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) the world has over 130 years of known coal reserves. It seems logical to me that the aviation industry should actively be pursuing this source of fuel even as an interim measure between present oil based fuel and the next technology, whatever that may be.
      And why do all the catastrophic global warming doomsters get all the publicity?
      Come on coal industry – I am sure that Lord Christopher Monckton would be happy to sit in the back of a resurrected Shorts Empire Class flying boat full of coal derived fuel sipping his Johnny Walker Black Label and munching on his Scottish shortbread biscuits. It could pick him up at Loch Ness then fly non stop Pole to Pole and he could even take snaps en route of the increasing sea ice over Antarctica.
      That would much, much better than getting up the nose of the Royal Anti Science Society of Edinburgh at one of their meetings wouldn’t it?

      • What countries has the BGR studied? According to this source, there is about 250 years of known coal reserves left in the United States alone: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/coal/
        ln addition, the Energy Information Administration quantifies the coal reserve this way: as of January 1, 2014, a demonstrated reserve base of 480 billion short tons of coal, and an estimated recoverable coal reserve of 256 billion short tons (that number assumes that property rights, among other things, would prevent the mining of all of the demonstrated reserve base). I don’t know how to translate that into how many years of reserves that is, but it sure seems like a lot. See http://www.eia.gov/coal/reserves/

  42. It looks like a lot of fun. Just ask yourselves if you’d refuse if someone offered to give you a lightly powered glider. You betcha. I have no need to fly across the Pacific. I’d be up in it every sunny day!

  43. I’m a sceptic, but less cynical than I thought after reading the comments. I get an entirely different take on this. It is wonderful support for the very unmalthusian idea that any and all problems can be solved with the application of human ingenuity (‘engineer’ comes from the same root). To me, this trip and concept underscores that we have no need to worry about the future.
    All those who worry about what we are going to do without fossil fuels as they get used up, without other mineral resources, or that we will do untold damage by using them, etc. can rest assured that human ingenuity will solve whatever problems that arise with enough forewarning, except for the civilization-killing totalitarian menace that we just can’t seem to put behind us. Object lessons don’t get heeded by them. There will be men (it was said by someone that “man embraces woman”!) of ill will born into every generation that we have to pay for like a huge tax on human progress.
    Perceived shortages and irreparable harm are an irreparable shortage of imagination by the few who beat this drum incessantly. The doers will go about their tasks akin to saving the Nile crocodile while the croc is trying to bite their heads off (I use this metaphor often because it is most apt).
    I like this little plane.

  44. “To me, this trip and concept underscores that we have no need to worry about the future.”
    Uhh . . . Mr. Pearce, I expect to be fully, seriously, completely dead in the future. I would have to be mental to worry about the future.

    • I was really meaning the whole scare thing about global warming or population growth or whatever fear. No need to fear. We don’t live in a petri dish waiting for the boundaries to be reached. Chances are I may be gone before you, so I’m using the “everybody we” here.

  45. I wonder what is more difficult flying around the world in a balloon or flying around the world in a solar powered craft. In one case you are at the mercy of the winds and the other the sun.
    At least the guy in the balloon is not pontificating about what his flight proves for the future of mankind. It seems environmentalists never tire of blowing their egos up to the size of hot air balloons. Actually that is good idea for the next generation of clean energy air transport; the amount of hot air the renewable energy movement creates could certainly power entire fleets of hot air balloons.

  46. Excited by the military applications . Can one make a Stealth – capable spy drone . No exhaust for heat seeking missiles to lock onto , but need to reduce radar profile against microwave tipped missiles.
    Hope the Pentagon and UK Min of Defence are following this story.

  47. FYI
    Steam Powered Flight. At least this one had space for more than the pilot but we’re still waiting the potential.
    “And One More
    This is a history of piston engines, and not all piston engines have been internal-combustion types. The gasoline engine made the airplane possible, but steam has always had its advocates, and, in 1930, the steam engine finally powered an airplane. Besler, a maker of logging locomotives, installed a V-twin compound in a Waco Ten (some sources say a Travelair) and flew successfully in California. Steam enthusiasts, as might be expected, went bananas at this, but Besler broke their hearts by announcing that he had no intention of trying to develop his engine further; he had proved that it could be done and was satisfied (Fig. 11-17).”
    From Smith, H. (1986). “A History of Aircraft Piston Engines”. Sunflower University Press.

    • Very cool. Thanks for the info. These might be even more feasible with modern ceramics. I wonder if anyone is still working on anything like this.

    • Didn’t think of this at time of posting
      Imagine what Besler might have done had government subsidies been available?

  48. When the The Solar Impulse 2 takes off on any leg of their journey – are we assured the batteries are solar charged ? – Or has mains power been used ?
    Does anybody know ?

    • Ohh you green meanie! Just so you understand that means you are mean to greens! Asking pointed questions like that! It’s just so, so, so…mean… to insist that environmentalist “proof of concept” actually accomplish it!

      • From the looks of all they’ve done so far, I’d say they have enough integrity to pull this off, or fail trying by honest means.

  49. Solar panels are absolutely magical and were a major source of energy for 5 years in our off road RV exploits. There is no doubt they have a magnificent outlook – when used in the right context.
    But as far as aviation is concerned I am afraid the Solar Impulse is no more a precursor to the future of flight than Howard Hughes Spruce Goose was. Hughes Goose may have only made one short hop but it WAS built to withstand the normal forces of Nature and do something useful.
    Hate to be a doomsayer but the Impulse is an accident waiting to happen as soon as it strikes any sort of bad weather or heavy turbulence. Yes, we all admire human endeavour and bravo to the brave Andre Borschberg. But I always remember the old crew room poster “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots”. Like the sea, flight can be very unforgiving.
    Be very, very careful Andre because the good world wide publicity you are getting at the moment for the global warming cause will completely sink when the Impulse ends up in a crumpled mass in the water and you become lunch for a Pacific Ocean tiger shark.

    • Actually the spruce goose needed to make that flight in order to collect the government pay to build it. Howard Hughes was just crazy enough to risk his own life for a government subsidy! Into aviation history and beyond!

      • But, did not the Goose fly more effectively than this thing?
        Hughes was putting LOTS of his own money into it by the middle of the project. But, true, it was only one method of many to bridge the early gap caused by submarine losses in early WWII.

        • not completely up on the history but I’m certain the goose’ only flight was to qualify it for financial considerations. If it hadn’t been air worthy Hughes would have lost a bunch. Not much of a flyer that one.

      • @RAC, From simply a flight performance perspective, I’d say this thing has done better than the Goose because the Goose never got out of ground effect.

    • Andre Borschberg is lucky he is still alive. That thing he calls a solar plane should have crashed far earlier. But at least he had the sense to avoid the bad weather.

  50. Had a look at this ‘Farce’ a couple of days ago, apparently It uses battery and solar power to gain height and then in hours of darkness,glides down gently in the hope of no cloud at daybreak.
    That is why they have to have the most favourable weather conditions,no headwinds and plenty of sun.
    I watched the so called ‘Progress’ on flightradar24 over the sea of Japan,what a joke,it actually went backwards in certain parts.
    They will now be looking for tail winds and zero cloud to blow them to Hawii.
    You can all follow the Bullshine here at http://www.solarimpulse.com/

  51. This reminds me of a program the “Mythbusters” did. . . .on whether it would be possible for a lead balloon to float.
    So they constructed a huge balloon out of quite thin lead. . .filled it with helium, and sure enough, they had a lead balloon that was buoyant enough to lift one of them off the ground.
    Now it had no practical application. . .but they were able to prove the feasibility of the concept.

    • Watch it again, the cargo was a small basket containing a styrofoam doll for a total cargo of maybe 50 grams.
      Their ability to demonstrate a lead balloon was only due to the availability of tissue thin lead sheets.
      In a sense, they failed. The ballon was less than 100 percent lead. The lead sheets were held together with sticky tape. The lead foil was so thin that many leaks developed during the lift. A fully lead balloon would not have lifted without many repairs.
      In the end, that was an entertaining episode of Mythbusters, Adams balloon design was brilliant.

  52. Em one of the support planes is a MASSIVE Russian transporter IL 76, the other is a turboprop ATR 72
    It’s supposed to be a 25 day round the world flight and CO2 free yet so far it’s about 3 months.
    “Two other aircraft — an ATR 72 and Ilyushin 76 — were carrying equipment for the solar plane and a 70 support staff, said Soe Paing, a member of the plane’s local task force team. Myanmar’s government was picking up the tab for the 20,000 gallons of fuel needed for the support planes on the Mandalay leg, he said.”
    “Dozens of trees had to be cleared ahead of the Solar Impulse 2’s arrival at the Mandalay International Airport for its giant mobile hangar and exhibition tent, said Taik Aung, the country’s director of air navigation and safety division. Towering shrubs along the runway also needed to be trimmed to accommodate the plane’s 72-meter wing span, said Corinne Henchoz Pignani, of the Swiss Embassy in Yangon.” (that’s green !)
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSMARCH 19, 2015 reported in Yahoo News March 20, 2015 and Daily Mail, NYT etc.
    https://www.yahoo.com/tech/s/solar-plane-leaves-india-next-stop-myanmar-055852047.html

  53. This was just a stunt, designed to entice even more government subsidy funds out of the knucklehead politicians who still drink the Kool-Aid of renewable energy. Nothing to see here, just move on.

  54. I propose adapting the plane design to incorporate a large rubber band. This is then wound up on the ground by coupling it to a wind turbine. Once fully wound, the plane can take off and perform a powered flight and then glide gracefully to the ground when the rubber band has unwound.
    A plane of such design may of course be rather heavy since it would need to be structurally sound to take the load of the wound rubber band, but aprat from that it has many advantages and as children we have all played with scaled down models so we are familiar with the concept.
    But then again as adults, we put away childish things.

  55. Two months!? Using an SR-71 is a much better marketing tool then using stone wheels!
    Geez!

  56. given the BBCs coverage on the environment I would love to see someone take it to the human rights courts for false imprisonment of people who did not pay their licence fee. Surely having to fund ones own brainwashing has to be a real breach of human rights.
    That is was an internal management group decision to violate its charter should have been reason enough to have the licence fee ended on the day the existence of the committee of 28 was revealed.
    Sadly British government integrity now shows the Chinese up in a good light.

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