North Texas Renewable Energy Group - Event Photo Journal
 
May 25, 2013 - "Solar Impulse" Airplane Visits Dallas / Fort Worth
 
The "Solar Impulse" is an airplane that's powered exclusively by solar electricity. The wings, which span 208 feet (equal to that of an Airbus A340 jumbo jet), are completely covered in 10,728 solar cells. In spite of its size, the Solar Impulse weighs only 3,527 lbs (1,600 kg) .. about the same as a Toyota Prius automobile. Four DC motors each rated to develop 10 horsepower propel the Solar Impulse at an average flying speed of 43 miles per hour (70 kph). Batteries, which are charged by the solar cells covering the wings, store energy for flying at night.
 
The Solar Impulse flew cross-country in 2013, with one of the stops at the Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, where it was on display for several days. We were one of only six cities in America to enjoy the rare privilege to see history in the making up close as the Solar Impulse winged its way from coast to coast.


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To protect the Solar Impulse and provide a shaded viewing area, it was on display inside this large tent.
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The plane has room for only one person - the pilot.
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A long thin tail gives the Solar Impulse the profile of a very large dragonfly.
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Wings are 208 feet long - the same as on a jumbo jetliner!
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Four electric motors power the Solar Impulse. Each is rated ten horsepower.
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The cockpit looks roomy, but there's barely enough space for one pilot, and it's a tight squeeze for the taller of the two pilots who take turns flying the plane.
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What is everyone looking at??
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They're looking at the large tail. It's large to provide adequate control, because the plane flies so slowly.
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A radiator leak? No.... It rained, and water got into the tent.
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The plane weighs less than 3,500 lbs, and requires only slender landing gear, which appears very fragile.
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Batteries aren't located in the airplane body. Instead, they're mounted in each motor housing along the wings.
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208 feet from wingtip to wingtip. That's 2/3 the length of a football field!
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The two pilots explained what it was like to fly the Solar Impulse.
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The pilots also answered many questions from youngsters and adults alike.
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SunPower provided the solar cells that cover the wings. The cells are cut so thin they're flexible.
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Back-side of the solar cells showing the electrical contacts.
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A photo showing the top-side of the wings and solar cells.
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The caption in this poster says it all... Fueled by Dreams. Driven by Passion.
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The Solar Impulse in flight.

 

Photo credit for select images courtesy of NTREG member Richard Bach.

 

 

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