Saturday, May 14, 2011

Solar Airplane Completes Ten Non-Stop Laps Around the Earth

Celebrated solar-powered plane Solar Impulse flew around the Earth an astounding ten times on Friday, setting a new world record for self-sustained air flight.

Wait a minute... I'm being told that the plane didn't actually fly around the Earth, but flew from one country to another. Sorry about that. Solar Impulse set a new record for self-sustained flight by flying across the Atlantic Ocean.

What? It didn't cross an ocean? Well, that's no problem, after all, it's not that far from Europe to Africa, right? First trans-continental air flight for a solar-powered plane. Excuse me.

No? It flew between two European countries? Well, despite Europe being the smallest continent, it's still a pretty significant span from Greece to Ireland. Thousands of miles is nothing to scoff at.

Umm... it flew from Switzerland to Belgium? Well, that's still pretty cool. How far is that anyway?

About 300 miles, eh? Well, it is solar flight, so I guess it's still primitive. And three hundred miles is a pretty good distance to go with just the sun powering your plane. And at 300 miles per hour, that flight would only take an hour anyway. A one hour flight from Payerne, Switzerland to Brussels, Belgium is actually pretty remarkable when you consider that you've paid nothing for fuel.

Not an hour? Wait, you're saying that this plane flight took just over twelve hours? Are you sure about that? You sure you didn't say PM when you meant AM? No? So this plane flew 300 miles in 12 hours? Let me calculate that really quickly:

300 miles / 12 hours = 25 miles/hour

Oh... really? The plane averaged 25 miles per hour? That can't be right. That's the speed limit in a school zone! I guess it had to circle around a lot. Well, driving from Switzerland to Belgium at 25 MPH sounds extremely tedious. At least it carried a lot of passengers.

Two? Just two people? The plane only weighs 3,500 pounds? I'm pretty sure that my Saturn Ion weighs more than that. So this plane, carrying two people, weighing less than my car, made the equivalent of the trip from Atlanta to Nashville in twelve hours at an average equivalent speed of 25 MPH? Wow!

Uh, no, not "Wow, that's great," just "Wow." So this plane is actually scheduled to circle the Earth like I thought it already had? Pfft. Good luck with that. I mean, I'm a big fan of solar power, but you might need a whole month to make that happen. I'll just check in when that happens.


  1. AnonymousMay 26, 2011

    it is very nice post.As of now, solar power and solar related devices are expensive. But it may be reduced if most of the people start using it. Let us see the future of solar power.

  2. This is very nice post, although clearly you didn't read it. Let us see the future of solar power.