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10 things you must know about Solar Impulse 2

10 things you must know about Solar Impulse 2

1. Flying Capacity : Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel. Solar Impulse 2 will climb to 8,500 meters (5.28 miles) during the day, where it can reach its maximum speed and store more solar energy for the night. As dusk arrives, the plane will descend to an altitude of 1,500 meters (0.9 miles) where its speed slows and it’s easier to remain aloft.

2. Size : This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I) for a weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.

Structure : build the entire structure proportionately 10 times lighter than that of the best glider. Every gram added had to be deducted somewhere else, to make room for enough batteries on board, and provide a cockpit in which a pilot can live for a week. In the end, it is of the weight of a small van: 2’300kg!

3. Battery : The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy.During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy

4. Motors : Four brushless, sensorless motors, each generating 17.4 hp (13.5 k), mounted below the wings, and fitted with a reduction gear limiting the rotation speed of a 4 m diameter, two-bladed propeller to 525 rev / min. The entire system is 94% efficient, setting a record for energy efficiency

5. Speed : Solar Impulse can fly at the same speed than a car, between 36 km/h (20 Kts) and 140 km/h (77 Kts).

(At sea level: minimum speed of 45 km/h (20 Kts) and maximum speed of 90 km/h (49 Kts). At maximum altitude: from 57 km/h (31,5 Kts) to 140 km/h (77 Kts).)

6. Robustness :

The upper wing surface is covered by a skin consisting of encapsulated solar cells, and the lower surface by a high-strength, flexible skin. 140 carbon-fiber ribs spaced at 50 cm intervals give the wing its aerodynamic cross-section, and also maintain its rigidity.

7. Simulation Training :

long-duration round-the-world flights by training them on virtual missions in the flight simulator. The idea is to test their ability to endure three days and nights alone in a cockpit of less than 9ft x 5ft x 3ft at an altitude between 3,000ft and 27,000ft. André Borschberg came through the first 72-hour simulation in 2012 with flying colors.

8.World Record 

Solar Impulse with Bertrand Piccard, broke the world records of distance and duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (117 hours and 52 minutes — around 7,200 km, 4,474 miles).

  • Flight time: 117:52 hours\
  • Maximum altitude: 8,634 m (28,000 ft)
  • Average speed: 61.19 km/h, 38 mi/hr
  • Flight plan distance: 7,212 km, 4,481 mi

9. Solar Impulse 2 Project Plan: 

  • 12 years of feasibility study, concept, design and construction
  • 50 engineers and technicians
  • 80 technological partners
  • more than 100 advisers and suppliers
  • 1 prototype (Solar Impulse 1, registered as HB-SIA)
  • 1 final airplane
    (Solar Impulse 2, registered as HB-SIB)

10. Pilot food & Exercise: 

The pilot’s daily intake is 2.4 kg (5.2 lbs) of food, 2.5 liter (84.5 oz, 0.66 US gallon, almost 3 US quarts) of water, and 1 liter (33.8 oz, 0.26 US gallon, 1 US quart) of sports drink per day. His meals include a breakfast, a lunch prepared to be as similar as possible to homemade meals, and snacks including dried fruits and chocolate.During a typical 24-hour flight cycle, the pilot rests 8 times, averaging between 5 and 20 minutes per session. Borschberg also performed yoga 30 to 45 minutes a day to stay fit and prevent any potential negative effects of immobility.

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aviation

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

In a significant milestone for China’s aviation industry, the HH-100 aerial commercial unmanned transportation system successfully completed its maiden flight, as announced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on Wednesday.

The HH-100 demonstrator took to the skies for its inaugural flight at a general aviation airport in Xi’an, located in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. This successful test was conducted by AVIC, China’s leading aircraft manufacturer, marking a pivotal step in the development of the country’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.

Developed independently by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of AVIC based in Xi’an, the HH-100 consists of two main components: an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground-based command-and-control station. This innovative system is designed to offer a cost-effective, high-payload solution for various transportation and logistical needs.

The HH-100 is notable for its low cost and large tonnage capabilities. With a designed maximum take-off weight of 2,000 kilograms and a payload capacity of 700 kilograms, it can transport approximately 4 cubic meters of cargo over a range of 520 kilometers. The drone’s maximum cruise speed is 300 kilometers per hour, and it can operate at altitudes up to 5,000 meters.

Primarily intended for feeder logistics, the HH-100 is also equipped to participate in a variety of other roles, including forest and grassland firefighting, fire monitoring, transportation and delivery of rescue materials, relay communication, and artificial rain enhancement. This versatility makes it a valuable asset in both commercial and emergency response operations.

Looking ahead, AVIC plans to develop a series of products based on the HH-100 platform, with models capable of carrying 5 tons, 10 tons, and even larger payloads. These future developments aim to meet the growing demand for large-scale, intelligent, low-cost, and highly reliable unmanned cargo planes.

The HH-100’s successful first flight marks an important achievement for AVIC and China’s aviation sector, showcasing the potential of homegrown technology to advance the country’s capabilities in unmanned aerial transportation. With its impressive range of features and applications, the HH-100 is poised to play a significant role in enhancing air-ground transportation connectivity and addressing various logistical challenges in the region.

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Aviation

Russia’s Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

Russia's Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

In a strategic move to mitigate the challenges posed by the shortage of spare parts for foreign-made passenger aircraft, Russian carriers are charting a new course by turning to domestic alternatives. At the forefront of this shift are two groundbreaking projects unveiled at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 6.

Leading the charge is Protektor Group, a prominent Russian MRO provider, which has committed a substantial investment of RUB3.5 billion ($39 million) to establish a cutting-edge facility near Moscow Domodedovo airport.

This facility is slated to specialize in the production of spare parts tailored for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrowbody jets, with operations expected to commence in 2026. With a projected workforce of 800 employees, the facility aims to address the pressing demand for critical components in the aviation sector.

This initiative aligns seamlessly with broader governmental endeavors outlined in June 2022, which envisioned the manufacture of 1,036 airplanes using solely Russian parts by 2030. Bolstering this ambition, the state allocated a substantial sum of 283 billion rubles (U.S. $3.1 billion) in January 2024 to propel the production of 609 aircraft, with a particular emphasis on medium-haul models.

Protektor’s trajectory towards this pivotal milestone has been marked by notable achievements, including receiving production organization approval from Rosaviatsia in 2024. Prior to this, the company had earned certification for the overhaul of landing gear for Boeing 737s, solidifying its position as a trusted entity in aircraft maintenance.

Beyond the realm of spare parts production, the Russian aviation industry is poised for a significant transformation as it gears up to redefine its identity. Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, the state-owned conglomerate overseeing aerospace, engineering, and defense sectors, has unveiled ambitious plans to resurrect the renowned ‘Yakovlev‘ brand. This rebranding initiative extends across the spectrum of Russian-made airliners, signaling a new era of innovation and prominence.

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