All photos from the Solar Impulse Facebook page
Perfect older test flight pic of the Solar Impulse and it's power supply: the sun
A huge congratulations goes out to Solar Impulse pilot André Borscherg and a very tired team of people that made the 26 hour overnight solar powered flight a success! It was a very exciting and impressive accomplishment, and puts this project well on its way to eventually flying around the world on nothing more than sun juice. More flight details will soon be posted at SolarImpulse.com.
Here's an interesting look at the fuselage and main spar structure during the build process. The massive box spar gives a good view of why that extremely long 208 foot wing is able to resist twist. Of course the structures are built primarily out of carbon fiber for both high strength and light weight. This huge airplane, with a wingspan essentially the same as a 747-400, has a max take off weight of just 4,400 pounds.
This view of the wing spar helps to give an idea of just how big it is. This also looks like my kind of place to work... a design studio, engineering department and testing and manufacturing facility all rolled into one!
A close up view of one of the four 10hp motor assemblies. I'm not certain, but it appears that the motor is the ribbed silver component that has the black duct (cooling?) coming out of it. The large black and silver rotating hub assembly at the front has a ring gear inside the aft silver part. That would put the motor shaft in the right place then to drive the hub that rides on a bearing at the end of the smaller silver cylinder mounted on the centerline.
It's really amazing that just four of these small motors are able to put the Solar Impulse into the sky. This is one of the reasons that when battery technology advances another several generations, I think we'll definitely see some form of practical electric flight for everyday use.
Congratulations again to the entire team of people that have made the Solar Impulse such a great success thus far!
Check out more interesting photos at the Solar Impulse Facebook page