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Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

Posted May 05, 2013 11:05 AM

From BBC News - Science & Environment:

A solar-powered aircraft that developers hope to eventually pilot around the world has landed in Phoenix Arizona on the first leg of a flight across America.

Read the whole article and watch the video

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#1

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/05/2013 12:00 PM

If I could stay awake all night, I'd have gone down and watched it land. I think it was scheduled to touch down at 12:30 AM. That was probably by design.

I'd hate to think what would happen if this fragile thing had to follow a 474 on approach.

ATC at Sky Harbor doesn't make concessions for private aviation in the pattern.

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#2

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/05/2013 12:56 PM

Oops...

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 12:59 PM

Was that NASA's Helios UAV?

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 1:38 PM

See http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/64317main_helios.pdf, page 36 (in other words, "yes", it was Helios)

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 3:02 PM

I thought the falling remnants looked familiar. I do remember reading about the Helios project as I vacationed at the PMRF (Barking Sands) in the 2000-2001 timeframe. I have a friend who was a survival specialist in the Navy who was stationed there. I apparently missed the story of its demise as I was more or less incommunicado at the time of the mishap being down range in a unit movement between Kabul and Bagram in Aug of 2003.

Thanks !!

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#3

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 3:14 AM

At about the 0:10 or 0:11 second mark, the announcer refers to the "co-pilot" of Solar Impulse. At around the 0:55 second mark, he says it's a "single-seater." Does this make anyone else wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the report? Even the second iteration of the design (the HB-S1B) is intended to be a single-seat aircraft, though the group intends to someday build a third one that can circumnavigate the globe in a single flight; THAT one is expected to have two seats because of the long duration required.

The ARE two pilots available, but only one can be in the plane at a time, and thus neither can serve as co-pilot to the other when flying this airplane. They are supposed to fly alternate legs of the trip across the US.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 5:00 AM

Pilot to co-pilot,,,,,come in please.....

maybe the co-pilot is autopilot ...?

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#5
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Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 10:20 AM

An interesting theory, but autopilot ≠ copilot. If it did, the airlines would cut down the number of cockpit personnel INSTANTLY. Heck, if they could claim that the autopilot could take over for BOTH pilot & co-pilot, they would . . . and the navigator, flight engineer, and so on would best prepare for new careers, too. Self-propelled beverage carts and pillow dispensers would eliminate stewards/stewardesses - and they could squeeze a couple of additional paying seats in as a result. [Cynical? Who, me?]

I've never held anything higher than a student license, but I did solo, and made my long cross-country solo. I've had formal ground school, and been a member of four aviation organizations (and I'm still quite active in two of them). I am building my own airplane - yep, a single-seater! - and so know a fair amount of the terminology.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 11:53 AM

Oooooh pilot seat to the highest bidder....I also have done some flying, so I know how easy it is to fly,,,,at least until something goes wrong...

The announcement you never want to hear......

This is the guy in the pilots seat, I think something's gone wrong....!!!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 12:17 PM

The announcement you never want to hear......

This is the guy in the pilots seat, I think something's gone wrong....!!! Is there a pilot on the plane?

And the answer is usually going to be , "No", because actual pilots will know better than to be passengers on completely automated planes [at least under such a "make it cheaper" philosophy by airline management].

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: Giant Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

05/06/2013 11:02 PM

Wait,,,,there does seem to be a pilot on board.....

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