Solar Impulse plane sets off for New York in last leg
Published: 6th Jul 2013 10:18:30
The Solar Impulse plane has taken off for the final leg of its bid to cross the US on solar power alone.
The craft set off at 04:56 local time (08:56 GMT) on Saturday from Washington DC on a course for New York's John F Kennedy airport.
Pilot Andre Borschberg anticipates a journey time of about 21 hours.
The Across America transcontinental bid began in San Francisco, California, and included stopovers in Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, and St Louis, Missouri.
The Solar Impulse HB-SIA has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but at a weight of just 1.6 tonnes. By comparison, a fully laden A340 weighs about 370 tonnes.
The plane's wing and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which drive its four propellers and charge the plane's 400kg of lithium-ion batteries for night-time flying.
The project has been billed as the first time that a solar-powered plane capable of flying day and night has attempted a journey across the US.
Mr Borschberg and his fellow pilot of the single-seat craft have been alternating flying duties, with each leg of the trip designed to be under 24 hours in length.
The prior leg was complicated by high winds and air traffic, so it was re-routed via Cincinnati at the last minute in order to stay under this limit.
"It was difficult to find all these 'weather windows' in the States - especially this last one," Mr Borscherg told BBC News prior to the flight.
"We had so much to organise to make it feasible - to integrate an experimental airplane like Solar Impulse in the busiest air traffic in the world, flying from Washington to Kennedy (airport) was extremely hard."
The Across America project is the last outing for the HB-SIA prototype craft.
Mr Piccard's and Mr Borschberg's intention is to finish a larger, two-seat plane, the HB-SIB, and fly it around the world in the spring of 2015.
That, Mr Borschberg said, would be "many times more complex than what we did here in the US".
"Working in one country with one language makes it of course easier than working internationally on different continents with all the logistics," he said.
"The unpredictable side of the project requires a lot of preparation."
The HB-SIA craft carried out the first inter-continental flight in 2012 and holds the world record for the longest manned solar-powered flight at 26 hours.
During the Across America bid, it set the record for the greatest distance of a manned solar-powered flight.
The project coincides with Piccard's and Borschberg's Clean Generation Initiative, an effort to encourage policy-makers and businesses to develop and adopt sustainable energy technologies.
At a welcoming event when the craft reached Washington DC, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said: "If you look at the Department of Energy's research programmes and technology visions, it involves many of the same kind of technology advances that these gentlemen have put together in an integrated system to accomplish something that would not have been thought of a few years ago.
"I believe in 10 years we're going to see the fruits of all these technologies changing the world."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2013. Solar Impulse plane sets off for New York in last leg [Online] (Updated 6th Jul 2013)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1494237/Solar-Impulse-plane-sets-off-for-New-York-in-last-leg [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com