The Sunseeker II features solar panels on very small wing areas, and it has an ultralight shape. This solar airplane was designed by Eric Raymond and it’s going to fly above Europe this late-Spring and in the early-Summer when the Sun will shine with more power.
The Sunseeker II will fly in Freidrichshafen, Germany between April 2-5, and in Torino, Italy between June 6-14, but it’s also expected to fly in the Swiss Alps, Australian Dolomites, Slovenia, France, and even Spain.
The Sunseeker II was inspired by Gunther Rochelt’s Musculair MPA’s, and using Gunther’s concept, the designer, Eric Raymond, developed his own hybrid aircraft that needed batteries to take off and increase altitude, but when maintaining level, the plane would run on solar power. Its battery pack is very small, and it would only take 90 minutes for a full recharge as the extra solar energy would go to the batteries. The designer says that he has never been forced to land before late-afternoon and that it’s very comfortable to fly with the canopy open thanks to its slow speed.
“The magic part begins when I near cloud base. With my batteries full, or nearly so, I switch on the motor, and climb up between the clouds, once on top, I can throttle back to fly on direct solar power in the clear, bright conditions over the clouds. Under direct solar power, the Sunseeker II is basically a one-speed airplane, flying about 18 m/s. When soaring conditions are present or if the batteries are used, faster speeds near 36 m/s are possible,” said Eric Raymond.
According to Eric, the Sunseeker II is so quiet that birds are not scared of it, they come near it, and they even land on the solar powered airplane.
Visit Solar Flight for more information and pictures!