Priligy online now, save money

JUL 09

Recent Comment

"This article inspired me to have my writer produce an article that can..."

View all Comments

Solar Powered Bubble Plane is Awesome

A design for an ultra-environmental aricraft just won the top prize at the prestigious Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award. Roland Cernat, who just graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Schwäbisch Gmünd / Germany created the airplane with the environment in mind.

First, once in the air, it can travel entirely fuelessly, much like other ultra-light gliders. It can tuck away it's tiny propellers for 100% aerodynamic flight. But when it needs an extra boost, generally for take-off, the glider's propellers unfurl, driven by a small electric motor that is powered either by an on-board generator or by thin film solar panels on the planes wings and tail.

We've seen other ultra-lights that get good gas mileage, but every component of this plane was constructed for minimal environmental impact.

The cockpit is constructed entirely from a new kind of plastic that can be melted and re-molded infinitely for cradle to cradle use. It also allows the entire body of the airplane to be clear. And though some (including myself) might this find extremely disconcerting, others would love the experience.

I talked briefly with Roland about the design, and wondered what kind of fuel efficiency one could expect. He said, flying at night and with the worst winds possible, a flight would be about 30 miles per gallon. But with the trickle charge of the solar panels, plus an option to charge from the grid, it's possible that the plane would use absolutely no energy over the course of a flight.

Now that's an airplane I can get excited about!

Check out more images of the glider below.

Hits: 27135
Comments (32)Add Comment
0
Woo!
written by Troy Sherk, July 09, 2008
What's not to love about minimally impacting the environment while flying?!
0
A personal Aircraft
written by The Food Monster, July 10, 2008
http://thefoodmonsterblog.blogspot.com
Is this for personal aircrafts. Have we entered that age? I am excited about the possibilities.
0
wow
written by Luke, July 10, 2008
that looks amazing.

haastek.co.uk
0
Wow
written by Lennart Goosens, July 10, 2008
Wow, that's definitely made of awesome. But it also seems a bit far-fetched, and far from actually being applied. Also, I wonder how the same principles could be applied to bigger aircraft, because that's generally what the industry wants. If an environmentally savvy Airbus A380 was built, we would have won! ;D
0
...
written by Clinch, July 10, 2008
100% aerodynamic flight


Isn't that impossible though? Unless it weighs the same as air, then it'll need energy to keep itself airborne, and unless the surface area in its direction of travel is zero, then there's going to be air resistance.

And I agree with Lennart, this technology needs to be applied to the big aircraft (and most other vehicles relay), and I also think that personal aircraft are not the way to go, they just aren't practical.
0
Wow
written by Lennart Goosens, July 10, 2008
Wow, that's definitely made of awesome. But it also seems a bit far-fetched, and far from actually being applied. Also, I wonder how the same principles could be applied to bigger aircraft, because that's generally what the industry wants. If an environmentally savvy Airbus A380 was built, we would have won! ;D
0
...
written by Joel, July 10, 2008
Has it ever flown?
0
Until it Flys...
written by Queeg, July 10, 2008
... it's what engineers call a 'paper airplane.'
0
pretty, but i've got a bridge for sale..
written by metis, July 10, 2008
great concept, *very* speculative science and engineering behind it.

glide flight doesn't take any power other than the power to get UP to where you start to glide. i'm not certain that polycarbonate will be cradle to cradle if it's impregnated with transparent solar cells, and while it's used for current airplane parts, it'd relatively heavy compared to a skin on frame type of construction.

0
...
written by kao, July 11, 2008
100 % aerodynamic flight IS possible. As i've already spent a few flights in gliders as pilot, the only power needed for this kind of flights is for the take off, tracted by a plane or something else, just for taking the altitude of 1600 feet, then you use only thermic or dynamic wind power to stay up. There is also gliders with small engines giving the power for the take off or for taking back a safe altitude.
By the way THIS project IS possible and totally awesome. Wait and see.
0
great
written by gedop, July 11, 2008
great invention its wonderful I want to fly this plane
0
sustained flight != 100% aerodynamic
written by metis, July 11, 2008
yes, thermals will get you back up, however you will always have some friction, even if it's just air on air to provide lift, and movement around the cabin, which as i understand it would not be 100% aerodynamic. but maybe i'm missing something in the definition there.
0
...
written by Clinch, July 11, 2008
100% aerodynamic is as impossible as perpetual motion.
A plane may be aerodynamic enough that the loss of energy in small planes traveling at low speeds is less than the available thermic/dynamic wind power, but this by no means makes it 100% aerodynamic.
0
Concept, not reality
written by fauxscot, July 11, 2008
CAD. It's easy to mistake an image for reality. When this is made, the claims can be evaluated. Until then, it might as well be done in crayon.

FWIW, helium balloons require no energy either, but don't do particular well travelling INTO the wind.

The concept of free flying is nice, but for this to function as a legitimate transportation modality, it not only has to have super high lift to drag ratio, it has to be able to propel itself at speeds exceeding winds aloft, in order to be anything other than a fun ride.

Really, it's a beautiful concept, but why report on it as if it as real thing? It is apparently not. Correct me if I'm wrong.
0
Just a thought
written by David V, July 11, 2008
Oh, eye candy...like a beautiful girl you distract me from the ultimate hypocrisy in eco-friendliness: personal air travel.
0
Not as silly as you might think!
written by Tom Buckner, July 11, 2008
Did you know that an area of the US the size of South Carolina is paved? There are a lot of people driving long trips when they could be flying something like this. Even existing small aircraft often get better mpg than many cars/SUVs.
0
...
written by JIm Jones, July 12, 2008
Solar Powered Bubble Planes rock! I would love to have one.
www.FireMe.To/udi
0
...
written by Hakib, July 12, 2008
I really hope he was forced to show numerical studies along with this design.

This newest generation of industrial designers seem to be little more than 3d design specialists. Lets hope that this guy actually knows the terms "Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption", "Momentum Drag", and "Lift Coefficient"
0
http://www.find-green.info/search/solar-
written by Baby Steps, July 12, 2008
While I agree that this is a far cry from the larger aircrafts that the industry wants, it's still baby steps that gets us there. It's exciting that we are seeing more and more baby-steps all over the world,besides, kudos for a really cool design!!!
0
It Has Been Done Before in 1980
written by bad designer, July 12, 2008
It has been done before and for real!

The designer has made so many errors in the material selection that this is just a fantasy, a "I wish" it could be true. Since when has polycarbonate been strong enough at its given density to allow for this type of structure? nice job of green washing a cool looking design that has ZERO substance.

It is just a styling study until he actually does the math. Nothing wrong with it, but stop making it out to be doable. Pretty pictures, nothing more, for everyone who thinks this is innovative check out:

http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=709

and for another Stylist try to be a aerodynamisist check out:


http://www.instablogs.com/solarelectric-hybrid-sailplane-glider-concept/
0
Sorry I it was 1990!
written by bad designer, July 12, 2008
And the home page is here:

http://www.solar-flight.com/
0
...
written by Cage, July 12, 2008
Linda Carter should get one of these and fly around in her Wonder Woman suit.
0
what powers the ac?
written by Charles Tighe, July 12, 2008
looks like it would be damn hot in there... hope theres really good ventilation or solar powered A/C :)
0
Pie in the sky
written by Mike Hallett, July 13, 2008
Who said anything about Polycarbonate? In the write-up it says a new type of plastic which can be melted and moulded. That is not polycarbonate.
The assertion that it uses no energy is ridiculous. It has mass and, if it is flying work is certainly being done, therefore energy is expended during the process. I suspect the author meant only "free" energy is utilised under those circumstances.
Interesting, futuristic concept, but reality is a long way from making it feasible, though, like all these dreams, I'm sure we'll get somewhere very near it in the end. Even if we only gain from technology spin-off, it'll be worth it.
0
...
written by Clinch, July 13, 2008
plastic which can be melted and moulded. That is not polycarbonate.


Check the dictionary/wikipedia, I think you'll find it is.
0
...
written by Rick, July 13, 2008
It's structurally deficient, mechanically and aerodynamically ignorant, but heh! Roger Rabbit would look cool cruising the skies of Toon Town in it.

Rick
0
SUN BURN, COOKED GOOSE
written by JW, July 13, 2008
Is seems an awesome technical proposal. I was wondering though...in a clear plane...would the sun tan you seriously or would the body act as a magnifying glass and cook your goose?
0
Sun Burn? Probably not.
written by Clinch, July 13, 2008
You probably wouldn't get sunburned, similar to how you don't get sunburned from the sunlight coming through your car windows*, although it would still act like a greenhouse (and opening a window, or using AC isn't really an option, as it would severely decrease the plane's performance).

Heating could be a big problem (unless this plastic is very good at transmitting heat [which I highly doubt]) and the only 'practical' way I can see of solving the problem, is to coat everything inside (including the pilot) with mirrors, to reflect away the sun's rays.

[*although, in cars, they use glass for windows, which naturally blocks out UV rays, and it's not know whether this new plastic will do the same (but they could coat it with something to have the same effect)]
0
personal air travel - hypocrisy?
written by Paul, July 15, 2008
I dont hold with personal air travel being hypocrisy (David V's comment) but it does need developement to beome eco friendly. This design is really eye candy, but some features are well founded, we need artist designers like this to provide the inspiration for teh engineers!. Motorglider aerodynamics are the way to go, but need couplimng with light weight for low power requirements (thermals not always being available or on your desired route). I have been looking at coming at this from the ultralight end of things and using electric power. Calculations suggest that we can have a one seat recreational craft capable of one hour no thermal flights using efficient brushless motors, and 50Kg battery mass on current technology. A small wind generator on the hangar roof with avarerage windspeeds here in the Uk will provide enough generation for around 150 hours of flight usage per annum - twice the recreational fliers average use. This way perehps we can enjoy flight with an eco conscience!

Technology is advancing fast now so it isnt too fanciful to look forwards to real transport potential, and as one postee said on this thread we dont need ashphalt door to door either!

Paul
0
The 'clean' Airbus
written by John, July 18, 2008
During the last oil crisis Lockheed developed a liquid hydrogen fuel design to compete with the 747. Three things killed it, Lockheed decided to leave commercial aircraft, oil prices dropped and they couldn't get the necessary gov't investment in infrastructure. The fuel it turns out has many advantages over the kerosene family allowing lighter planes with greater payload percent and/or range. Some safety advantages as well. Maybe high oil and CO2 will do it this time.
0
Bubble plane, what will they think of ne
written by Terry Richards, August 12, 2008
The ultralight bubble plane is sweeeeeeet. Pigs will be flying the day it lands on my ultralight site.
0
Way to go on that find.
written by Terry Richards, August 12, 2008
This article inspired me to have my writer produce an article that can be found on this ultralight site in a couple weeks.

Write comment

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy
 

Are you an EcoGeek?

We've got to keep 7 billion people happy without destroying our planet. It's the biggest challenge we've ever faced....but we're taking it on. Are you with us?




The Most Popular Articles