Gallery: TRANSPORTATION TUESDAY: Energy-Efficient Oriens Glider


This stunning energy-efficient glider recently took top prize in the Lucky Strike Junior Designer Competition for its innovative re-envisioning the life-cycle of the airplane. Designed by Roland Cernat, the Oriens Glider is constructed entirely of recyclable materials, runs on clean energy, and boasts a sleek translucent shell finished with glossy organic contours.

In the past we’ve covered several future-forward airplanes that breathe a breath of fresh air into an industry made infamous for its colossal carbon footprint. Roland Cernat’s blue-sky concept plane innovates upon these designs as an effortless glider that looks beyond its product life-cycle.

He describes his Oriens Glider as “A plane with [a] reinvented lifecycle based on the Cradle-to-Cradle principle. It combines an ecological energy concept and sustainable materials, with an organic design language and bionic inspired details”.

Cernat’s concept is governed by a “designed-for-disassembly” philosophy based upon the Cradle-to-Cradle ideals, thus all of its materials are easily recyclable. The glider’s frame is constructed out of a lightweight flax bio-compound that is CO2 neutral, recyclable, and its transparent body is constructed out of polycarbonate, which can be repeatedly recycled without compromising its integrity.

The glider’s wings are crested with photovoltaic cells that provide for emissions-free flight, and an electric motor houses a propeller that retracts when gliding for increased efficiency. For safety and practicality, a fuel engine and generator allows the plane to operate as a hybrid.

We’re impressed by the Oriens Glider’s smooth streamlined curves and transparent construction that contribute an aerodynamic profile while creating an in-flight experience similar to that of a para-glider or hang-glider.

+ Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award
+ Oriens Glider

All images by Roland Cernat


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  1. Alan Larson July 20, 2008 at 2:10 am

    It’s pretty. However, he leaves out details like structural strength so it doesn’t fold up the first time the wings try to lift its weight. There is no hint of what magical material will be strong enough to support this craft.
    Looking at the pictures, there appears to be no place for luggage or the combustion engine. Interestingly,
    some pictures show the body to be transparent behind the seats, others show it white opaque.
    Another magical material is the “transparent” solar cells — remember, if something is transparent, light passes through it. If light passes through it, it doesn’t capture the energy from the light. Also, note that solar cells have metal on their backside (as noted elsewhere in the pictures) which also prevents them being transparent.
    There really isn’t room to stash a useful prop in the space shown, either.

    Magical materials and energy sources are nice dreams, but if you want to build something, it has to be made with real materials, not magic.

    Sorry, this annoys me, because these folks are not solving any real problems — they are just daydreaming.

  2. IGreenSpot July 17, 2008 at 2:23 am

    cool design, especially the transparent body, can make you feel really at the top of the world

  3. BlueBerry July 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    WOW, I’m loving it. Great design.

  4. ac1dfl3sh July 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I think it’s a beautiful design. To bad it’s only a concept for now- I would love to see these things zipping around!

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