We’ve been tracking the progress of the world’s first solar-powered two-seater airplane since the Sunseeker Duo made its initial public appearance in Friedrichshafen, Germany nearly one year ago. Since then, the plane was transported to Italy where it successfully completed seven test flights. Now, European company Solar Flight has announced that its Sunseeker Duo has made major advancements towards the goal of passengers flights this summer.
Solar Flight has spent the last few months doing further testing and the results are promising. The company reports that the electric aircraft has good control in the air and on the ground and outperforms the previous version, called Sunseeker II, which made the first solar-powered flight over the Alps (Sunseeker I crossed the United States in 1990.) The Sunseeker Duo is capable of cruising for more than 12 hours with two people onboard at a maximum power output of 25 kw.
The Sunseeker Duo has a wingspan of 22 meters (72 feet), weighs 280 kilograms (617.3 pounds) and features more than 1,500 solar cells on the wings and tail with the sun’s energy stored in a lithium-polymer battery pack located in the fuselage. The solar cells are more than 20 percent efficient.
“We are working very hard to have the airplane tested and ready for passenger flights by this summer,” says Irene Raymond, the wife and project partner of project leader Eric. “No sight is more captivating than Earth from above. It will be even more beautiful from the cockpit of a solar powered airplane.”
Lead image via Solar Flight