This solar-hydrogen plane might just be what Transportation Tuesday heaven looks like! The Hy-bird, by Lisa Airplanes, is a lightweight, hybrid plane made out of lightweight carbon fiber – it’s final weight will be just 1.1 tons. Lithium-polymer batteries will provide the plane’s main power source and solar photovoltaics, covering the plane’s 20-meter-long wings, will provide about 10% of its power. Those of you who find this innovation familiar may recall seeing a computer animation of the Hy-bird in the 11th Hour documentary. But this eco-friendly flying dream machine will soon be taking flight for real! The Hy-bird is set to travel around the world early next year!
We’ve previously featured the Solar Impulse, another solar-powered plane prototype, which is set to take flight around the world in 2011. The creators of the Hy-bird expect much earlier results, taking their hybrid into flight by 2009. Exciting news, and we certainly hope they can meet their deadline. Out of all the modes of transportation, finding a green alternative to flying is definitely proving to be the most difficult. Seems a little solar-powered plane competition can only help speed up eco-innovation in aviation.