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People Still Dream In Other Places

One of those places is Switzerland, where the Piccard family lives. [Jean-Luc Picard of ST-TNG was named for this family.]

Auguste Piccard went higher in a balloon than anyone had ever done. His son, Jacques, went lower into the Marianna Trench. Jacques’ son, Bertrand, is following up his success in being on the crew of the first balloon flight to circumnavigate the Earth, to fly a solar-powered aircraft.

The BBC reports that the Solar plane en route from Spain to Morocco

A solar-powered plane is on its way from Spain to Morocco in a bid to finish the second leg of its transatlantic journey.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard is set to land in the Moroccan capital Rabat by Tuesday evening.

The Solar Impulse, the size of a jumbo jet, is powered by 12,000 solar cells turning four electrical motors.

The 2,500km-trip (1,550 miles), begun in Switzerland in May, is described as a rehearsal for a world tour in 2014 .

Made of carbon fibre, the giant plane is the size of an Airbus A340 but only weighs as much as an average family car, according to its creators.

The Solar Impulse Website is very well done, providing a cockpit view when the aircraft is in flight. [I saw the landing on the site as it occurred.]

This aircraft will never win races, as it is essentially a powered glider, but it gets there without anything but sunshine. At the end of the flight the battery indicator showed 100% charge after about 19 hours in the air.

I assume they will be flying to an airport on the coast of West Africa and then probably to the Azores, before making the long flight across the Atlantic.

The Piccards still dream.

5 comments

1 Steve Bates { 06.06.12 at 3:24 pm }

After several minutes (!) of slowly flashing lights, I received an Error 503 Service Unavailable. I’ll try again later tonight.

2 Steve Bates { 06.06.12 at 5:39 pm }

Based on the display at the bottom of the browser, this appears to have something to do with AdBlock+. I don’t know whether to disable it for the solarimpulse site or not. Do they have lots of ads?

3 Bryan { 06.06.12 at 6:08 pm }

The only ‘ads’ on the site are sponsor links at the top, so it must be the way the embeds for the videos are done.

The cockpit view is only available when they are actually flying, so they have a lot of the background stuff for the effort up now.

This is a great plane for just watching the world go by, because the average speed for the latest flight was about 60 KPH, city traffic speeds, but you don’t have to stop for gas. Much of the flight is spent 8 km [5 miles] up, so you are on oxygen. The plane is design to fly at those altitudes, so you have to ‘fly it down’ to land, like any powered glider.

I’m not having a problem, but then I deal with ads by ignoring them.

4 Steve Bates { 06.08.12 at 7:01 pm }

I disabled AdBlock+ on that site, and things work fine… cool site. For a couple of years, AB+ caused me no trouble anywhere; now it causes trouble many places. I’ve grown too comfortable with the lack of constant flicker just out of my visual focus, but I may have to give it up.

5 Bryan { 06.08.12 at 8:37 pm }

People are now using the techniques that were once limited to ads for elements of their own pages as part of the push for features on a web site. I understand the concept, but the execution generally falls into the mess that was printed material when people discovered fonts. Lots of people can understand the process, but few have the talent or ‘taste’ to use them effectively.