Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Aviation

Soaring With The Sun: History Of Solar Flight

Recent news about the Solar Impulse and its successful landing journey to Hawaii have many renewable energy champions singing the praises of solar flight, even after learning the plane will have to remain in Hawaii until 2016 while overheated batteries are replaced.

Solar Impulse pilots

After landing in Hawaii, the Solar Impulse team of Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg will resume their flight in 2016 after replacing overheated batteries.

I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with John Perlin, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and one of the few individuals who can trace the remarkable history of solar flight over the decades.

Mr. Perlin author of the book about long history of solar power’s long history, “Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy,”  was present at many of these pioneering endeavors (manned and unmanned) and met pioneers like Paul MacCready (Impulse) and Robert Bosch (Bosch Solar Energy).

MacCready’s Gossamer Condor made history in 1977 when it flew a figure-eight course over a distance of 1.15 miles and became the first human-powered vehicle to achieve sustained, maneuverable flight.

Based on his book, Perlin and I produced a 14-part CleanTechnica miniseries chronicling the development of solar photovoltaics that ran in conjunction with the UN’s 2015 International Year of Light.

For those missing info on this miniseries, here are previously published episodes:

  1. Author John Perlin Celebrates the Coming Year of Light
  2. Author John Perlin & the Solar Cell
  3. The Pathway to Today’s Solar Revolution: Discovering the Photosensitivity of Selenium 
  4. Photovoltaics Discovered in 1875: Interview with Author John Perlin
  5. Photovoltaic Dreaming: First Attempts at Commercializing PV
  6. Einstein: The Father of Photovoltaics Part 1 
  7. Einstein: The Father of Photovoltaics – Part 2 
  8. John Perlin Miniseries #8: Photovoltaics: Saved by Silicon – Part 1
  9. Photovoltaics Miniseries #9: Saved by Silicon – Part 2 
  10. Photovoltaics Miniseries #10: World’s First Practical Solar Cell Victim to Exigencies of Cold War
  11. Photovoltaics Miniseries #11: Nixon’s Solargate
  12. Photovoltaics Miniseries #12: Jimmy Carter’s War Against PV 
  13. John Perlin’s Photovoltaics Miniseries #13: Reagan Nukes Solar 
  14. John Perlin PV Miniseries #14: How Public Policy Matters

A physicist and teacher, Perlin has long been a proponent or solar energy. This series on solar flight seems like a perfect fit.

He wrote to me recalling his first encounter with the dreamers who believed in the idea of solar flight: “Sixteen years ago I headed out to Edwards Air Force Base in the California desert to cover the launch of the solar-powered aircraft, the Helios. The night of my arrival I went to a party celebrating next day’s launch. There I heard talk of a man – Paul MacCready – who realized in the late 1970s da Vinci’s dream of human-powered light. They also spoke of his Pterodactyl – a remote-controlled reconstruction of that ancient huge flying reptile soaring over the Mojave in the mid-1980s. And tomorrow we would see if his solar-powered winged aircraft would fly.”

I look forward to providing this report.

Image and video via Solar Impulse


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Power

Louisiana is poised to lead global green ammonia revolution if all goes according to plan, Mitch or no Mitch.

Clean Power

Rooftop solar, energy storage, and EV charging are front and center in Ford's plans for its Research & Engineering Center in Dearborn, Michigan --...

Clean Power

Whether or not Minority Leader McConnell is 100% focused on obstructing the Biden agenda, more offshore wind energy jobs are coming to the US.

Clean Power

A gas-and-electric utility dreams of a decarbonized future for the US with an assist from green hydrogen and long duration energy storage.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.