The Hy-Bird may be an interesting concept aircraft, but I wonder if placing what looks to be an out-of-scale illustration of the plane over what looks to be Bryce Canyon might be coming in a bit too high.
photo: Trina Solar
I feel a bit weird posting on this topic, considering the product launch/test flight is well over a year away and so much could change between now and the end of 2009, but since Trina Solar has announced that it will be supplying nearly 300 solar PV cells for LISA Airplanes' Hy-Bird aircraft, a progress report is warranted. No, that’s not a typo. It’s called the Hy-Bird.
The LISA Hy-Bird
Pictured above in an artist’s conception, LISA intends the Hy-Bird to be the first airplane to fly around the world using 100% renewably generated electricity as its power. Solar PV cells will be affixed to the wings and tail of the aircraft, which will produce enough power for take-off and for all onboard electronics. Hy-Bird’s electric engine will be powered from a hydrogen fuel cell once aloft.
Not much more is available on the project at the moment: A scale model of the plane has been built, with the final craft to be built and ready to fly by the end of 2009. For the around-the-world flight, the Hy-Bird will be flown in west to east in 1500 km stages. At each stage a different pilot, from the nation in which the plane will land, will control the aircraft.