Solar Electric Powered Sailplane Glider Concept

We’ve seen electric cars, trains and bikes – but how about an airplane? This was my Master’s thesis project from 1993.  Yes, even 15 years ago, people were thinking about the environment! It’s an electric solar powered sailplane/glider for 2 passengers.  All the wings and the main lower fin fold up for easy storage for ground transportation too.  The propellor turns about the fuselage and the landing gear is retractable. 

And what is it about a sailplane or a sailboat that inspires?  It’s the direct connection that a pilot can have with the air he’s flying through. The only sound you hear is the sound of the wind. You don’t have to even look at the airspeed indicator when you can just listen to the rush of the wind over the canopy. You stall when there’s silence! A thermal rise of warmer air can be felt through the shuddering wings and fuselage letting you instinctively react with the purely mechanical controls. It’s a great feeling!

The above image is of the 1/4 scale model.

2 Replies to “Solar Electric Powered Sailplane Glider Concept”

  1. Cool stuff, but the practical version of this has been in flight for many years now, and a 2 seater is in the works and might be aided by NASA research.

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