Solar-Powered Planes Changing the Playbook of Aviation

A leading company in the field of solar-powered aviation known as Bye Aerospace, announced the first successful flight for their “StratoAirNet” airplane this month.

Image from Solar Daily

power has changed the face of utility production for an entire generation. Solar and renewable energy innovations have revolutionized how we think about the energy needs of residential homes and businesses everywhere. We are familiar with solar-powered solutions that allow for more efficient and cost-effective utility, such as rooftop panels. These on-the-ground innovations have changed life as we know it. There is more to consider, however, in the realm of possibility for solar power usages. What about travel and transportation? How can solar power change the way businesses conduct deliveries and other travel needs?

Most have never considered how solar power might impact flight and air travel, but there are some major breakthroughs in the arena of solar aviation currently being publicized. A leading company in the field of solar-powered aviation known as Bye Aerospace, announced the first successful flight for their “StratoAirNet” airplane this month. This medium altitude, pilot operated, solar electric technology demonstrator is just one in a series of aircrafts created by Bye Aerospace. Founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, George E. Bye, mentioned that this first flight for the StratoAirNet would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, along with his dedicated team at Bye Aerospace for their persistence and efforts. This breakthrough in utilizing solar power marks an incredible milestone for Bye Aviation, but also for solar aerospace innovators everywhere.

Two Solar-Powered Plane Prototypes

A prototype known as “Solesa” is also a highlight in Bye Aerospace’s latest solar plane innovations, in addition to their StratoAirNet Series. Both of these serve similar purposes, but are intended for separate missions. The StratoAirNet, for example, is intended for longer use, while the Solesa is primarily made for shorter distances. With many more prototypes in the works currently being tested, it is likely businesses may one day get to pick and choose the solar transportation crafts for their own day-to-day operations that best serve the needs of their customers.

Advantages of Solar-Powered Planes

Both aircrafts will be piloted by a single pilot and will offer many of the same advantages as the other. The airplanes were originally designed with commercial and business operations in mind, as well as government security procedures. The vision has now also expanded to include a variety of goals such as patrol and observation, search and rescue missions, and even mapping for agricultural purposes.

These solar airplanes also offer several practical benefits that will be appealing to commercial and business owners and even government officials. The per unit cost for these solar aircrafts is reduced due to the nature of solar cell technology. The building materials the crafts are made of are incredibly efficient and save money in the long run. The overall production and operating costs are also reduced. Additionally, the noise of each solar aircraft is lower compared to traditional planes, as well as the lowered heat production.

One of the best benefits of these solar-powered planes is the reduced need for expensive fuel. The cost of fuel for aircrafts is known to be very expensive for commercial and business flights, adding strain to many company budgets. These solar planes will increasingly be in demand for businesses as globalization makes travel not just within the United States imperative, but international travel as well.

The Future of Solar Aviation

Bye Aerospace states on their site that they are the “Innovation for the Next Generation,” and they have been dedicated to the field of solar aerospace technology for over ten years since their founding in 2007. In addition to their current projects developing single flyer aircrafts, they are working to construct two and four person solar-powered aircrafts.

One of their other primary projects that is becoming more and more well-known is called the Sun Flyer. Bye Aerospace makes two different models of the Sun Flyer aircrafts, including a two-seat and 4-seat version. These aircrafts are particularly helpful to train pilots and do not require the heavy fuel costs of traditional aircrafts. These clean, renewable energy training aircrafts coincide with Bye Aerospace’s mission to provide the aviation world with solar-powered and renewable energy aircrafts.




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