First powered flights of Sunseeker Duo


The first flight was conducted at Solar Flight’s test facility in Voghera, Italy by Eric Raymond on December 17; the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.

Over the past months, the flying qualities of the airplane, as well as the performance of the battery system, motor, propeller, folding hub mechanism, and landing gear retraction systems have been explored. After some instability in pitch was observed during the unpowered test flights, more area and additional solar cells were added to the horizontal stabilizer. Now the airplane is docile with good control authority in the air and on the ground. The performance is better than the previous airplane in every category; operations are easier because the landing gear and systems are more conventional; and the airplane has enough excess power to carry a passenger and baggage.

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