- Mar 18, 2010
OK so many are worried about range etc etc etc. This version of the plane is going to be specifically used to fly from "Perth" in WA to Rottenest Island. A 25 minute ferry ride. A distance of around 34km (21 miles) . In the Video it shows the plane traveling at around 145 kph and a range of 280 kms. Think it has more than enough range. A 1 hour flight time should be definitely more than enough safety margin for this situation. Obviously this is all about proving the concept and only actually using it will allow them to move on to bigger things.
145 km/h is much worse than I thought. That's only about 90 mph. For any type of land distance travel, a car will take less time (assuming a not too circuituous route) once you factor in wait times. Heck, a Tesla would be more efficient and faster while being able to carry more people and cargo. Air travel is the least efficient of transportation forms, with the only benefit being speed.
Even considering water routes, it makes no sense. The fastest ferry is capable of up to 107 km/h, nearly negating any speed advantages of the plane, while offering much greater capacity. Over 1000 passengers, the capacity of two jumbo jets, and 150 cars, and a range of at least 150 miles.
This does not excite me: the charging time and flight times make it inconvenient. I would have liked to see solar panels on the wings, so long as they are efficient enough to extend flight time.
I do not see this replacing cars to ease traffic congestion because you still need an airport to takeoff/ land.
I think the real thing in aviation that could change the way we commute will be VTOL- basically drones for humans. VTOL would eliminate the need for airports in the case of daily commutes and have been working on increased battery range using current technology.
High speed flight (anything above 100 mph) simply consumes too much power for solar power to make a difference.
VTOL (drone, aka helicopters) are extremely inefficient. A fixed wing craft has greater range with the same amount of fuel and overall weight.