Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.

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Solar Safari

Pour sun over them and enjoy the ride
  [vote for,

Finally someone offers solar safaris, something we've all been waiting for.

1. At the base station, you get two days of quick but relaxed training on how to fly with the solar airplanes. Relax, this is part of your vacation.

2. From day 3 onwards the safari starts. You get your own semi-direct solar powered plane.

3. The day schedule looks like this:

-8.00am breakfast with coffee, tea, lots of water and discussion of the day's travel plan.

-9.00am, the Sun is bright enough to start flying

-our planes are pulled into the air by the jeep and ground crew, which, after we're off, breaks down the luxurious desert tents and heads off to the end-point of the day.

-12.00-2.00pm, lunch and siesta at some oasis, where the li-ion batteries in our planes are left to recharge - the Sun is at its strongest then; it's too hot to sit in the plane, so we rest. Groundcrew 2 arrived here to welcome us. Jeep 2 from groundcrew 2 pulls our planes back into the air, for part 2 of the day; meanwhile, groundcrew 1 paces ahead to the end point of the day.

-2.00-5.00pm, we enjoy the magnificent views of the desert, from the sky - think of the beautiful images out of 'The English Patient'.

-5.00pm arrival at the end point, tea, water, snack, shower, we relax; groundcrew 1 just arrived here and starts rebuilding the camp; we recharge our li-ion batteries with the last bit of the day's Sun, topping them off for the next day of the Safari.

-8.00-10.00pm, we watch the sun set in this sea of sand, apéritif, diner, music

All solar planes are very easy to fly, and they are semi-direct solar powered. The li-ion batteries are only used as a safety measure and occasionaly to give some extra power.

The groundcrews track us with GPS, they give indications as to where to fly, on the weather, etc.

Solar safaris can be organised in all sunny deserts, from Namibia to the Sahara and North India.

We're working on safaris with solar blimps too.

Have a look at the spectacular views you will get when flying the plane with your friends/traveling partners [see picture].

django, Aug 04 2007

Nice desert view http://i3.photobuck...ri.jpg?t=1186254664
Everyone can fly the planes after a bit of training [django, Aug 04 2007]

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       Hm, most of you probably think: 'nice picture, but not much else'. I agree. :-)
django, Aug 07 2007

       Two days of training? All those pilots that spent months and years training are going to be upset.
normzone, Aug 07 2007

       eh, it's just the sahara. not a lot of regulations out there.   

       *raises hand* [django], [normzone's] flying in my air space again!
k_sra, Aug 07 2007

       + sounds like fun (as long as it's air-conditioned).
xandram, Aug 07 2007

       I won't go unless I can be assured that the computer will override all the dumb stuff a two-days-of-training pilot will ask it to do.
normzone, Aug 08 2007

       another inspirational solar aviation idea. thanks +   

       you could top up the batteries by catching a few thermals then diving, using the motor as a generator/brake. it's still all solar powered.   

       forget the training. use an on-board computer pilot, augmented by a remote radio-linked pilot (like a military drone).   

       for air conditioning, i propose that the lithium batteries be used not only as a source of electrical energy storage, but also as a thermal... battery?? (a thermal accumulator). when at a sufficiently high altitude (or at night), cool the batteries as much as possible. at lower altitudes, run cabin intake air over the cells to cool the cockpit. lithium cells suitable for this aircraft would most likely be so efficient that heating during charge/discharge would not significantly impact the air conditioning idea. wouldn't be the greatest, but better than nothing.   

       if the prop had variable pitch (not needed, just more efficient) then it could also be used as a small wind turbine when parked. charge the batteries or use it to power the camp.   

       hmmm... i suppose on a really sunny, still day, you could park one of these near your tent and use it as a big fan. hehe.
TIB, Aug 09 2007





       Why does anyone really need a 3D graphic engine that sucks up vast amounts of disk space and takes 2 hours to render an image? :-)
django, Aug 10 2007

       OK, now I have a new worry. Computer crashes.
normzone, Aug 10 2007


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