FIRST SELF-DRIVING AIRCRAFT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
POWERED BY THE SUN

The project

The goal

Have you ever watched the bright white clouds on a sunny day against a clear blue sky and thought: I would like to fly like that, gently and effortlessly and travel to see the world?

The Solairship project aims at crossing the Atlantic, lifting the airship with renewable hydrogen, and propelling it forwards with solar generated electricity. By using the eternally blowing easterly trade wind and a satellite navigating system it will be fully sustainable and autonomus.

The Solairship project invites you to join in the adventure of flying across the Atlanctic Ocean from the shores of South Africa to Brazil. 

How will this be done?

New lightweight technologies of carbonfibre, batteries, solar panels and communication systems has made this dream possible. The easy way to explain how it will be done is: 

  • Take a remotely controlled airship and replace the gasoline motors with electric ones
  • Put solar panels on top of the ship 
  • Make a carbonfiber gondola and fill it with light weight batteries 
  • Add an autopilot to the conventional radio control and plug in a two way satellite communication system
  • If you want to share the experience with others, place a camera on the gondola too 

In principle you are ready to go around the world! However, there is one important observation you have to make. You have to fly with the clouds. The airship you just made does not have the power to fly against the wind for extended periods of time.  If you want to fly around the world, you should let the easterly tradewind take you away. 

Where and when will we fly?

In 2015 the project started the assembly of the Solairship for its testflights. After some radical design improvements were identified and implemented and after thorough preparations and testing of the subsystems the first successful testflight was made the 27th of May 2016. 

New tests will be made in October at the airfield of Springbok, a town north west in South Africa. Sensors monitoring the  rate of charge of the batteries and the consumption of the motors are central to the operation, as are the the meassurement of pressure and temperature of the helium and the air outside the airship. 

If test are successful we are planning the atlantic crossing. Taking it the last 70 km down to the coast where we will release it and  let it stear itself into the southern easterly tradewind belt where it will pick up speed and fly through the night. Counting with an average speed of the wind, the crossing to the shores of Brazil should take 10 days.   

Whith the experience from the tests and with an improved envelope and subsystems we are better prepared than ever to take on the challenge, but we are never sure of success. It is a true adventure! 

Welcome on board!

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Contact us

Einar Gilberg
Phone: 00 47 40672859
captain@solairship.com