While you might have been reading about solar powered aircrafts under development or taking flights and setting up new records, one thing in common among most of them is that they usually are made for a single pilot, who flies on a solo mission to test the capabilities of the aircraft. The team behind the Sunseeker and the Sunseeker II are now intending to change all that by developing the world’s first solar aircraft for two. Aptly named Sunseeker Duo, the aircraft is based upon the Stemme S-10 glider.
The Sunseeker Duo maintains the design of the base glider and features a folding propeller that is container within the nose cone of the aircraft when it’s not flying. However, to ensure that the electric engine is able to fly the aircraft, the team has reduced the weight of the Stemme S-10 from its standard weight of 675kg to just 270kg.
The entire 23 meter wingspan of the Sunseeker Duo is laden with photovoltaic cells, while the propeller is driven by a 20kW direct drive electric motor. The onboard 72 lithium-polymer batteries store enough power to allow 20 minutes of full power climbing. Once above the clouds, the Sunseeker Duo can glide or cruise on the solar energy harvested by the onboard photovoltaics for hours. Presently, the aircraft is still under development and the team behind it has turned to Kickstarter to keep the funds flowing.