Perlan, Solar Impulse, Skigull - Big Year for Aviation R&D

It's been a fun year for for projects seeking to advnace aviation.

Solar Impulse 2, the all-solar aircraft flying around the world is staying the winter in Hawaii. It was a lot of fun reading about the aircraft's progress. Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard wrote a short note about his trip home from Hawaii in July. I can feel his disappointment, but I have no doubt he'll return to the sky with great success.

At EAA's Airventure aircraft design legend Burt Rutan showed off his progress on his latest aircraft design, the Skigull. He intends the aircraft to be capable of operating anywhere on any surface...land, sea and snow. It's all composite, corosion resistant, and will share DNA for efficiency with the likes of Voyager and Global Flyer. He hopes to fly it to Oshkosh next year. His VariEZ/LongEZ aircraft had a huge impact on aviation design; I hope some of Skigull's features are adopted as well.

Most recently, Airbus is rightfully very proud to announce that The Perlan 2 glider had a successful first flight yesterday! The Perlan Mission hopes to fly this unpowered glider up to an altitude of 90,000'! They say it's for atmospheric and climate research, and I'm sure that'll be useful to someone. Personally, however, I think just wanting to set that record in a glider is a worthy goal all on its own.

If you're interested in the Perlan Project, be sure to check out the Official Perlan Press Kit from Airbus to download some great hi-res photos. Solar Impulse also has a great media gallery too.

Congrats to Mr. Rutan, and the Perlan and Solar Impulse teams! Your achievements inspire the rest of us and will hopefully help push the advancement of aviation and technology in general to new heights. Keep up the good work and fly safe!