Tag Archives: United States Senate

SOLAR IMPULSE: WILL SOLAR POWERED AVIATION FLOURISH?

spring 009

The airplane with the moniker Solar Impulse left Moffett Field near San Francisco last Friday en route to Phoenix, Arizona. Will this be the first flight on a rapidly accelerating scientific adventure of solar powered aviation? Perhaps it will, but it is not very likely. This inaugural flight is the first leg of a planned cross country flight that will end up at Dulles International Airport after stops at DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth), STL (Lambert St. Louis International Airport), and thence on to Dulles. Each destination will provide a static display for those folks that want to witness this aviation anomaly, and identify themselves with this first-ever across-the-US, solar powered flight.
In interesting statistic relating to the inaugural flight from SFO to PHX is that the flight time was 19 hours (Its normal cuise speed is 40 miles per hour). Just a little shorter time frame than it took the enthusiastic soon-to-be gold digging pan handlers, also referred to as 49ers, to travel the same distance across the Rockies to San Francisco. It is believed that the Solar Impulse took a very circuitous route from SFO to PHX, and perhaps they took some time for a full viewing of the Grand Canyon. Based on the first flights total time it will take in the vicinity of 100 hours total flight time to get this monstrosity of an air machine all the way to Washington DC (Dulles).
If you have not seen it, the solar impulse has a wingspan of 208 feet, approximately that of Boeing 747. A Boeing 747 can carry as many as 500 people and the Solar Impulse can carry one person. Although the Solar Impulse will burn no fossil fuel during its flight, the ground handling functions to support it will likely burn a very large amount of gas or diesel fuel.
The lead character in this radical Odyssey is a Swiss psychiatrist and Aeronaut by the name of Bertrand Piccard. He has very aptly stated that the flights of the Solar Impulse will not pave the way for a future of solar powered flight. He states that he is hopeful it will provide more impetus and awareness of solar power for non-aviation purposes. Anyone who is not been living in a cave in recent decades is aware that greatly expanded use of solar power is an absolute must-do. Now we must convince the Luddite-like United States Senators and Congressmen that weaning ourselves from fossil fuels is critical for the future of our children and grandchildren’s survival.
This blog is written by a retired commercial pilot and aviation author, Ace Abbott. His books can be accessed at http://www.therogueaviator.com/ and his aviation talk show is available at http://webtalkradio.net/

Women Fighting for Freedom

While women are fighting for freedom in their fighter jet aircraft they will also be fighting for freedom in their voting booth. In the last 50 years the advancement of women’s rights has been so profound that that they have been allowed to become commercial pilots as well as military fighter pilots.  Although the women’s suffrage movement started in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, it was not until 1921 when women were first allowed to vote. The tenacity of the female Homo Sapiens should not be underestimated

Despite the fact that our government leaders have never passed the Women’s Bill of Rights the ladies have extricated themselves from the kitchen and laundry room to excel in many endeavors that were previously only available for men. And now the men— more specifically the white Republican right wing ideologue men— are in the process of rolling back the incredible gains that women have experienced in the last half century. Many of these men are still espousing the premise that women should be, “barefoot in the winter, and pregnant in the summer.”

Many Republican state legislatures have recently passed laws that greatly restrict women’s rights to contraception, abortion, cancer screening and even basic gynecological health care. In recent weeks numerous candidates for the United States Senate, along with presidential candidate Mitt Romney and VP candidate Paul Ryan, have come forth, and expressed a desire to promote even more onerous and  draconian laws that will be highly detrimental to the health and well-being of all women.

Luckily, many women have become very aware of the attitudes of these current and prospective legislators and they will be voting in droves for their opponents. As women become more successful in many of the professions that were once dominated by men, a misogynist backlash has occurred. Women are outshining men in college graduation success and most phases of academia. Author Hanna Rosin has just published a book titled The End of Men, subtitle: And the Rise of Women. This book quantifies the many gains that women are making.  Women will not be tolerating the demeaning premise of narrow minded politicians who state that the rape of a woman is “God’s will.”

As an ex-macho fighter pilot who enjoyed the status that came with it, I can only say to the many women that are rapidly accelerating to a higher status, “you go girl.” Let the 21st century be the “century of the world’s women.” Let the men tend the hearth and nurture the children while they hold their head high for a job well done.

This blog is pepared by Allen Morris/ a.k.a. Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator   (www.theogueaviator.com) and Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue-Aviation’s Insidious Killer ( www.deadtired pilots)