Friday, 10 May 2013

Practice for the test - 3rd year students

There's still more... Now, read the text and complete the table below.

Solar Impulse plane starts 24-hour test flight

The test flight takes off from Switzerland

An experimental aircraft that draws its power from the sun is making a round-the-clock test flight.

The aim is to assess whether the plane can fly in darkness, using solar cells on its wings to generate enough power to stay in the air for 24 hours.

The Solar Impulse Aircraft has the weight of a family car but the wingspan of a big airliner.

He is to take the aircraft to an altitude of 27,900ft (8,500m) by late Wednesday, when the sun's rays stop being strong enough to supply the solar cells with energy. The prototype will then start a slow descent using energy stored in its batteries until sunrise.

"If this mission is successful, it will be the longest and highest flight ever made by a solar plane."

'Solar future'

The plane, which has 12,000 solar cells, is the latest step in the Solar Impulse project, which Mr Borschberg leads with his business partner and fellow adventurer, Bertrand Piccard.

Mr Borschberg (L) and Mr Piccard have worked on the project for seven years since 2006.

The plane incorporates composite materials to keep it extremely light, and uses super-efficient solar cells, batteries, motors and propellers to keep itself in the sky.

The cockpit is a pressurised capsule and it is made of carbon fibre. 

The group plans to use this vehicle in two years' time to make the first manned transatlantic solar flight, followed in 2013 by an even more daring circumnavigation of the Earth.

 The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells mounted on the wings. These cells charge its batteries, allowing it to fly day and night without jet fuel. The batteries are made of nickel-cadmium, and the case is made of light and strong polycarbonate. The wing spans are made of fiberglass and polycarbonate, making it strong and light, but vulnerable to bad weather.

The delicate, single-seat plane cruises around 40 mph and can't fly through clouds. The pilot’s seat is made of polystyrene. It is light and soft. All levers inside the cabin are made of plastic. They’re light and rigid.

The frame of the plane is made of carbon fibre. It is tough, light and corrosion resistant. The windshield is made of polycarbonate, making it light and hard.

The plane has one wheel at the front and one wheel at the back. They’re made of strong, light rubber composite.

The wingspan of the plane is 208 feet long; about the same as a jumbo jet, but it weighs no more than a car and has a cockpit just large enough to host a single pilot. Because of its light weight, the plane can collect sufficient energy solely from solar cells, and it even stores power, making night flights possible.

The plane's wings are covered by solar cells which power four electric motors. These motors are made of aluminum and copper. They are light and heat resistant.

 Complete the following tables
What is it made of?
What are the properties?
Wing spans
Pilot’s seat
Frame of the plane
Number of cells
Length of the wings
Weight of the plane
Max. altitude
Quantity of batteries
Length of the wing span
Number of motors