[aprssig] Solar Impulse Flight (shaggy dog story)(sig)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Mon May 23 19:37:51 CDT 2016


Solar Impulse 'round-the-world flight shaggy dog story...

Having stayed through Sunday here in Dayton for the first time in decades,
I was soon bored!  Having not bought ANYthing the whole weekend, the piles
of bricks and abandoned gear by the trash piles by noon Sunday were just
too tempting, and by the time I left at 1 PM, every nook and cranny of the
solar prius was crammed with old commercial gear thinking they will come in
handy with our plan for an East Coast 9600 baud backbone (
http://www.aprs.org/ec9600net.html).

The real deal was a stack of 25 rock solid "UHF" 45W data radios with built
in GPS.  Clearly designed for dispatch vehicles that I got for $2 each.
The great news is that they had 3 serial ports combined into a 14.4 kbps
stream.  Spent the evening getting the covers off to reveal the bad news.
They are 800 MHz!  totally useless unless they can be pulled a whole 100
MHz (not likely). Photos and details later...

Anyway, After 3 days in the Prius Inn (http://aprs.org/APRS-SPHEV.html)  I
was ready for a real shower and with all you guys gone, I finally got a
room downtown.  Then I heard someone say that the Solar Impulse was landing
in Dayton that night, and rushed to the  TV to find some local news as to
when it would land.  Not having cable at home and being clueless, I
searched all 250 channels on the hotel TV and the only thing I found  was
FOX.  And they had a panel of experts probably claiming something about
Obama causing the rain in the flea market this weekend.  Nothing on CNN,
NBC, HLN, MSNBC about the Solar Impulse either.  Not even news!  Just fluff
pieces on feel-good stuff.  I finally realized I could google it.

Found the Solar Impulse web page and the last post was "landing in 45
minutes" and it was posted 20 minutes ago!  Grabbed the keys and made a
beeline to the airport only to see a crowd of about 6 people near a police
car.  I stopped in the red zone and the policeman was explaining that it
landed 5 minutes ago.  He then turned on his flashing lights and drove use
into a restricted area where he pointed to some tiny dim lights all the way
across the tarmac where it was parked  (if you could see it at all)..

Stuck in Dayton till a Tuesday meeting on cubesats at WrightPat AFB, I just
had zero motivation to go do anything Monday other than catch up on email.
No one anywhere knew anything about the Solar Impulse so I finally forgot
about it. Forced myself to get out of the room and decided to just go over
to the WP aviation museum to grab lunch.  Nice museum if you ever have the
time.  Its Monday and the place was virtually empty.  Wandering through
alone I did stumble into two guys in flight suits discussing one of the
early flight exhibits.  It sounded like they were speaking French so I took
a stab...

"You guys know anything about the Solar Impulse?" The tall one answered,
"yes, it landed last night".  I ask, "Well are they going to have any tours
or open house? I cant find out anything".  He said, "Not really, its
leaving at 5 AM tomorrow"... Now having gained some info I needed, I
wandered away...

Then I began to wonder... and wandered back.  "You guys aren't the pilots
are you?" and one said, "yes, I'm Andre."  After picking myself up off the
floor, I stumbled through something about how admiring I am of their solar
initiative and how great their mission is, etc.  Gushing along I said
something about being 100% solar myself at home and driving an EV.  He lit
up and asked "That's not your red Tesla in the parking lot is it?"  I said,
no, mine is the beat-up Solar Prius about 10 cars down.  He responded "Wow,
I saw that one and we took pictures of it!"

I gushed some more and then slinked away so as to not sound like too much
of a solar groupie...  Floating on air, I decided I'd had the highlight of
my day and could not stay focused to finish the museum.  Headed out to the
car, and ran into a couple in the 3rd EV in the parking lot sitting there
in the hot sun with the AC running and enjoying the silent coolness of EV
AC while studying the Dayton tourist guide as to where to go next.

Then I began to realize that if Andre saw my car on the way in, then he
would be passing it on the way out.  I moved it around and parked right
next to the copper colored I3, and second red Tesla (N7TES tags) and both
still charging. (1st red Tesla I had seen was N4HHE back at Hara)... Then
waited... and waited.... then went back inside the museum and staying out
of sight, stalked them until they finally met up with the astonished Museum
Director who did not know they were coming.  After another hour or so of
touring the museum they headed out and I was able to sneak around and get
back to the EV's first.

I asked Andre for a photo, and he was happy to oblige saying something like
"solar Impulse... solar car... good idea"...  His camera man asked me some
details about my car and as he and Andre walked off to their van, I could
see the camera man passing along the details to him.

And that's the rest of the story.  Photo and web page to follow when I get
back to the office at the end of the week!

Another day in the bumbling bubble...
Bob, WB4APR
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