Eco Factor: A lightweight carbon-fiber composite aircraft that uses solar panels to give you a clean and noise-free trip to the clouds.
The Deus Ex Machina is a twin-boom, lightweight aircraft that aims at giving the adventurers that take to the sky a ride that is clean, green and without the deafening noise of lightweight planes powered by conventional engines. Its cockpit is the size of a standard sailplane. It’s designed to be upgraded to a two-seater. Power comes from an electric motor that is supplied juice by the solar panels on its wide wings. The solar panels will provide 80% of the energy while the remaining is gained by conventional power.
The Deus Ex Machina can reach a top speed of 120 mph and could stay in the sky for good 8 hours at a speed of 60 mph. The Deus will not last too long at its top speed in the sky, but it is designed as a recreational vehicle, so that is not much of a drawback. The aerodynamic design further increases efficiency while the clean energy not only means zero-emissions, but also makes sure that the pilots will not have to deal with horrible engine noise and vibrations. Peter Shearer calls it the Prius of the skies and we believe him.
The Dark Side:
Being a recreational vehicle and lightweight aircraft for two, the technology is not very effective on a commercial basis. Hopefully, designers will find ways to take this technology to a commercial scale that benefits both the aviation industry and the planet. Also, one would like to see the Prius of the skies go all solar very soon!
[Thanks: Peter Shearer]