Gossamer Penguin

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Gossamer Penguin
Gossamer penguin.jpg
Test flight of the Gossamer Penguin
Role experimental aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer AeroVironment
Designer Paul MacCready
First flight 1979
Number built 1
Developed from Gossamer Albatross
Developed into Solar Challenger

The Gossamer Penguin was a solar-powered experimental aircraft created by Paul MacCready's AeroVironment.[1][2]

The Penguin was a 3/4 scale version of the Gossamer Albatross II, and had a 71 ft.(21.64 meter) wingspan and a weight, without pilot, of 68 lb (31 kg). The powerplant was an AstroFlight Astro-40 electric motor, driven by a 541 watt solar panel consisting of 3920 solar cells.[3]

Initial test flights were performed using a 28 cell NiCad battery pack instead of a panel. The test pilot for these flights was MacCready's 13-year-old son Marshall, who weighed 80 lb (36 kg).

The official pilot for the project was Janice Brown, a charter pilot with commercial, instrument, and glider ratings who weighed slightly less than 100 lb (45 kg). She flew the Penguin approximately 40 times before a 1.95 mi (3.14 km) public demonstration at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on August 7, 1980.[4]

See also[edit]

Related development


  1. ^ Sun-powered Aircraft Designs. Journal of Aircraft Vol. 20 #6.
  2. ^ MacCready, P.B, Lissaman, P.B.S., Morgan, W.R., and Burke, J.D.: "Sun-powered Aircraft Designs." AIAA paper 81-0916, May 12–14, 1981.
  3. ^ Boucher, Robert, J., "History of Solar Flight," AIAA-84-1429, 20th Joint Propulsion Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 11–13, 1984
  4. ^ Solar-powered Gossamer Penguin in flight, USA: NASA .

External links[edit]

Media related to Gossamer Penguin at Wikimedia Commons