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Laboratoire Océan Vital

This Biofuel Plane Will Make the First Carbon-Free Flight Across the Atlantic

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Laboratoire Océan Vital

Flying isn't known for being the most earth-friendly mode of travel: One round-trip flight from New York to Europe adds about two to three tons of carbon dioxide to each passenger's carbon footprint. But as reported by Mashable, when Raphaël Dinelli makes his historic flight from New York to Paris aboard a biofuel plane in June, that figure will be practically zero.

Dinelli is a pilot, scientist, and founder of the alternative energy-focused company Laboratoire Océan Vital. The company's self-proclaimed "zero-emissions" plane, the Eraole, has been seven years in the making. The aircraft runs on an electric engine powered by solar cells panelling the wings, and a special biofuel made from micro algae takes over whenever sunlight's in short supply. The Eraole was built to be super lightweight, and 20 percent of its flying power comes from straight gliding alone.

Dinelli will face plenty of challenges after launching the world's first carbon-free transatlantic flight this summer. For one, the whole journey will last about 60 hours, making it even longer than Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic in 1927. The cabin won't be pressurized, so Dinelli will be running on 30 percent less oxygen than usual. And because the Eraole doesn't include an autopilot feature, he'll have to stay awake for the entire duration of the trip. Dinelli is less worried about sleep deprivation—something he learned to deal with during his 25 years as a solo sailor—than he is about leg room. The cockpit is so cramped that his mobility will be severely limited, impacting the blood flow to his legs.

Though the exact date of Dinelli's departure has yet to be announced, the plan is to take flight sometime in June of this year. If the journey is successful, a two-seat commercial version of the plane from the company may be soon to follow.

[h/t Mashable]

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History
When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.

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History
How the Wright Brothers' Plane Compares to the World's Largest Aircraft
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The Wright brothers famously built the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air, controllable aircraft. But while the siblings revolutionized the field of aviation, their early plane looks tiny—and dare we say quaint-looking—when compared to the aerial giants that came after it.

In Tech Insider’s video below, you can see how the Wright brothers’ flyer stacks up against the scale of other aircrafts. You'll notice that size doesn't always guarantee a successful journey. The Hughes H-4 Hercules—the largest flying boat ever made—never made it past the prototype stage, performing only one brief flight in 1947. And the Hindenburg, which was 804 feet long and could fit 80 Olympic swimming pools, famously exploded on May 6, 1937.

Today’s longest commercial airliner is the Boeing 747-8, which measures 251 feet from nose to tail. While slightly shorter (238 feet), the Airbus A380 is certified to hold more people than any other plane in the air—a total of 850 passengers. That record won't last long, though: In a few years, the Stratolaunch carrier—the widest aircraft ever built—will dwarf its contemporaries when it takes to the skies in 2019. Built to launch rockets into orbit, its wingspan is about the size of a football field, even bigger than that of the Hughes H-4 Hercules.

Still, what the Wright brothers’ plane lacked in size, it made up for in ingenuity. Without it, these other giants may never have existed.

[h/t: Tech Insider]

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