• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: An aeroplane powered only by the sun has flown across the English Channel between England and France.

  • Description

    1.
    GV Plane being pushed out onto tarmac and CU pilot in cockpit (2 shots)
    0.09

    2.
    SCU PAN Tail of plane TO nose
    0.15

    3.
    GV & GV PAN Plane taking off from runway and gaining height (2 shots)
    0.41

    4.
    CU Designer MacCready in chase plane
    0.46

    5.
    AV PAN English coast TO Solar Challenger crossing coast
    1.00

    6.
    SV Observers on ground watching through binoculars
    1.03

    7.
    GV Plane approaching Manston
    1.07

    8.
    GV Plane approaching with propeller idling
    1.12

    9.
    GV PAN Plane coming into land and landing
    1.52

    10.
    SV Pilot climbing out of plane and being offered champagne (2 shots)
    2.09

    11.
    CU Designer Paul MacCready being interviewed
    2.24


    (TRANSCRIPT)



    SULLIVAN: "The Challenger's American designer, his back-up team and his featherweight pilot, Stephen Ptacek, had waited for weeks for the right weather -- at one time bringing the plane to England in the hope of riding the cold, unseasonal winds southwards to France. But today was the day. The Challenger lifted from the runway at Pontoise, near Paris, at half past ten our time (0930 GMT) in brilliant sunshine -- the kind that it must have to feed its solar cells and power its electric motor. The winds were right, pushing the 300 pounds of aeroplane and pilot north and east a little as he rose. Unlike the man-powered plane that crossed the channel two years ago, this one made the crossing at great height, pushed by the wind and pulled by its propeller at around forty miles an hour. Over the channel the Challenger's designer watched anxiously from a chase plane until the white cliffs of Dover were in sight. Watched by British radar, still high and going strong and on the home straight to Manston, it crossed the Kent coast and headed for its destination, the RAF (Royal Air Force) base at Manston. To the people waiting there for it, Challenger appeared first as a tiny, gleaming cross, high in the still, cloudless sky and Ptachek switched off his motor to drift slowly down through the hot rising air, giving the plane's designer time to land and clear customs so that he could be on the ground to meet him. Then half an hour ahead of schedule thanks to the wind, he made his final turn towards a patch of concrete in the corner of the airfield drawing a last burst of power from the sun to push through the breeze and settle the Challenger right on the selected spot. Ptachek had made many such landings before, but this was the one that mattered. A perfect end to a perfect day, another historic crossing of a stretch of water that has always been an aviator's challenge. The Challenger's designer admits that solar power for passenger aircraft is highly unlikely. But it demonstrates that the sun can produce electric power and perhaps it will for domestic use some time in the future. But in the meantime, it's just for champagne, and deep satisfaction."



    PAUL MACCREADY: "We knew that England and France could muster weather like this sometime, and it couldn't have been better and I'm sure the plane could have flown another hundred miles or so, with weather like this."



    SULLIVAN: 'Of course you've had a long wait?"



    MACCREADY: "Yes, but we knew it was going to happen sooner or later."



    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:



    The designer, Paul MacCready, won a 213,000 U.S. dollar prize in 1979 for a flight over the English Channel by a plane, which was powered solely by a man, who pedalled his way into the record books.





    Initials BB





    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: An aeroplane powered only by the sun has flown across the English Channel between England and France. The American designed 'Solar Challenger' took just over five hours to fly from Pontoise, outside Paris to Manston in Kent, England, a distance of around 290 kilometres (180 miles). The plane reached a height of 3,600 metres (12,000 feet), as the BBC's Michael Sullivan reports.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4PLBOKREAH3RJNWY8LR49ORES
    Media URN:
    VLVA4PLBOKREAH3RJNWY8LR49ORES
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    08/07/1981
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:25:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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