India’s Ministry of Tourism has announced the country’s first solar aircraft, a model that can be operated from the air by passengers.
India has been a pioneer in solar aviation, with an active solar-power program, the largest in the world, that has led to over a billion kilowatt-hours of solar-energy capacity installed over the last decade.
Solar aircraft, which are equipped with solar panels, can be flown from any altitude and have no fuel, making them suitable for long-haul transport.
According to a ministry statement, the Tanning Drop plane will be operated by the National Solar Aviation Programme (NSAP), a partnership between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Centre for Research on Renewable Energy (CRRE).
According to the statement, Tanning drops are a unique vehicle for commercial aircraft, because they have a total weight of only 1.2 tonnes and they do not require any fuel.
“The Tanning drop aircraft can be used for short-haul flights between cities, airports and towns,” the statement added.
“These aircraft can also be operated without any fuel, since they can be transported at night and at low altitudes, and can also carry up to six passengers.”
Tanning Drops can be powered by the sun.
They can be controlled by either the pilot or the co-pilot, depending on the altitude and weather conditions.
The Taning Drops aircraft can operate from up to 25,000 feet (7,000 metres) above the ground.
It can fly up to 7,000 kilometres (4,400 miles) per hour.
The aircraft’s range is around 200 kilometers (124 miles) with a maximum speed of 70 kilometres per hour (40 mph).
India’s first aircraft, the Solar T10, was launched on May 2, 2018.