Pizza & Engineering - Project Sunrise: The World's First Solar Powered Aircraft

The American Institute of Aeronautic and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. The AIAA Orange County Section's mission is to address the professional needs and interests of the past, current, and future aerospace workforce and to advance the state of aerospace science, engineering, technology, operations, and policy to benefit our global society.

Project Sunrise: Flight of the World's First Solar Powered Aircraft
Roland Boucher, Retired Aerospace Engineer and Program Manager
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In 1971, Mr. Boucher demonstrated the world’s first electric powered model aircraft both here in California and in England on NATO assignment.  He later submitted a successful proposal for solar powered high altitude aircraft to DARPA.

In 1973 Mr. Boucher took a leave of absence from the Hughes Aircraft Space Division to develop the worlds first solar powered high altitude remotely powered vehicle. This proof-of-concept aircraft, funded by DARPA, was designed to climb to an altitude of over 78,000 feet and to remain aloft for an indefinite period of time.   Although failures prevented completion of the mission, the performance indicated the vehicle had the capabilities.   

Mr. Boucher was responsible for the Propulsion, Aerodynamic, and Structural design as well as the design of the command, control, and navigation systems.  Members of the model aviation community assisted him during the construction of both the airframe and electronics.

Mr. Boucher will describe the design, manufacture, and flight test of Project Sunrise, the worlds first solar powered Aircraft.

Mr. Boucher received an MS from Yale University in 1955.  He was inducted into the Model Aviation Hall of Fame for his pioneering work on electric powered flight.

Where:  Boeing Bldg. 17, near the West Gate entrance off of Bolsa Chica Ave., Huntington Beach, CA

You must answer ALL the questions asked by this website when you are going through the registration process -- for security.  Thank you. Only US persons over 18 can be admitted to the facility.

Schedule:  Pizza and drinks served at 6:00 pm
Presentation at 6:30 pm, Q&A at 7:15-7:30 pm

Registration: Free for AIAA members pre-registered, $5 for others (registration info will be sent to those who RSVP yes through this invitation). Registration closes Thursday, Feb. 13th at 5 pm.


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  • Gwenny

    Friends & i certainly enjoyed & appreciate your time, Mr.R Boucher, for your highly technical expertise & presentation on this extraordinary technology. In conjunction to discussion, found it quite helpful to read your bio via Wikipedia, covering word-for-word what audience may missed or would like to read again on this material. Many thanks for sharing to this world your gifts & talents. Cheers all! =}

    February 25

    • Roland A. B.

      Hi Gwenny, Thank you for the kind remarks. Wikepedia did a nice job. You can also see the text of my presntation at http://projectsunrise...­ and aa web site i created to celebrate the 100th ainversary of the Wright Brothres flight in 1903 at www.wrightsfly.info. thanks again

      1 · February 26

  • Ella C.

    Hi Roland, thank you for sharing your expert knowledge and adding some words of wisdom about starting your business.

    2 · February 19

  • Roland A. B.

    I was the speaker so i gave me and average score it was great to see you all i wish we had more time to chat at the end

    1 · February 19

  • Ella C.

    Hi I just found out about this event is it possible to join today? If so where do I send the $5.00 fee?

    February 18

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