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VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project

The VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project




The development of the VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project for X-Plane 11 was approved by the 'Solar Impulse Foundation'. Although acknowledged by 'Solar Impulse', it is an independent VSKYLABS project which is not affiliated with and/or endorsed by the 'Solar Impulse Foundation'.

Project Introduction:

The VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project is designed especially for Virtual Reality (VR) experience in the rich and detailed 3D environment of X-Plane flight simulator. Along with an advanced and comprehensive Flight Dynamics, it is including a high-definition, fully animated representation for both the exteriors and interiors sections of the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft.


The VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 aircraft simulation is a plausible design in which the round-the-world flight paths of the real Solar Impulse 2 aircraft could be recreated with realistic flight dynamics characteristics and relevant operation and mission-related considerations in the amazing, dynamic world of X-Plane.


Although highly accurate in every aspect, for some of the real-world Solar Impulse 2 technologies and systems, the VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project will not include a 1:1 detailed simulation, and it is to be replaced with a comprehensive and plausible solutions featured within the detailed systems and avionics-simulation of X-Plane 11.



Project's Genesis - The VSKYLABS 'Conatra-Ventus'

I've always been fascinated by renewable energy and clean-Earth technologies, especially when it is combined with aerospace and aviation applications. As a thrilled enthusiast of the Solar Impulse project, I've decided to make my first experimental steps in better understanding some the challenges and aspects of designing and flying a 'Clean Energy' efficient aircraft. X-Plane was the perfect test-bed for my experiments.

In 2015, I've created the VSKYLABS Contra-Ventus Prototype aircraft for X-Plane 10. It is a fictional aircraft which was greatly inspired by the MIT human-powered, record braking aircraft - the Daedalus 88. In general, the VSKYLABS Contraventus concept included the implementation of electric power propulsion to execute periodic powered climb-outs and un-powered descents, using the propeller's windmilling to re-charge the batteries while soaring in the skies in prolonged glide periods (practically using wing energy which is a "conversion" of the potential energy gained in the powered climb). The design concept was to research and experiment the idea of electric powered flight coupled with wind energy utilization for a 24 hours battery cells charging capabilities.



The 'Contra-Ventus' is more of a concept demonstrator and educational tool for experiencing some of the fascinating aspects of Energy management, aerodynamics and flight envelope limitations of these kind of platform.

Getting deeper - The birth of the VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 project

I was so fascinated with the 'Contra-Ventus' project, and right after completion and many enjoyable exploration sorties, I felt ready to begin my experiments and development of a much more complex electric-powered simulation model in X-Plane. It was the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft. It was a completely self-learning and experimenting development effort which lasted, in-and-out, for almost three years now. X-Plane 11 was released along the way, and up with its updated versions which included a more thorough electrical systems simulation definitions for me to explore, I've made additional progress.



The Virtual Reality trigger

While developing the VSKYLABS Scheibe SF-25C Falke project, X-Plane 11.20 (beta) came into the picture with its native VR capabilities. The development of the SF-25C turned its focus on VR design and usability. I was so impressed with the VR experience!

As a Solar Impulse enthusiast, I was very familiar with an inspiring video in which I saw so many times, called: "Solar Impulse 2: An Exclusive Insight into Life Onboard | WIRED" in which Dr. Bertrand Piccard (the initiator and co-pilot, with André Borschberg, of the Solar Impulse project), explained how he lives and operates the Solar Impulse 2 as he crosses the Atlantic ocean during a 5-days flight. It was clear that I must NOW take my project of the Solar Impulse 2 and get it done ASAP in order to virtually (VR) be able to sit in the cockpit with a detailed and interactive 3D environment, while crossing the virtual Atlantic ocean in X-Plane!

I made contact with the Solar Impulse foundation and got the approval to proceed with my project as a VSKYLABS design model for X-Plane, bringing the excitement of using, understanding and "feeling" the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft and its mission out in the open. Almost half of development time, up to now, is research.

The VSKYLABS Solar Impulse 2 Project incorporates more than 3 years of research, detail gathering and other resources which has been engineered altogether to recreate the magnificent Solar Impulse 2 aircraft.

Project Schedule

The three years project is already in a pretty advanced stage, so hopefully, I expect its initial version release by the end of 2018 (exact schedule may change though).


Stay tuned as this page will include development news and other updates



16 comments:

  1. Love it love it love it! Can I say it enough times, I will be first in the queue to buy it as I also am interested in the HAP space. https://youtu.be/k2cTwAQGCL0 I need a major computer update for 11 though. Just making a video with your M2-F1 a great model, and using the Beaver in others!

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    1. Hi :)
      Thank you for your supportive feedback!

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  2. Amen to Gary Mortimers remark. Ill really like your -different projects, and in the wonderful flight dynamics in X-Plane, wonders happens. Ill be looking out for release of this one too, for sure.

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  3. Yes, ditto all on Gary Mortimer's response. Gary is a fine example of how the high level design and dynamics that X-Plane and related developers gives us can be the basis for even higher level exploration. The designer-user loop keeps provides endless new hills to climb to each of our tastes and abilities. The networking power of then linking those disparate hills is looming large on my horizon.

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  4. I am so looking forward to this release! I'm amazed with all of your projects, and this one is going to be one of my favorites for sure!

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  5. Do you have a planned release date for your solar impulse?

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    1. Hi :) no planned release date, only assessment...hopefully within 2018!

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. (Sorry, I appear to have accidentally deleted the original comment.)
      It looks great so far! Looking forword to its release.

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  7. Very impatient too!

    Especially since the simulation of the flight Solar Impulse 72 hours was made on ... X-Plane!
    I had also asked the design team if it was possible, once the real flight made, to get the X-Plane version: the answer was positive, but never done!


    Just a regret in your Screen: you take off Solar Impulse of "LOWI" while the aerodrome of development and base of flight for the tour of the world was "LSMP" (Payerne), aerodrome perfectly modeled for X-Plane (I did the conversion from FS).

    See here: https://www.futura-sciences.com/sciences/dossiers/aeronautique-solar-impulse-incroyable-avion-solaire-1235/page/8/

    Besides, I went to witness the first test flights and take-off for the world tour: LSMP is 30 minutes from my home!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this :)

      Of course, some of the demonstrations videos are taken in non-authentic places, for various reasons (development related ones...mostly). I'll have a look when I can in your scenery!

      Thanks again :)

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    2. In addition to the information, the video "Go-Pro Solar Impulse" (2nd video on the page) was made in Payerne (LSMP) and overflight on Lake Neuchâtel (and Lake Murten)

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