The Solar Powered R/C Airplane




In February 2016 I began a 15-month effort to design and build a solar powered R/C glider. It was an entirely-new design from ground-up. The 10-foot wingspan model incorporates 32 high-efficiency solar cells to power the plane's radio control system and a small electric motor that provides propulsion.


Its maiden flight was on May 27, 2017 at the flying field of the Santa Fe Dam Radio Control Modelers located in Duarte, California. The first part of the flight can be seen here.


This airplane can fly on a clear day as long as the sun is high in the sky, without burning a drop of fuel or relying on charged batteries.


Fact Sheet (PDF)


Design Notes

Solar-Electric Generation (PDF)

Sustained Flight Power Requirements, Minimum Weight (PDF)

Sustained Flight Power Requirements, Maximum Weight (PDF)

Wing Aerodynamics, Maximum Weight

Wing Aerodynamics, Minimum Weight

Solar Altitude by Month and Hour (PDF)


Mechanical Sketches & Drawings

Airplane Front & Top Views (PDF)

Fuselage (PDF)

Horizontal Tail (PDF)

Vertical Tail (PDF)

Airfoil (PDF)



Airplane Wiring Diagram (PDF)

Charge Controller Schematic (PDF)

Solar Cell Data Sheet (PDF)


Airplane Photos & Videos


Construction Photos




Charge Controller




Motor and Prop



Useful Links



Lift and Drag:


Folding Propeller:

AeroNaut CAM


Outrunner Motor:


Carbon Fiber Spar & Joiner:




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