The new solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 was presented yesterday in Payerne, Switzerland, by Swiss pilots and cofounders of the project Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. The plane is set to attempt to fly around the world without a drop a fuel in 2015.
The Around-the-World Mission Flights will take place over 5 months from the beginning of March to the end of July 2015, starting from and finishing in a city in the Gulf area.
The journey will be broken up in approximately 10 legs, allowing both pilots to fly the plane alternatively. Stopovers will take place in India, Myanmar, China, the USA and Southern Europe or Northern Africa. The total journey is planned to last about 500 hours for a total distance of 35,000 km. Some of the legs will last more than 5 days and nights.
“A vision counts for nothing unless it is backed up by action. With 8 world records for Solar Impulse 1, the first solar aircraft capable of flying during the night, crossing two continents and flying over the United States, we have shown that clean technologies and renewable energies can accomplish the impossible,” Bertrand Piccard said.
The single-seater solar aircraft has a wingspan of 72 meters for its weight of just 2,300 Kg , producing an exceptional aerodynamic performance and energy efficiency. There is a 3.8 m3 cockpit, every detail of which has been designed for a pilot to live there for a week. However, for the sake of maximum energy efficiency, the cabin is not pressurized or heated – a further endurance challenge for the pilot.
"Solar Impulse was not built to carry passengers, but to carry messages. We want to demonstrate the importance of the pioneering spirit, to encourage people to question what they've always taken for granted. The world needs to find new ways of improving the quality of human life. Clean technologies and renewable forms of energy are part of the solution," Bertrand Piccard added.
The first Solar Impulse 2 flight tests are planned for May 2014.
Since 2010, the FAI ratified 8 world records achieved by André Borschberg onboard Solar Impulse: in 2010, he broke 3 records with a flight from Payerne, Switzerland; in 2012, 2 records were ratified following a flight from Payerne to Madrid; in 2013, 3 more records were broken during the Phoenix (Arizona) to Dallas (Texas) leg of the Across America Mission.
|Sub-Class||Type of Record||Performance||Date||Claimant||Status||Id|
|CS||Absolute altitude||9235 m||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16042|
|CS||Duration||26 h 10 m 19 s||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16044|
|CS||Gain of height||8744 m||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16043|
|CS||Free Distance along a course||1116 km||2012-05-25||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16560|
|CS||Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints||1099.3 km||2012-05-25||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - superseded since approved||16558|
|CS||Distance along a course, pre-declared waypoints||1487.6 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16816|
|CS||Free Distance||1506.5 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16817|
|CS||Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints||1386.5 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16815|
(Pictures: © Solar Impulse | Rezo.ch)