First Solar-Powered Airplane Flies Day & Night, Breaks World Record

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Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 1rst 2015: Solar Impulse 2, the only solar single-seater airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, is flying over Abu Dhabi (UAE) undertaking preparation flights for the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight which will be attempted starting early March from Abu Dhabi. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg, hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

On March 9, 2015, Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg embarked on a journey to complete the first round-the-world flight with a solar-powered airplane. “Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel,” the company describes the innovative machine (learn more about the technical details at the end of this article).

Yesterday, Piccard and Borschberg broke all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km / 3,519 miles) by remaining airborne three consecutive days and nights.

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“Can you imagine that a solar-powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane,” said Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse. “This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals!”

By flying above the Pacific Ocean for over 80 hours, André Borschberg, co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse, is currently also achieving the longest non-stop solo flight without refueling between Nagoya (Japan) and Hawaii in terms of duration.

Payerne (Switzerland): On April 9, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg launched Solar Impulse 2, their new single-seater solar aircraft designed to take up the challenge of the first round-the-world solar flight, without any fuel in 2015. Today, Solar Impulse team rolled the aircraft out for some first outdoor solar generator tests before the first flight. Solar Impulse 2 test flights, are due to take place in May, followed by training flights over Switzerland. The attempt to make the first round-the-world solar-powered flight is scheduled to start in March 2015 from Gulf area. Solar Impulse will fly, in order, over the Arabian Sea, India, Burma, China, the Pacific Ocean, the United States, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe or Northern Africa before closing the loop by returning to the departure point. Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

This exceeds the previous record held by American adventurer Steve Fossett, who, in 2006, realized a 76 hours non-stop flight to circumnavigate the globe on board of Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.

To make the full trip around the globe with the Solar Impulse plane, the following route has been planned:

  1. Abu Dhabi to Muscat
  2. Muscat to Ahmedabad
  3. Ahmedabad to Varanasi
  4. Varanasi to Mandalay
  5. Mandalay to Chongquing
  6. Chongquing to Nanjing
  7. Nanjing to Hawaii
  8. Hawaii to Phoenix
  9. Phoenix to Mid. USA
  10. USA to New York
  11. New York to Europe / North Africa
  12. Europe / North Africa to Abu Dhabi

Currently, Piccard and Borschberg have completed 73% of their flight to Hawaii, which will total approximately 120 hours by the time they land in Honolulu.

Payerne, Switzerland: Today, AndrÈ Borschberg (Co-founder, CEO and pilot) flew Solar Impulse 2 for the first time. The second single-seater solar aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg has been designed take up the challenge of the first round-the-world solar flight. The attempt is scheduled to start in March 2015 from Gulf area. Solar Impulse will fly, in order, over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China, the Pacific Ocean, the United States, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe or Northern Africa before closing the loop by returning to the departure point. Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

“The first 24 hours were very technical”, said André Borschberg, “but the second day was really getting me into the mission. It took me a while to create a relationship of trust with the airplane, which allows me to rest and eventually sleep by periods of 20 minutes with the autopilot. The experience of flight is so intense that I can only focus on the present moment and discover how to deal with my own energy and mindset.”

If André’s flight is successful, Bertrand will then take over for the flight to Phoenix, Arizona. After that, the journey will take the two explorers, flying alternatively in the single-seater 134 cubic foot (3.8 cubic meter) cockpit, across the United States, the Atlantic and back to Abu Dhabi where the journey started back in March.

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The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for FutureisClean.org, an initiative aiming to encourage governments to replace old polluting devices with new clean technology, in order to save energy, natural resources and decrease CO2 emissions in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.

To learn more about Solar Impulse and follow the journey via live video, head over to the official project website right here.

About the Plane
Solar Impulse 2 is a single-seater airplane with a wingspan of 236 ft (72m) and total weight of only 2.3 tons. To put this into perspective, a 747 jumbo jet has maximum takeoff weight of almost 500,000 tons and a wingspan that reaches 196 ft. (60m).

A total of 17,000 solar cells are installed on top of the wings to power the airplane and charge lithium-ion batteries that sustain the aircraft to fly at night.

Solar Impulse 2, as the name implies, is the second iteration of a solar-powered airplane the company has built. Check out the video above to see some spectacular footage of Solar Impulse 1 as well as the preparation and construction of the new aircraft now traveling around the world.

Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 1rst 2015: Solar Impulse 2, the only solar single-seater airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, is flying over Abu Dhabi (UAE) undertaking preparation flights for the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight which will be attempted starting early March from Abu Dhabi. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg, hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

About the Pilots
“Bertrand Piccard, a doctor, psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, is the initiator and chairman,” according to company’s website.

Piccard’s family is not new to pushing boundaries. In fact, Piccard’s father (Jacques) was the first man to reach the deepest place in the ocean in 1960, and Piccard’s grandfather (Auguste) was the first person take a balloon into the stratosphere in 1931, according to BBC News.

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André Borschberg, on the other hand, is “an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot.” He is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse.

On Solar Impulse 2’s first flight to Muscat, Borschberg was the pilot controlling the airplane when it took off and landed.

“Solar Impulse is not only about attempting the First Round-The-World Solar Flight, behind the aeronautic record lies a very powerful message Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg want to share with the world. Existing clean technologies and pioneering spirit can change the world. Future is clean, but we cannot do it without you,” Solar Impulse concludes.

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All Images Copyright © 2015 by Solar Impulse

 

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This article is a result of team work! Luminary Daily is an Online Magazine and Media Channel designed to provide content with a positive view on news, facts and stories from all around the world for audiences who seek to be informed in an uplifting, meaningful, and deeper sense while avoiding a constant barrage of bad news and negative gossip.

 

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