Solar Impulse 2: Proving you can fly responsibly

Details of Solar Impulse 2.Photo Courtesy: Solarimpulse.com
Details of Solar Impulse 2.Photo Courtesy: Solarimpulse.com

The advancement in the renewable energy sector has literally touched the sky. Solar Impulse 2, an aircraft powered by solar panels has traveled 40,000 kilometer around the world without fuel and has made a world record. A Swiss long ranged experimental solar power aircraft project that began its journey from the vision of Bertnard Piccard in 2003 with the feasibility study in Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL). There Piccard met André Borschberg, engineer and professional pilot who was interested to work with him. They first created the Solar Impulse 1 as a demonstration aircraft which was designed to remain airborne up to 36 hours. Solar Impulse 1 had its first test flight on 2009. On 2010 the aircraft flew the entire diurnal solar cycle. On this 26 hours flight, it had 9 hours of night flying as well. On 2014, a second aircraft with more solar cells and more powerful motors with other modifications than the previous Solar Impulse 1 (SI 1) was made naming it Solar Impulse 2 (SI 2).

Flight Pattern for the Solar Impulse 2. Photo Courtesy: Solar Impulse.com
Flight Pattern for the Solar Impulse 2. Photo Courtesy: Solar Impulse.com

This aircraft made the journey around the world which started on 9th March 2015 when Piccard and Borschberg decided to circumnavigate the globe. The journey began from Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates. It was a multi stage journey. The first leg was from Muscat, Oman and from there by June 2015 the aircraft was traveling past Asia which had landed in Ahmedabad on March 10th and then to Varanasi in India on March 18th. From India on the same day, it had its fourth leg to Mandalay, Myanmar. Then to Chongqing, China on 29th March. On 20th April to Nanjing in the same country. From Nanjing the Solar Impulse 2 had a 44 hours and 9 minutes flight to Nagoya in Japan and landed on 30th May. From Nagoya SI 2 had its longest and record breaking flight to Kalaeloa, Hawaii in United States of 117 hours and 52 minutes starting the flight on 28th June 2015 at 18:03 hours.

It took 10 months to set the aircraft airborne for the next flight as in the long flight from Japan to Hawaii the aircraft faced several problems including thermal damage in its batteries that had to go on repairing for months. Then, again on 21st April 2016 on 16:15 hours Solar Impulse 2 started its journey to circumnavigating the earth. It flew across United States legging in Mountain View, Phoenix, Tulsa, Dayton, Lehigh Valley and finally in New York. On 11th June the aircraft flew from New York to Seville, Spain for 71 hours and 8 minutes crossing 6,765 kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean. From Span it took a 2 day flight to Cairo, Egypt on 11th July and on 23rd July the final flight back to Abu Dhabi from where it all began.

The comparison of Solar Impulse with other planes. Photo Courtesy: Google Images
The comparison of Solar Impulse 1 with Airbus 380. Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Two pilots, Bertnard Piccard and André Borschberg flew a single seated aircraft on intervals. Borschberg flew the longest flight from Ngoya to Hawaii. It took more than 16 months crossing approximately 42,000 kilometers to circumnavigate the earth without any fuel and only using solar power. The aircraft has some sophisticated specifications.

Marvelous engineering and passion to do something new has led to the designing of Solar Impulse 2. Consisting the wingspan of a Boeing 747 and the weight of a family car and the power of small motorcycle Solar Impulse 2 is the largest aircraft with this much low weight.

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The comparison of Solar Impulse 2 with Boeing 747. Photo Courtesy: Google Images

The aircraft has set a milestone in the aviation history as well as making a world record by flying 5 days and 5 nights across the pacific leaving the message that clean technology has the ability to accomplish incredible things. With the vision of Bertnard Piccard, the journey began for flying with clean technology and making a world record by André Borschberg the message is clear to everyone. Protecting the quality of life by using energy efficiency and renewable energy.

 

 

 

Sources

Wikipedia | Solar Impulse | Solar Impulse Adventure

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