SOLAR IMPULSE WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATION ATTEMPT 2015
Solar Impulse-2 is being piloted by Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard in a world record circumnavigation bid for a solar powered aircraft.
The inaugural trip from Abu Dhabi to Muscat which completed on Monday was piloted by Andre Borschberg. Over the next five months, Solar Impulse-2 will continue its journey around the world in 10 more legs. According to project team, the toughest of these legs would be those involving non-stop five to six days flying while crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Twelve stops are planned to allow the alternation and rest periods of pilots Borschberg and
Piccard, and to ensure good weather conditions for each take-off and landing site along the route. For most of its time airborne, Solar Impulse 2 is cruising at between 50 and 100 kilometers per hour – usually at the slower end of that range at night, in order to save power. The legs of the flight crossing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are the longest stages of the circumnavigation, and are each expected to take about five days, covering a distance of up to 8,500 kilometres (5,270 miles).
Borschberg said the plane has a "virtual co-pilot" that is a stabilization tool. It will sound an alarm to wake him if the aircraft does something unplanned during his 20 minute sleeps.
The cockpit is too small to stand in, although the seat can recline into a horizontal position to allow him to lie down and practice yoga. He also plans to use breathing techniques and meditation to help him through the long journey.
He said that when flying, he focuses on how he feels as well as the situation in the air, so that the journey wasn't just about exploring how to cross the Pacific using solar energy.
"You don't have the pressure of time so with this airplane you can really live the present moment," he said. "It's almost an inner voyage, at the end it's not so much exploring the Pacific ... it's also exploring myself."
Solar Impulse has demonstrated that a solar-powered airplane can fly day with a finely tuned mixture of technology. The hop across the Atlantic is a major advance in the ultimate quest to fly around the world using clean energy - the ethos of many projects featured on this website - such as the PlanetSolar Turanor, the Solar Navigator.
As this wonderfully efficient duo have demonstrated, becoming a pioneer is all in the mind. The difference between an armchair theorist and the man who gets into his workshop with the chisels out, it exactly that - he took the trouble to see if his idea might work in practice. it doesn't matter if it doesn't work, the point is to give it a go, to break free of the certainties that we all take for granted and to confront the unknown.
Solar Impulse record 5 June 2012 - Youtube
Solar Impulse has become the ambassador for responsible citizenship that the project was intended to be. This solar powered airplane triggers discussions at the highest political and economic levels, letting governments around the world see the technological solutions that may be implemented to help them achieve the world’s agreed CO2 reduction targets.
Solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) took off from the UAE Monday 9th March 2015, on the first leg its five-month record-breaking round-the-world flight.
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