SOLAR IMPULSE and BERTRAND PICCARD
Solar Impulse is the name of a project to build a solar-powered long-range glider. The driving force behind the project is the Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard. The project is currently in the design phase, with scientific studies of materials and design being done by the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
The current schedule of the project is to get sign-off on the design phase in late 2005. The maiden flight was planned for May 2008, but a lot has happened since then.
Bertrand Piccard's - new transatlantic record flight
5 June 2012
The project has technical and financial backing from several established European firms, so the final aircraft will probably be a European craft, not a Swiss one. Dassault Aviation is responsible for aviation-related matters. Solvay, a company that specializes in plastics and polymers, is responsible for the development of materials. Altran Technology, a leading provider of consulting and engineering services, is responsible for engineering. Semper, an asset management company, is responsible for financing.
The project plan calls for a one-seated ultra-light aircraft, with solar panels built into the structure. It will weigh about 2 tons and fly at altitudes of 12,000 meters by day and 3,000 meters by night.
Favorable winds weren’t the only thing that helped Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard and co-pilot Brian Jones pull off the first nonstop round-the-world balloon flight in 1999. The trip also required burning nearly four tons of propane fuel, a fact that never sat well with the environmentally conscious adventurers.
Dr. Bertrand Piccard (born March 1, 1958) is a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist.
He was born in Lausanne, Vaud canton. His grandfather Auguste Piccard and father, Jacques Piccard, were noted balloonists and inventors.
Solar Impulse model
Growing up in a ballooning and undersea-exploring family, Bertrand was always fascinated with flight. As a child, he was taken to the launch of several space flights from Cape Canaveral. He became a hang-glider and developed an interest in ultra-light motorized flight, as well as the gas balloons his grandfather had set records in.
He is a lecturer and supervisor at the Swiss Society for Medical Hypnosis.
On March 1, 1999 Piccard and Brian Jones set off in the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3 from Château d'Oex in Switzerland on the non-stop balloon circumnavigation. They landed in Egypt after a 45,755 kilometre flight lasting 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes. In recognition of this accomplishment, he received awards including the Harmon Trophy, the FAI Gold Air Medal and the Charles Green Salver.
In 2004, he co-announced a project, in cooperation with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), for a solar-powered, long-range, one-seated glider named Solar Impulse. The project is dubbed "a great human adventure". Piccard plans to begin construction in 2007, and conduct short test flights in 2008. He has financial and technical backing from several European firms, so it looks as if the Solar Impulse will be a European craft, not a Swiss one, despite scientific support from the EPFL. The plan is to circumnavigate the globe with several pilots in relay, flying above cloud cover during the day and at lower altitude at night sometime in 2009.
He is known for his flamboyant declarations, using expressions such as "the Invisible Hand" (la Main Invisible):
Poster advertising a Solar Impulse-related
event at the EPFL (Lausanne)
The Piccard Family
Solar Impulse record 5 June 2012 - Youtube
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