We have been covering the famous, world-record-holding solar-powered airplane known as the Solar Impulse for years — from its birth, to its first flight (video at bottom of post), to its first 24-hour flight, to its first international flight, to its plans for an around-the-world journey in 2014. Now, in prep for that around-the-world journey, the Swiss Solar Impulse will soon make a 48-hour flight from Switzerland to Morocco (yes, it’s not the fastest thing in the skies).
Here are some more details, posted on sister site Planetsave last night:
“After its inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels in 2011, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg’s solar airplane will attempt, for the first time ever, to fly over 2,500 km (1,550 miles) without using a drop of fuel, finally landing in Morocco,” Solar Impulse just announced this week.
Piccard will fly part of the way and Borschberg the rest of the way, probably making the switch near Madrid, all the while not using any fuel beyond what the sun provides.
And here are my overall thoughts on the plane and its place in the world of aviation and cleantech:
While flights in this plane may not be very practical for most people right now, think about how fast we’ve transitioned from the Wright brother’s early, dinky planes to the jets we fly in today. Also, this plane is really just a testament to the tremendous leaps and bounds we’ve made in the solar power sector in general in the past few decades (or even just the past few years). Kudos to the great folks in the solar sector moving us forward and the great folks involved in the solar impulse project — hopefully it encourages and inspires more people to go solar!
Now, here’s that video of Solar Impulse’s first flight: