With a wingspan similar to the Airbus A-340, people may think that the solar powered aircraft known as Solar Impulse 2 weighs the same as the commercial airplane. But in reality, it weighs much, much less; approximately 5% of the maximum take-off weight of an airbus.
This always leads people to ask – with such a light-weight aircraft, is it safe to fly it? Especially since it is powered by solar energy?
Solar powered aircraft weighing only 5% of airbus alternative
Reporters were able to direct this question to Solar Impulse 2 pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who attended the press conference that was held prior to the flight of the solar powered aircraft. The reaction of the two pilots was pure enthusiasm; it was evident that they are excited to be given the chance to fly the Solar Impulse 2 and forever be a part of aviation history.
For them, the solar powered aircraft is special as they are flying the world’s first plane to embark a journey around the world entirely fueled by clean energy. They are even happier to share vital information about the Solar Impulse to the media.
Piccard revealed to reporters at the conference that he is more afraid about the fact that he is in the midst of all the pollutants formed from the huge amount of fossil fuels burned every year than flying the solar plane by his lonesome. He admitted that the solar aircraft is not easy to navigate, but it can be done. It is an exciting adventure that he looks forward to. Close friends and family are also excited for him, knowing that his current flying task is the most thrilling one so far.
Impluse 2 pilots excited as they continue their landmark adventure
As they undertake the daring round-the-world flight with Solar Impulse 2, both Piccard and Borschberg want to impart an important message to all stakeholders. The two pilots want to reach out to lawmakers and world governments of countries around the world and tell them that there is currently a technology that uses clean and green source of power, and so offers great benefits to the environment.
Their stops during the legs of the entire trip are times when they perform vital tasks other than flying, such as get much-needed rest, perform maintenance on the solar powered aircraft, and do the necessary recharging. An equally important task that they do during stops is give speeches that will promote the use of alternative energy.
Pilots take exposure for the Impulse 2 to promote renewable investment
Both pilots take full advantage of the media attention drawn to their journey to highlight the importance of renewble energy investment the world over. During speeches in press conferences, Piccard and Borschberg pleaded with audiences to imbibe the use of clean energy, and try to maximize its application in their daily lives.
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In continuation of their journey, the pilots decide to fly across India much earlier than what was planned in order to avoid the rainy season. The solar powered aircraft team has been careful about planning the trip by avoiding troubled countries around the world. While they revealed that the Atlantic and Pacific legs are the most difficult, they are nonetheless excited to do it since it will serve as a learning opportunity for them.
Photo courtesy of Melissa on Flickr