Solar Impulse refers to two aircraft (HB SIA/Solar Impulse 1 and HB SIB/Solar Impulse 2), developed by the Solar Impulse Foundation. On July 26th, 2016, Solar Impulse 2 completed the first around-the-world flight by a solar-powered airplane, landing in Abu Dhabi after fourteen months and 550 hours in the air, covering 25,000 miles over four continents, two oceans, and three seas.
Founded in 2004, the Solar Impulse Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life on Earth by fast-tracking the implementation of clean and profitable solutions to encourage the adoption of more ambitious environmental targets and policies.
The first prototype of Solar Impulse 1 was unveiled on June 26th, 2009, by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. The aircraft had a 63 m wingspan and weighed 1600 kg. After several successful daytime flights, Solar Impulse 1 made the first-ever solar aviation night flight on July 7th, 2010, piloted by André Borschberg. The plane went on to make many more successful flights, including the following:
- Brussels to Paris
- Switzerland to Morocco
- Across the United States from San Francisco to New York (through Phoenix, Dallas, St Louis, and Washington DC)
In April 2014, ABB joined as the main partner of Solar Impulse 2 with test flights taking place during the summer of 2014. Masdar, an Abu Dhabi government-owned renewable energy company, became the host partner of Solar Impulse, with the plane arriving in the country for testing in January 2015. The around-the-world journey began on March 9th, 2015, and was made up of seventeen legs, starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi. Solar Impulse 2 was flown by Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borchberg. In December 2015, Solar Impulse 2 raised €20m to continue its journey after being grounded in Hawaii due to battery problems and poor weather. On July 26th, 2016, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi, completing the first solar-powered around-the-world trip.
Around the world journey legs of Solar Impulse 2
3/9/2015 03:12 UTC
3/9/2015 16:13 UTC
Abu Dhabi, UAE
3/10/2015 02:35 UTC
3/10/2015 17:55 UTC
3/18/2015 01:48 UTC
3/18/2015 15:03 UTC
3/18/2015 23:52 UTC
3/19/2015 13:21 UTC
3/29/2015 21:06 UTC
3/30/2015 17:35 UTC
A table comparing key parameters for the two Solar Impulse aircraft is shown below:
Solar Impulse 1 Vs Solar Impulse 2
4 x 21 kWh
4 x 41 kWh
4 x 7.5 kW
4 x 7.5 kW
After 14 months and 550 hours in the air, the plane landed in Abu Dhabi completing its 25,000-mile journey.
The flight comes after several successful daytime flights.
The prototype was the result of 6 years work and had a 63 m wingspan and weighed 1600 kg.
The simulator allowed for 25hours equipped and harnessed as the pilots would be for real flights.
What is solar impulse?
July 7, 2017