Longest Leg of Around-the-World Journey Using No Fuel – Right Now:
‘Clean Technologies & Renewable Energies Can Achieve Incredible Feats’
The fully electric Solar Impulse airplane – Si2, the Swiss organization’s second – is in the midst of the longest and riskiest leg of its historic Round-The-World mission, flying as of F&F presstime from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii. It is a second attempt at the 7,200-kilometer/4,475-mile crossing after weather forced diversion of the aircraft to Nagoya following a takeoff from Nanjing, China.
“This flight,” the team stated shortly after the departure from Japan, “will be demanding and challenging particularly given its duration and the fact that no immediate landing is possible and will be a feat never accomplished before in the world of aviation.
“The attempt to reach Hawaii from Japan will represent a real-life test of endurance for the pilot while at the same time pushing the limits of the airplane to even new levels. Successfully arriving in Hawaii [will prove] that the impossible is achievable.”
‘More Than a Spectacular Milestone in Aviation’
Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO André Borschberg is flying the airplane.
“An airplane flying day and night without fuel is more than a spectacular milestone in aviation, it’s the living proof that clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve incredible feats; and that all these energy efficient technologies should now be used globally in order to have a cleaner world,” the project’s initiator and organization chairman Bertrand Piccard said in this week’s release.
Borschberg, states the release, will sleep for only 20 minutes at a stretch during the five-day flight, “maintaining his confidence that the energy collected from the sun throughout the day will last through the night.”
Piccard is to complete the crossing of the Pacific, piloting the airplane from Hawaii to Phoenix.
‘Virtually Unlimited Autonomy’
The carbon composite aircraft has 17,000 solar cells to charge a 633-kilogram (2,077-pound) lithium ion battery system that in turn powers four electric motors for “virtually unlimited autonomy.” Si2’s wingspan is slightly greater than that of a Boeing 747-8I, yet the aircraft weighs about the same as a car.
The Round-The-World journey, using no fuel, “will not only continue to demonstrate the credibility of the vision of Solar Impulse, but more importantly, help at raising millions of voices from individuals and governments to replace old polluting devices with new clean technologies that are more energy efficient,” the team says.
The Solar Impulse organization names Solvay, Omega, Schindler, and ABB as main partners and Google, Altran, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy as official partners.
all images © Solar Impulse
Source: Solar Impulse with Fleets & Fuels follow-up