First Flight NewsSolar Impulse 2
On 2 June 2014, Solar Impulse 2, the solar aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, carried out its first flight out of the Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland.
The revolutionary single-seater aircraft, with which Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are attempting to carry out the first solar-powered flight around the world in 2015, has successfully completed its maiden flight this morning in Payerne (watch the video here). For 2 hours and 17 minutes, professional test pilot Marcus Scherdel was able to trial the aircraft’s performance in the skies. The initial results are in line with calculations and simulations. There will be several other flights taking place in the coming months in order for this experimental machine to attain certification.
“This inaugural flight is an important stage - a step closer towards the round-the-world flight. It is also a huge emotional step for the entire team and all our partners who have worked on the aircraft. Si2 incorporates a vast amount of new technology to render it more efficient, reliable and in particular better adapted to long haul flights. It is the first aircraft which will have almost unlimited endurance,” highlighted André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder, CEO and pilot.
“Throughout such an innovative project, each stage is a leap into the unknown. Today suspense was at a high! The results show that our team of engineers can be very proud of the work it has accomplished during the last 10 years,” added Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Founder, President and pilot.
Flight report :
Pilot: Markus Scherdel
Take-off time: June 2014 5h36min CET
Landing time: 2 June 2014 7h53min CET
Flight duration: 2h 17 minutes
Highest altitude reached: 1670 mètres (5500 ft)
Average ground speed: 55.6 km/h (30 kt)
About Solar Impulse
Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (President) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and life force behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft able to fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions – the aircraft with which they will attempt the first solar flight around the world in 2015. Support among other by Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, Google, Altran, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Swisscom, Solar Impulse is a unique adventure aiming to put emotion back into the heart of scientific exploration. Solar Impulse is also an airborne laboratory making way for innovative technological solutions capable of meeting today’s challenges head on. And it is a vision which drives each one of us to become a pioneer on a day-to-day basis.
This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I) for a weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car. The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.