Solar Impulse, the zero fuel airplane.
|Solar Impulse Across America
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, founders of Solar Impulse, will attempt a coast-to-coast crossing of the U.S. this spring without using a single drop of fuel.
© Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse is the first solar airplane to come close to perpetual flight.
Solvay's expertise, solutions and ultra high products have generated the components without which this exploit would not have been possible.
Other companies joined Solar Impulse and Solvay as main partners: Omega in 2006 and Deutsche Bank in 2007.Schindler, the Swiss company specialised in mechanical escalators and elevators, completes the ensemble of Main Partners of Solar Impulse. Schindler's arrival at the highest level of partnership in early 2011 gives Solar Impulse the financial security to continue its program leading to a round-the-world flight with stopovers in 2014.
Other partners have also signed up to the project: Clarins, an expert in beauty products, came in as an Official Supporter in 2008. Swiss Com in 2009 and Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) in 2010 have joined Altran as Official Partners.
In 2011, Solar Impulse with its partners is pursuing two major objectives:
1. Flight missions carried out with the prototype HB-SIA in Europe
Solar Impulse HB-SIA, piloted by André Borschberg, completed three international flights during the European campaign:
- Payerne to Brussels on 13 May (630km)
- Brussels to Paris-Le Bourget on 14 June (395km)
- Paris-Le Bourget to Payerne on 3 July (426 km).
With a round the world flight scheduled for 2014, these flights have provided good learning opportunities in terms of slotting the solar aircraft into international air space and landing at international airports.
2. Design and construction of the second plane
The HB-SIB will perform the round the world flight in 2014.
Solar Impulse in flight
03 December 2009 - Place: Dübendorf - Pilot: Markus Scherdel
First 350 meter "hop" 1 metre off the ground lasting around 30 seconds, reproducing the first motorised flight by the Wright brothers 106 years previously
07 April 2010 - Place: Payerne - Pilot: Markus Scherdel
Inaugural flight. For practically one and a half hours, Markus started to tame the giant plane, reaching an altitude of 5500 feet and a speed of 30 knots. Perfect take-off and landing
07-08 July 2010 - Place: Payerne - Pilot: André Borschberg
First-ever night flight with a manned-solar aircraft.
Take-off time: 07/07/2010 - 06:51
Landing time: 08/07/2010 - 09:00
Flight duration: 26 hours 09 min
Maximum speed: 68 knots (ground speed)
Average speed: 23 knots
Maximum altitude: 8564 m
Flight Madrid - Rabat
05-06 June 2012 - Pilot: André Borschberg, Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman
First intercontinental flight
Take-off time: 05/06/2012 05:22AM UTC+2
Time of landing: 05/06/2012 11:30PM UTC+1
Flight duration: 19h08min
Average ground speed: 51.8km/h
Highest altitude reached: 8'229 m (27'000 feet)
Flight distance: 1'191,39km