Solar Impulse 2 Begins History-Making Round-The-World Flight

MAR 10 2015 BY MARK KANE 9

Solar Impulse - Around the world in a solar airplane

Solar Impulse – Around the world in a solar airplane

Solar Impulse 2 began its journey around the world yesterday in Abu Dhabi.

The first stop out of 12 was in Muscat, Oman. Then Solar Impulse 2 flies to India, China, Hawaii, across the continental US and finally to Southern Europe or North Africa before venturing back to Abu Dhabi in the summer.

The route: Si2 will take-off from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirate, in late February or early March and return by late July or early August 2015. The route includes stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China. After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the Continental U.S.A. stopping in three locations – Phoenix, and New York City at JFK. A location in the Midwest will be decided dependent on weather conditions. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi. Solar Impulse unveiled the flight path in Abu Dhabi alongside partner representatives. This included main partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler and ABB. They were also joined by official partners Altran, Bayer, Google, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy alongside Solar Impulse’s host partner Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.”

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2 is the single-seater aircraft (pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will take turns in the cockpit) made of carbon fiber with a 72-meter wingspan.

Wings are covered with 17,000 solar cells, supplying four electric motors.

Power from the sun is stored in a 633 kg lithium-ion battery, so the Solar Impulse 2 is able to fly also at night (the longest part of the trip will be a non-stop flight of five days and nights).

Total weight of the aircraft is 2,300 kg (5070 lbs).

Live videos from the journey can be found here with data from cockpit and energy stats.

Solar Impulse - Around the world in a solar airplane

Solar Impulse – Around the world in a solar airplane

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2


Hat tip to Brian Henderson!

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9 Comments on "Solar Impulse 2 Begins History-Making Round-The-World Flight"

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They will be at Phx, AZ. I will make an effort to see it.

Looks like they have gone to a tricycle type landing gear.

If anything this plane illustrates the in-feasibility of solar powered flight. It’s not that impressive to make a huge glider type plane with no payload capability stay in the air. When will we see the first electric commercial airliner? That is a lot trickier.

Boeing, Airbus, NASA, and others are all working on designs.
http://insideevs.com/far-away-commercial-electric-flight/

Hey, some patience! We’re in the very early staged of clean-energy transportation (except maybe bicycles).

In any case, commercial airliners will likely be one of the very last modes of transportation to go electric.The whole point is to deliver people or freight very quickly, and that consumes a lot of energy.
I expect that much sooner we’ll see commercial marine shipping go electric: Speed is not a requirement, so energy requirements can be pretty low, with onboard solar/wind generation.
Also, it will be easier to eliminate the live crew and so their entire life support requirement from slow cargo ships (already underway for cost savings) than from planes.

Whats the point of going around the world without needing to refuel if you STOP… at various cities?

Meh… Not very carbon friendly. They have a chase plane following it. That is a lot of carbon being burned to showcase a platform that will never come to fuition. Why not spend the money building a self sufficient solar city for say retiree’s somewhere?

Hugely expensive, immensely fragile, painfully slow. Was this experiment only meant to demonstrate what not to use PV cells for ? Or ?

If they succeed, they will be the first people to circumnavigate the earth in an aircraft that uses no fuel (other than sunshine).

Quite an achievement I think, even though Magellan also did it with no fuel, but on the oceans’ surface.

GDP

If they fly say 25,000 miles in four months (March-July) that works out just over 208 miles/day. If it takes five months, it’s 167 miles/day. Just what is this supposed to prove? I guess breaking the Guinness record for continuous pogo-stick jumping was considered too difficult, if equally pointless.