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Solar Impulse (Solar-Powered Plane) Up Close

One of our readers, a relatively new blogger over at, recently had the opportunity to visit the popular solar-powered plane known as Solar Impulse. Here’s the full repost for your reading enjoyment, reposted from

On Saturday, the 20th of April an open house event was held for the Solar Impulse plane at NASA’s Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California. There were many people representing Solar Impulse who were speaking with a beautifully lyrical accent. One man was wearing a baseball cap that said Switzerland on it.

solar impulse wing 2-120PS

We were allowed to walk out onto the tarmac and stand very close to the wing of the plane. A technical team was using a manlift to inspect the solar panels along the entire length of the wingspan. They were gauging the temperature of each panel. If a panel was found to be warmer than those it was neighboring, it was replaced.

The plane is simply stunning. We were able to see it sitting in the sun after its morning flight. The plane had been scheduled to be inside the hangar so we were fortunate to see it outside. One person mentioned that she thought the plane looked like a dragonfly. It is very graceful and elegant looking.  It has a wingspan of 208 feet (63.4 meters) and has 11,628 photovoltaic cells placed on the 2,200 square feet (200 m2) of wing area.

Solar Impulse Rolling Away120PS

After the inspection was completed, a team of people rolled the plane sideways back into the hangar. As it was moving we could see that the mylar skin on the fuselage was shimmering with the movement. At that time we were able to go into the hangar and see the plane from a different angle. The team of people with Solar Impulse was very friendly. I spoke with one of the photography technicians and he asked me if I could be interviewed. That was fun.


There will be 2 to 3 more technical flights in the coming week. This is a requirement for the pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard as they prepare for the kickoff of the 2013 Across America Mission.

We will be following the journey of Solar Impulse as they depart Moffett Airfield on their journey to New York’s JFK airport.

Image Credits: Michael Batori

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Written By

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,


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