Solar Impulse Inspires MIT Engineering Students (VIDEO)

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Originally published on 1Sun4All.

Watch the discussion between André Borschberg—CEO, Co-Founder & Pilot of Solar Impulse—and students from the MIT Aeronautics Astronautics Unified Engineering class, led by Professor Olivier de Weck.

An MIT Unified Engineering & Solar Impulse Hangout On Air

The topic of discussion above is the challenges of building a solar airplane, as well as some highlights of the Unified Engineering Flight Competition that took place last week at MIT. The theme for the MIT 2014 competition was Green Aviation Inspired by Solar Impulse.

solar impulse HB-SIBconstruction_SolarPanelsInstallation_RevillardSolarImpulse2 Construction, Engineer Mounting Solar Panels 2013.12.05 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard |

André tells us in the video that the objective for the Solar Impulse team was to build the most energy efficient airplane. Si2, the new aircraft, flies with a wing span larger than a 747 and weighs about 2 tons, which is approximately 600 pounds lighter than the weight of a Tesla Model S. The solar airplane has a wing load similar to a hang-glider, but it has 70 meters (or 240 feet) of wing span.

Solar ImpulseSolar Impulse 2, Fully Assembled Airplane 2014.04.04 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard |

André emphasizes that he and Bertrand Piccard are not just flying the solar airplane for the fun of it. Their goal is to communicate a message by demonstrating the power of clean energy technologies and showing the potential in relation to energy savings.

He says that this knowledge is slowly finding its way into home building and other means of transportation. He sees an “unbelievable potential” to reduce the energy we consume by as much as 50% if we extensively apply these technologies everywhere.

Look for our coverage of the first Si2 test flight, which is anticipated in two to three weeks’ time.

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Amber Archangel

-- 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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