Originally published on 1Sun4All.
As the Solar Impulse team prepares to make aviation history by attempting to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane that is entirely powered by the sun and designed to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation, and clean technologies can change the world, I will bring you all the latest news and videos. The first leg of the flight is scheduled to depart from Abu Dhabi in 26 days. The window for departure is in late February or early March, depending on the right weather conditions for the carbon-fiber, single-seat aircraft that has a 72 meter (236 feet) wingspan — larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I — and a weight of just 2,300 kilograms, or 5,060 pounds (approximately), which is equivalent to that of a car, according to Solar Impulse. The Tesla Model S, for example, has a curb weight 4,647.3 pounds.
The first flight will be the shortest. It is a hop over the desert from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Oman.
“With each of their great ‘firsts’, the explorers of the last century constantly pushed back the limits of the impossible. Today, the drive to make new discoveries must go on, with the aim of improving the quality of life on our planet,” said Bertrand Piccard.
The full video from the Solar Impulse team of the press conference that was held in Abu Dhabi to officially announce in detail the route Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) will be taking around the world includes inspiration from the pilots and co-founders, André Borschberg & Bertrand Piccard, as well as comments from supporters of this extreme adventure.
In case you’re wondering what the pilots will do in case of an emergency over the sea, they have both prepared to ditch the airplane, send up a flare, and secure themselves in the inflatable life raft. You can see more photos of the Sea Survival Training at Solar Impulse.
The Solar Impulse team tells us that the long flights promised of this adventure represent an additional challenge of endurance and vigilance for a single pilot in an unheated and unpressurized cockpit.
For the trip’s “long haul flights” the pilot will be living in the 3.8 m3 — 3.8 cubic meters or 134.20 cubic feet — cockpit for 5 or 6 days and nights in a row.
The cockpit volume provides enough space on board for oxygen supplies, food, and survival equipment, while also meeting the optimal ergonomic requirements for flights lasting several days.
Photo Credit: André Borschberg & Bertrand Piccard, Sea Survival Training, Nordholz by Revillard, Rezo.ch, via Solar Impulse. Other images by Solar Impulse.
This is an adventure and a symbol of sustainability that you can be part of!
- You may want to know more about the Si2 Patronage Committee, and in support of this historic mission you can adopt a solar cell and get the Solar Impulse 2: Round-The-World Solar Flight Badge & Book. All revenues from the badge go to the Solar Impulse Foundation, which will help fund educational activities during the #RTW!
- You may also want to get ready for the solar flight around the world by gearing up at the very cool Solar Impulse Online Store.
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