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“I Think I Saw a UFO! What? It’s a Solar Impulse Airplane?”

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

The first departure date from Myanmar for Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) has been updated by Solar Impulse to be March 26. While we wait for the 5th flight of the round-the-world attempt that will carry the sun-powered airplane from Mandalay, Myanmar, to Chongqing, China, it might be fun to see what Martin Saive — the Si2 cartoonist — has for us, and recap the mission.

FYI: When Si2 is flying, local police departments across the world have received phone calls from concerned citizens saying they have just seen a UFO. Solar Impulse created a wonderful cartoon, and my personal favorite.

solar impulse

Flight #1 — André Borschberg flew Si2 from Abu Dhabi, UEA, for 13 hours and 1 minute, about 400 kilometers (215NM, 248.5 miles) to Muscat, Oman.

Flight #2 — Bertrand Picard piloted the solar-powered airplane from Muscat, Oman, to Ahmedabad, India, flying across the Arabian Sea and setting a distance world record for straight distance, pre-declared waypoints by travelling 1,468 kilometers (912 miles), subject to validation by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

solar impulse

Flight #3 — After a delay due to administrative issues, Andre Borschberg was at the controls of Si2 from Ahmedabad, India, to Varanasi, India, for about 1071 kilometers (578NM, 665 miles) and an estimated flight time of 15 hours.

Flight #4 — Bertrand Picard flew the zero-fuel airplane from Varanasi, India, to Mandalay, Myanmar, for about 1408 kilometers (760NM, 875 miles) and an estimated time of 13 hours. Tail winds in the jet stream pushed Si2 to a record flying speed of 117 knots. This will be confirmed by the FAI.

With this 4th landing completed, Si2 is comfortably one-third of the way through the round-the-world (RTW) attempt.

Did you see the video Solar Freaking Roadways? Solar Impulse says, “Imagine Solar Airways! Si2‘s intern Claire introduces the RTW project through this homemade video.”

The members of the Si2 team who were flying to Mandalay saw Bertrand Piccard piloting Si2 while they were in the air.

While travelling from #Varanasi to #Mandalay, the #solarTEAM saw #Si2 from the window of the plane! — SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) March 23, 2015

During Bertrand Piccard’s #Flight4 to #Mandalay, Solar Impulse asked on Twitter: “#DidYouKnow Bertrand Piccard was born in a dynasty of explorers who conquered the heights and depths of our planet?” Solar Impulse gave us interesting information about the Piccard family — 3 generations of pioneers — and the infographic below. Bertrand Piccard’s father, Jack Piccard, was a deep sea explorer, and his grandfather, August Piccard, was the first man in the stratosphere.

solar impulse piccard family

Solar Impulse also asked on Twitter: #DidYouKnow Andre Borschberg was trained as a pilot in the Swiss air force?

solar impulse

The pilot is to be determined for the 5th journey to the city that is home to 29 million people, Chongqing, China, one of the most populated cities on earth.

Video Credit: SOLAR IMPULSE | Cartoon Credits: Solar Impulse and Martin Saive via Solar Impulse

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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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