Aviation Solar Impulse

Published on April 3rd, 2015 | by Amber Archangel


Solar Impulse 2 Recharges In Chongqing, China (VIDEO)

April 3rd, 2015 by  

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

The first ever single-seater solar plane to enter China, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), landed in Chongqing 20 hours and 29 minutes after departing from Myanmar, having covered 1,459 kilometers (788 NM, 907 miles).

Solar Impulse says that flying above the mountainous Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan required Bertrand Piccard to perform a steep climb at the beginning of the journey, and due to continuous flying at high altitude, he had to wear an oxygen mask in the 3.8m3 (3.8 cubic meters or 134.20 cubic feet) unpressurized cockpit in which he faced temperatures descending to -20 degrees celsius (-4 °F). In addition, tackling strong low-level winds in Chongqing made this flight one of the most challenging to date.

Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse tweeted: “Education is at the center of Bertrand Piccard & André Borschberg‘s preoccupations!”

LIU Yadong, Deputy Director General of China Association of Science and Technology said: “We are very glad to collaborate with Solar Impulse to popularize edgy scientific knowledge among Chinese Youth.”

During its stay in China, and on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Switzerland, the Solar Impulse team will honor the strong ties between both countries while organizing a series of events demonstrating that innovation is the key to sustainable development.

Chinese media get really excited about the arrival of @solarimpulse in Chongqing @SchindlerNA pic.twitter.com/o30CzPpkys — Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) April 1, 2015

“China has become number one in wind power and in solar panel production, and if you look at how much efforts the Chinese government is making to increase the use of renewable energy to optimize the energy mix, there is no surprise that Solar Impulse is so well received in the country,” said pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, co-founders of Solar Impulse.

#Si1 was a flight laboratory, it was meant to test solutions. It is now displayed at the @citedessciences in #Paris pic.twitter.com/HFMJkTL4mQ — André Borschberg (@andreborschberg) April 2, 2015

André Borschberg will be the pilot for the next flight to Nanjing which will take the zero-fuel airplane on about 1,190 km (642 NM, 739 miles) for an estimated time of 20 hours. That is not anticipated to happen before April 7.

History UK has partnered with Swiss Re, a reinsurance company based in Switzerland and the official insurance provider for the Solar Impulse Round-The-World attempt, to create the new Flight for the Future – Pioneers in Risk website. Together they are creating a series of 8 short films that explore the extreme risks Si2 faces, the future of renewable energy, and what it means to have a pioneering spirit.

The video above is the 1st from the Flight for the Future – Pioneers in Risk series and looks at some of the history of Solar Impulse and how it and Swiss Re became partners.

Solar Impulse

Video Credits: SOLAR IMPULSE and HISTORY – Swiss Re Corporate Solutions | Photo Credit: Solar Impulse on Twitter | Cartoon Credit: Martin Saive via Solar Impulse

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About the Author

-- 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, 1Sun4All.com.

  • Martin

    Distance covered 1.190 km – 20 hours – ground speed 60 km/hr (40 miles an hour).
    Solar flight will be common if ground speed can be increased to 5 time that 300 km/h ( 200 miles/h).
    Any guesses how many years for that , 5/10/15/ more?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ground speed and weight carrying limits. These guys probably did more than cutting the handles off their toothbrushes. They probably brush only on the ground.

      • Martin

        Yes they did a lot more than that, read about the fight in National Geographic last year.
        Now one thing you need to remember,20 hours and no bathroom.
        Plus have you ever went for a 20 hour drive and how did you feel after that?
        I do have GREAT RESPECT for these guys!

    • Offgridman

      I think that it would depend on whether you mean commercial or recreational application, and the border zone between them of people who use flying for personal transportation at times.
      There are already a lot of experimental and some beginning practical applications of electric powered and hybrid powered flight around the world. Not a lot is made of them in the media because in most instances it is recreational flying. And in some ways the US/North America is behind the curve on seeing these new craft due to the very strict regulation on recreational pilots.
      For recreational pilots and some that use it for transportation being able to avoid the fuel costs even at the expense of overall speed, will make solar flight much more appealing.
      For commercial flight where the advantage of getting there faster is important, adoption will be slower.
      So there won’t really be any single time period of when solar flight is common. Gradually improving motors, batteries, and panels will see it being more common in different aspects of the flight world as the tech improves

    • globi

      If one believes this article – 15 years: link.
      And EADS speaks of at least 25 years: link.

      However, it’ll be more sensible to leave the solar cells on the ground.

      Also, one could produce artificial fuel (H2, CH4) from solar and wind power on the ground and run a conventional passenger aircraft on it. This has already been done over 25 years ago: link.


    • Ronald Brakels

      I think that if electric flight takes off light aircraft will be where the action is. There are safety advantages and the potential savings in running costs are significant. While range is currently very constrained they have potential as trainers, recreational aircraft, and for short distance passenger and delivery flights. In the future it could end up a cheaper and faster method of transporting people around remote Australia than current road transport or light aircraft. And if want we can now eliminate pilots, which will improve payload capacity. They may or may not have PV on the wings. We can make PV very light, but it will not contribute much power to a passenger aircraft with performance similar to current light aircraft, so unless it’s going to be landing at bush airstrips without power, it may be left off. Then again, it might turn out to be so light and cheap (and safe) it will be a worthwhile addition.

      • Martin

        Just to add to things:
        Use a solar/electric air plane, do have booster for takeoff, as in use on aircraft carriers or winch type for gliders, could be installed at every airport.
        Take off takes the most power, levels flights a lot less, solar could extend range, and decending could charge batteries again.
        I do have a private pilot licence, but do not own a plane.

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