Round-the-world solar flight to start in GCC
ABB-backed Solar Impulse 2 due to take off in 2015.
See images of the plane HERE.
Solar Impulse 2, the latest version of the plane that flies using only solar power, has been unveiled.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, co-founders of Solar Impulse, who are supported by ABB in their endeavours, plan to fly the single-seater plane around the world in 2015.
“With 8 world records for Solar Impulse 1, the first solar aircraft capable of flying during the night, crossing two continents and flying over the United States, we have shown that clean technologies and renewable energies can accomplish the impossible,” said a delighted Bertrand Piccard, founder and Chairman of Solar Impulse.
“Now we need to go even further,” added André Borschberg, co-founder and CEO. “Solar Impulse 2 will have virtually unlimited autonomy, and now we need to make sure the pilot is as sustainable as his aircraft. This is why the round-the-world flight will be as much a human as a technological feat.”
ABB's support for Solar Impulse 2 helps to position it as a global leader in renewables, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency.
It claims to be the world’s second-largest supplier of solar inverters and is a major supplier to the wind-power industry. In March 2014, ABB announced that it would be building the world’s largest network of new-generation, fast chargers for electric cars in China.
To complete the round-the-world flight, Solar Impulse 2 will have to accomplish what no other aircraft has achieved before: flying without fuel with only one pilot for 5 consecutive days and nights over oceans from one continent to another.
The single-seater solar aircraft has a wingspan of 72 meters (236 ft) with a weight of 2,300 Kg (5000 lbs. There is a 3.8 m3 cockpit, which has been designed for a pilot to live there for a week.
Test flights are due to take place in May, followed by training flights over Switzerland.
The attempt to make the first round-the-world solar-powered flight is scheduled to start in March 2015 from Gulf area.
Solar Impulse will fly, in order, over the Arabian Sea, India, Burma, China, the Pacific Ocean, the United States, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe or North Africa before closing the loop by returning to the departure point.
Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.