solar impulse: solar powered aircraft
jul 24, 2012
solar impulse: solar powered aircraft


‘solar impulse’ first solar-powered intercontinental aircraft journey
image © solar impulse / jean revillard

touching down at 8:30PM CET on july 24th, 2012, after a 6,000-kilometer (3700-mile) journey, the ‘solar impulse HB SIA‘ airplane has broken
the world record for the farthest distance ever traveled on a solar-powered aircraft. for the entire duration of the trip, the plane has been powered
using four
10-horsepower
motors powered exclusively by energy gathered from 11,628 photovoltaic panels. regardless of the weather, these panels
harvest the energy produced from the daylight where they are then stored using 400 kilograms worth of lithium batteries.

on june 6th 2012, the ‘solar impulse’ already became the first solar powered airplane to complete an intercontinental flight when it flew on first leg
of the longer mission from madrid, spain to rabat, morocco. landing between stops, each leg of the plane’s record-breaking journey consists of
approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles), achieved with an average flying speed of 70km/hr.

flight over switzerland 
image © solar impulse / jean revillard

flying over switzerland
 
image © solar impulse / jean revillard

measuring 21.85 meters in length and 6.4 meters in height, the ‘HB-SIA’ features a large wingspan of 63.4 meters despite
weighing about as much as an average car at 1600kg. its light weight is accomplished through the structural use of carbon fiber;
and all flight instrumentation and other equipment takes into account the need for energy efficiency as well as reliability
in the relatively difficult conditions that are encountered at high altitudes.

the research and technology that went into the ‘solar impulse HB SIA’ is considered a first prototype for the construction of another
aircraft, the ‘HB-SIB’. featuring a more spacious cockpit that will permit its single passenger to lie reclined for up to 4-6 days on end,
this second airplane is expected to conduct an around-the-world flight between april and july 2014.

flight in switzerland
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 
take-off in switzerland
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 

take-off in switzerland
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 

engineers preparing for flight
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 

view of the cockpit mid-flight
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 

preparing for flight
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 
pilot in cockpit
image © solar impulse / jean revillard
 
 

detail of the propeller
image © solar impulse / jean revillard




first landing

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