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Solar Impulse completes historic global trip

Posted on Tuesday, 26 July, 2016 | Comment icon 9 comments

Solar Impulse is a seriously impressive technical accomplishment. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Milko Vuille
The aircraft, which is powered entirely by the sun, has succeeded in flying around the entire world.
Without using up a single drop of fuel, the remarkable solar-powered plane has managed the impossible by circumnavigating the entire globe using only sunlight to keep it going.

The journey began in Abu Dhabi in March last year and was carried out in 17 separate stages covering a combined distance of 42,000km. The longest individual segment, which went from Nagoya in Japan to Hawaii, stretched over 8,900km and took 118 hours to complete.

The brainchild of Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who took it in turns to fly the plane, Solar Impulse is no heavier than a car but has a wingspan similar to that of a Boeing 747 airliner.

A technical marvel, the aircraft is fuelled entirely by its array of 17,000 solar panels.

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)

Tags: Solar Impulse

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Merc14 on 26 July, 2016, 12:51
Unbelievable!  Seriously, this is an amazing accomplishment but not something I'd ever volunteer to do. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by BeastieRunner on 26 July, 2016, 16:54
Indeed, me too! I'd be too worried about it not working.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Merc14 on 26 July, 2016, 17:12
The sheer boredom and cramped conditions would kill me.   Could never be an astronaut for the same reason .
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew on 26 July, 2016, 18:01
A long stretch of clouds over the Pacific could ruin your whole day.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin on 26 July, 2016, 20:31
Wow. That is seriously impressive. The pilot is braver than I would ever be, for sure.
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer on 27 July, 2016, 19:53
I forget how many days the plane was one the ground due to bad weather.  Incredible, yes, but a long way to go to be practical.  I sure hope the FAA would make the plane have a fuel back-up system for emergencies.
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 27 July, 2016, 21:56
Yeah, I don't know how that works on a regulatory level of an experimental trans-world aircraft. I think the idea was to be "pure solar", without any conventional engine "back-up" Not sure, though. I would think significant permissions and approvals would have to be obtained prior to flight.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Merc14 on 28 July, 2016, 2:18
As far as I could research there was no secondary propulsion system.  Honestly, the bloody thing could glide forever so maybe not an issue.  It is, in no way, a practical design but neither was the Spirit of St. Louis and look at how fast things evolved after Lindbergh's flight.  Let's see what industry does with it.   Great stuff Solar Impulse team.      
Comment icon #9 Posted by Zalmoxis on 29 July, 2016, 18:28
I wonder if NASA will use this or similar technology for their Venus balloon missions. Send drones off the balloons to circumnavigate Venus and then return to the balloon bases. Here's a link to a NASA article about that mission:

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