Solar Energy Plane Takes to the Skies
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yes it’s a plane…a solar energy plane to be precise. If you haven’t seen the plane in action, it sort of looks like a gigantic mosquito, to me at least!
Just a few days ago, the impressive Solar Impulse completed an intercontinental flight. This is particularly notable because it is the first time this kind of flight has ever been made, entirely powered by the sun. Of course the technology is very much in its infancy but if this is possible, who knows what the future holds? Could there really be some kind of viable renewable energy air travel on the distant horizon?
The flight, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, from Madrid in Spain to Rabat in Morocco, took 19 hours to complete. The project founder of the Impulse, Andre Borschberg, spoke to interested reporters and said, “The aircraft can now fly day and night. It’s quite a show … It’s a technology we can trust.”
The pilot Mr Piccard spoke about the flight, saying, “The flight was absolutely wonderful but I almost did not enjoy it because I told myself that Andre and I have the responsibility to bring this aircraft to Morocco.”
The first intercontinental flight is the result of 9 years hard work and 90 million Euros of investment.
Although this was the first flight to cross from one continent to another (it flew across a narrow portion of the Gibraltar Strait), it actually had it debut flight back in 2010 and following that, completed a 26 hour flight, which remains a record for a solar powered aircraft.
To make everything happen, the plane is fitted with 12,000 solar panels. Those involved in the project are hoping to take the Impulse on a World Tour in 2013.