Wouldn’t it be fascinating to have a plane which never runs out of fuel, has wings wider than a 747, and weighs as much as your car? Well, say hello to Bertrand Piccard, who is a Psychiatrist cum Explorer & André Borschberg, an Engineer cum Entrepreneur, who strove 12 years relentlessly to give us this first picture of the Solar Impulse 2
, on a Wednesday in Payerne, Switzerland. This bird which banks entirely on Solar power to fly is currently being readied to go on test flights by next year. How cool is that?
The event was attended by many VIPs’ including the Swiss Councilor Ueli Maurer and Monaco’s Prince Albert, along with representatives from companies that have provided Sponsorship & Technological support. A dedicated team of 80 technicians worked determinedly for 12 years- this is the backstage story of Solar Impulse 2 which started production following success of Solar Impulse, which set 8 world records including a first ever day/night cross flight across United States by a Solar-powered plane.
The Solar Impulse 2 is a single seater that was constructed using Carbon composites. It has a wing span of 72-m (236-ft), viz. larger than Boeing 747
& about 8m (26 ft) wider than Solar Impulse
. Still, it weighs only 2,300 kg (5,070 lb)!!! Of this, 633 kg (1,395 lb) is accounted for by the lithium-ion batteries used to power the four 17.5 hp electric motors rotating the propellers with 94 percent efficiency!! And during daylight hours, the flexible Solar panels-covered top-wing, provides power to the plane to keep airborne. Can hardly wait to see this bird in action!