Since April, the Switzerland based aircraft, Solar Impulse has been making its way across the United States as it approaches the Atlantic. Once home, it will become the world’s first around the world flight done by a fully solar powered aircraft.
According to a Press Release from Solar Impulse, the aircraft began its journey across the mainland United States after making a stop in Hawaii.
“[Solar Impulse] The first solar airplane capable of flying day and night without using a drop of fuel – left Hawaii on 21 April at 6:15 am local time (UTC-10) and landed at the Moffett Airfield on 23 April at 11:44 pm local time (UTC-7),” said Solar Impulse. “[It] completed the first crossing of the Pacific Ocean with several world records.”
Between landing in California and its departure from Hawaii, the aircraft broke and set countless records, even breaking some of its own in the solar and electric airplane category.
“Completing the crossing of the Pacific Ocean, it [broke] several world records (pending FAI approval),” said Solar Impulse. “Those include distance, speed, duration and altitude in the electric airplane category and altitude (gain of height) in the solar airplane category.”
The founder and one of the pilots of Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard is part of a long line of family inventors. Like his forefathers, Piccard envisions a world free of pollution.
“The problem with our society is that, we are a long way from making use of the clean technologies that are already available to us,” said Piccard. “Those solutions bring opportunities to create jobs, make profit, sustain the growth of the industry, and at the same time protect the environment.
He pictures a world of complete solar power both in aviation and the world
“If an airplane has succeeded to fly day and night without fuel, then we can power our world on clean energy, said Piccard.”
The development of the Solar Impulse aircraft may lead to the elimination of fuel burn in aviation, something that could change the planet one flight at a time.