It took 13 years from designs to landing, for the Solar Impulse Airplane to complete it's history-making one year flight around the world on July 25, 216. After 40,000 km of flying without a single drop of fuel, the team achieved what many thought was impossible.
The airplane is powered by 17,248 solar cells that transfer energy to four propellers. The plane's wingspan stretches an impressive 72 meters to catch the sun's energy. The plane weighs as much as a minivan, or mid-sized truck and is guided by runners and bicyclists during take off.
Two pilots flew this incredible aircraft and both shattered records and set new ones. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg were the pilots that took turns flying. It took Bertrand 70 hours to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and his flight was the first crossing done by a solar-powered airplane. To keep himself calm and manage fatigue during the flight, he practiced self-hypnosis.
Andre's flight across the Pacific Ocean took 118 hours (5 days and 5 nights) and set the record for the longest flight duration by a solo flying aircraft. He practiced yoga to maintain a clear mind and stay alert.
When Bertrand landed the plan at its final destination in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the two hugged and cheered for the successful mission complete!
Although it's not as speedy as a Boeing 747, the plane does get up to cruising between 27 mph and 55 mph. We probably won't be flying in solar powered planes anytime soon, but the successful journey has some promising implications for the future of green energy technology!
"By flying around the world thanks to renewable energy and clean technologies, we have demonstrated that we can now make our world more energy efficient," said Andre.
What do you think? Can green technology really be the way of the future? Would you fly in a solar powered airplane? Let us know in the comments below! Don't forget to Like and Share!