March 29th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
Over on sister site CleanTechnica, I’ve written about the Swiss solar plane known as the Solar Impulse many times. The people behind the world-record-holding plane have now announced that they’re soon going to attempt its longest journey to date, which would set another world record. It will soon attempt a flight from Switzerland to Morocco that is projected to take 48 hours.
“After its inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels in 2011, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg’s solar airplane will attempt, for the first time ever, to fly over 2,500 km (1,550 miles) without using a drop of fuel, finally landing in Morocco,” Solar Impulse just announced this week.
Piccard will fly part of the way and Borschberg the rest of the way, probably making the switch near Madrid, all the while not using any fuel beyond what the sun provides.
This trip, planned for May or June of this year, is a sort of prep flight for a 2014 around-the-world trip.
Solar Impulse Background
The Solar Impulse set a record in 2010 for being the 1st solar plane to fly for 24 hours straight. The plane then made its 1st international flight in 2011. It first flew in 2009. Here’s a video of that:
While flights in this plane may not be very practical for most people right now, think about how fast we’ve transitioned from the Wright brother’s early, dinky planes to the jets we fly in today. Also, this plane is really just a testament to the tremendous leaps and bounds we’ve made in the solar power sector in general in the past few decades (or even just the past few years). Kudos to the great folks in the solar sector moving us forward and the great folks involved in the solar impulse project — hopefully it encourages and inspires more people to go solar!
Image Credit: Solar Impulse/Stéphane Gros
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