Solar Impulse gets ready to fly day and night!

Since its first successful flight on April 7, 2010, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA has completed 8 tests flights. These have enabled us to optimize the aircraft and allowed the pilots to familiarize themselves with its flight behaviour and confirm its aerodynamic performance. The aircraft is now ready to enter into a new test phase. The objective is an ambitious one: to demonstrate that it is possible to fly day and night with an aircraft only propelled by solar energy and in this way come close to the notion of perpetual flight.
Two particularly difficult missions lie ahead for attaining this objective.
  • the first night flight ever by a solar aircraft
  • the first ever complete cycle flight to validate the possibility of long-duration flights without any fuel
To fly day and night with a solar aircraft is a human and technological challenge that has never been met so far, and an essential stage of the project, says André Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse. Demonstrating that we can fly a whole day and night will then permit us to fly several successive cycles and come close to perpetual flight. The big question will be whether the pilot will be able to save sufficient energy as to fly right through the night. These night flights in an aircraft propelled uniquely by solar energy are intended to demonstrate the potential of the renewable energies and the technologies that will gradually enable us to diminish our dependence on oil, adds Bertrand Piccard, initiator and Chairman of Solar Impulse. The analysis of the Solar Impulse HB-SIA flight results will serve to configure and build a second aircraft with which to fly right round the world in 5 stages in 2013. PRACTICAL INFORMATION These missions require favourable weather conditions. They can be undertaken once an ideal window presents itself between 20 June and the end of July 2010. The first flight will very likely take place between 20 and 30 June. These flight attempts will be announced 72 hours in advance. The date will be maintained or not 48 hours ahead and confirmed in the 24 hours preceding take-off. Follow the flights direct on Internet! Join us in experiencing live the attempts to fly through the night on solar energy on our special Nigh Flight website, which will be online for these occasions www.solarimpulse.com
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