Solar Impulse 2 has taken off Monday, March 9, with hopes riding on its wings. Its pilot, André Borschberg could potentially be regarded as the next aviator of the world. The 21st century is yet to see a Howard Hughes kind of maverick who revolutionizes the aviation industry around the U.S. and the World. The aviation industry around the world has not been in pink of health as far as year-on-year profits are concerned. This could be attributed to rising jet fuel prices, input costs, and declining air fares.
Amidst the cry for reducing carbon emissions globally, many companies are looking towards harnessing renewable and clean energy sources to fulfill their energy requirements. Continuing the same trend, Solar Impulse was founded by André Borschberg, Bertrand Piccard, and Eric Freymond. The company is financed by numerous individuals and other companies. The Swiss pilots have publicly stated that the main aim of setting up Solar Impulse is to spread awareness about more efficient technologies and harnessing cleaner sources of energy. By doing this, they could slowly phase out the use of old technologies which use fossil fuels like coal, diesel, and wood that cause huge amount of pollution.
Solar Impulse 2 has taken off with hopes of a new breakthrough in aviation technology riding on its wings. Solar Impulse founder André Borschberg is piloting solar-powered plane on its maiden journey across the world. It has been reported that Bertrand Piccard would be taking over the reins during the scheduled stop-overs in the journey. Till not too long ago, there were many people and critics, questioning the sustainability of the technology. They raised serious doubts about the entire concept, going so far as calling it an exercise of wishful thinking.
The Swiss made solar-powered, single-seater plane started its journey when it took off from Abu Dhabi Monday morning. It must be noted that the plane Solar Impulse 2 would not be burning a single drop of jet fuel while completing its journey. Reports have just come in that it has reached Muscat, Oman after a 12 hours flight at 16:14 GMT. While on its journey around the world, the lightweight plane, Solar Impulse 2 would be flying over the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.
Solar Impulse 2 is an upgraded version of Solar Impulse 1 which flew in the year 2009. Its body is made of ultralight carbon fiber and has more than 17,000 solar cells constructed into its wings. Reportedly, the wingspan of Solar Impulse 2 is about 72 meters (236 feet), which is said to be larger than the wingspan of a Boeing 747. These cells would provide the plane with energy for the flight using renewable solar power. The wingspan of Solar Impulse 2 weighs around 5000 pounds (2300 kilograms).
After Oman, Soar Impulse 2 will head for its next stopovers in India, China, and Myanmar. After that, the plane would head for its flight across the Pacific ocean and stop in Hawaii. It has scheduled stopovers in Phoenix, Arizona and the John F. Kennedy International airport in New York. A stop in southern Europe or Morocco would be decided depending on the weather before the plane completes its journey and reaches Abu Dhabi. Solar Impulse 2 has taken off with hopes of making a glitch-free journey around the world within the next few months. It would be a huge breakthrough in aviation technology and harnessing renewable and clean sources of power.
By Ankur Sinha