Solar Impulse 2 Makes Clean Air Travel A Reality

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Created by two pilots passionate about the environment and exploration, Solar Impulse 2 writes the history of clean air travel. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg wanted to take the first step towards building a cleaner future with an aircraft that uses only solar energy to fly during the day or all through the night anywhere in the world. The prototype set 8 world records and became the first solar airplane to fly at night. With an average speed of 60 mph, Solar Impulse 2 may not be ready for commercial flights yet, but it’s not meant to. This is a project that illustrates the potential of an innovative technology and shows just how close the goal of flying green truly is. The aircraft has a wide 236-foot wing span that gives it a futuristic appearance. Four electric motors charged by batteries spin 13-foot propellers, while on the fuselage, tail, and wings 17,248 photovoltaic cells absorb the energy of the sun as the aircraft cruises at altitudes reaching 39,000 feet. For 2016, the two pilots aim to complete the first round-the-world solar flight. The adventure began in Abu Dhabi and marked an historic and record-breaking flight between Japan and Hawaii. Solar Impulse 2 has recently left the US, leaving New York and reaching Seville, Spain. Its journey of 35,000km may end this year, but the story of clean air travel is just beginning.
Images courtesy of Solar Impulse.

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