Tag Archives: Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2 Completes the First Around-the-World Flight on Solar Power

Solar Impulse 2 completed its around-the-world mission when pilot Bertrand Piccard landed on 26 July 2016 at 00:05 PM UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) in Abu Dhabi, UAE after completing leg 17, which was a 48 hour 7 minute, 2694 km (1674 mile) flight from Cairo, Egypt. This historic mission began on 9 March 2015 from Abu Dhabi and covered more than 42,000 km (26,097 miles) before Solar Impulse 2 returned to its starting point.

Si2 landing at Abu Dhabi 1Source: Solar ImpulseSi2 landing at Abu Dhabi 2Source: Solar ImpulseSi2 landing at Abu Dhabi 3Source: Solar ImpulseSi2 landing at Abu Dhabi 4André Borschberg (l) and pilot Bertrand Piccard (r). Source: Solar Impulse

The Solar Impulse 2 team posted the following message on their website:

 “Taking turns at the controls of Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – their zero-emission electric and solar airplane, capable of flying day and night without fuel – Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg succeeded in their crazy dream of achieving the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight. By landing back in Abu Dhabi after a total of 21 days of flight travelled in a 17-leg journey, Si2 has proven that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.”

Congratulations to pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg and the entire Solar Impulse 2 team for accomplishing this incredible milestone in aviation history.

Si2 landing at Abu Dhabi 5Source: Solar Impulse

For more information on the historic around-the world mission of Solar Impulse 2, visit the team’s website at the following link:

http://www.solarimpulse.com

Also see my following posts:

  • 23 May 2016:   Solar Impulse 2 is Making its way Across the USA
  • 27 February 2016: Solar Impulse 2 Preparing for the Next Leg of its Around-the-World Journey
  • 3 July 2015: Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record Solo, Non-Stop, Solar-Powered Flight from Nagoya, Japan to Oahu, Hawaii
  • 10 March 2015: Solar Impulse 2 Designed for Around-the-World Flight on Solar Power

 

 

 

Solar Impulse 2 is Making its way Across the USA

If you have been reading the Pete’s Lynx blog for a while, then you should be familiar with the remarkable team that created the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft and is attempting to make the first flight around the world on solar power.  The planned route is shown in the following map.

Solar Impulse 2 route map

Image source: Solar Impulse

I refer you to my following posts for background information:

  • 10 March 2015: Solar Impulse 2 Designed for Around-the-World Flight on Solar Power
  • 3 July 2015: Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record Solo, Non-Stop, Solar-Powered Flight from Nagoya, Japan to Oahu, Hawaii
  • 27 February 2016: Solar Impulse 2 Preparing for the Next Leg of its Around-the-World Journey

Picking off where these stories left off in Hawaii, Solar Impulse 2 has made four more flights:

  • 21 – 24 April 2016: Hawaii to Moffett Field, near San Francisco, CA; 2,539 miles (4,086 km) in 62 h 29 m
  • 2 – 3 May 2016: San Francisco to Phoenix, AZ; 692 miles (1,113 km) in 15 h 52 m
  • 12 – 13 May 2016: Phoenix to Tulsa, OK; 976 miles (1,570 km) in 18 h 10 m
  • 21 – 22 May 2016: Tulsa to Dayton, OH; 692 miles (1,113 km) in 16 h 34 m

From the above distances and flight times, the average speed of Solar Impulse 2 across the USA was a stately 43.6 mph (70.2 kph).  Except for the arrival in the Bay Area, I think the USA segments of the Solar Impulse 2 mission have been given remarkably little coverage by the mainstream media.

SI2 flying above the USAImage source: Solar Impulse

Regarding the selection of Dayton as a destination for Solar Impulse 2, the team posted the following:

“On his way to Dayton, Ohio, hometown of Wilbur and Orville Wright, André Borschberg pays tribute to pioneering spirit, 113 years after the two brothers succeeded in flying the first power-driven aircraft heavier than air.

To develop their wing warping concept, the two inventors used their intuition and observation of nature to think out of the box. They defied current knowledge at a time where all experts said it would be impossible. When in 1903, their achievement marked the beginning of modern aviation; they did not suspect that a century later, two pioneers would follow in their footsteps, rejecting all dogmas to fly an airplane around the world without a drop of fuel.

This flight reunites explorers who defied the impossible to give the world hope, audacious men who believed in their dream enough to make it a reality.”

Wright Bros and SI2 pilotsImage source: Solar Impulse.

You can see in the above route map that future destinations are not precisely defined. Flight schedules and specific routes are selected with due consideration for en-route weather.

The Solar Impulse 2 team announced that its next flight is scheduled to take off from Dayton on 24 May and make an 18-hour flight to the Lehigh Valley Airport in Pennsylvania. Following that, the next flight is expected to be to an airport near New York City.

If you haven’t been following the flight of Solar Impulse 2 across the USA, I hope you will start now. This is a remarkable aeronautical mission and it is happening right now. You can check out the Solar Impulse website at:

http://www.solarimpulse.com

If you wish, you can navigate to and sign up for e-mail updates on future flights. Here’s the direct link:

http://www.solarimpulse.com/subscribe

With these updates, you also will be able to access live video feeds during the flights. OK, the videos are mostly pretty boring, but they are remarkable nonetheless because of the mission you have an opportunity to watch, even briefly, in real time.

There’s much more slow, steady flying to come before Solar Impulse 2 completes its around-the-world journey back to Abu Dhabi. I send my best wishes for a successful mission to the brave pilots, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, and to the entire Solar Impulse 2 team.

 

 

 

Solar Impulse 2 Preparing for the Next Leg of its Around-the-World Journey

In my 10 March 2015 post, I provided basic information of the remarkable Solar Impulse 2 aircraft and its mission to be the first aircraft to fly around the world on solar power. On 10 July 2015, I posted a summary of the first eight legs of the around the world flight, which started in Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015 and ended on 3 July at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu, Hawaii.

After arriving in Hawaii, the Solar Impulse team determined that the batteries had been damaged due to overheating on the first day of the Leg 8 flight and would have to be replaced. Solar Impulse reported the following root cause for the overheating:

“Since the plane had been exposed to harsh weather conditions from Nanjing to Nagoya, we decided to do a test flight before leaving for Hawaii. Having to perform a test flight followed by a mission flight had not been taken into account in the design process of the battery system, which did not allow the batteries to cool down in between the two” (flights).

By November 2015, the Solar Impulse engineers had upgraded the design of the whole battery system and integrated a battery cooling system. You can read the details on the Solar Impulse website at the following link:

http://blog.solarimpulse.com/post/133346944960/cool-batteries-solarimpulse

A further delay in starting Leg 9 was caused by the seasonal shortening of daylight hours in the Northern hemisphere. The late autumn and winter daylight hours weren’t long enough to allow the batteries to be fully recharged during the day along the planned route to the U.S. mainland and back to Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse 2 routeSource: Solar Impulse

On 26 February 2016, the upgraded Solar Impulse II made a successful “maintenance” flight in Hawaii. The flight lasted 93 minutes, reached an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters), and included tests of the stabilization and battery cooling systems.

Solar Impulse is planning to restart its around-the-world journey on 20 April 2016.

Solar Impulse composite photo over HawaiiSource: Solar Impulse

You can subscribe to news releases from the Solar Impulse team at the following link:

http://www.solarimpulse.com/subscribe

 

 

 

Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record Solo, Non-Stop, Solar-Powered Flight from Nagoya, Japan to Oahu, Hawaii

After a 118 hour solo, non-stop, solar-powered flight from Nagoya, Japan, pilot Andre Borschberg landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu, Hawaii.  During this flight,  Borschberg broke the world records for longest distance and duration for solar aviation, and the world record for the longest solo flight ever.  Solar Impulse 2 remained airborne for 5 consecutive days and nights, producing its own power with solar energy.

2015_07_03_Solar_Impulse_2_RTW_7th_Flight_Nagoya_to_Hawaii_landing_revillard_05706-7

Photo source: Solarimpulse.com

Key parameters of this remarkable, record-breaking flight is listed below:

Time of departure: 26 June 2015 18:03 UTC
Time of arrival: 3 July 2015 15:55 UTC
Flight time: 4 Days, 21 Hours, 52 Minutes
Distance: 7,212 km (4,481 miles)
Maximum altitude: 8,634 m (28,326 ft)
Average ground speed: 61.19 km/h (38.03 mph)

Each day (solar cycle), Solar Impulse 2 was flown on a trajectory that entailed: (1) using solar power during the day to run the engines, gain altitude, and charge the batteries, and then (2) using batteries to run the engines while gradually gliding down to lower altitudes at night.

This flight was Leg 8 of a planned around-the-world solar-powered journey that began in Abu Dhabi. The preceding seven legs are listed below:

  •  Leg 1: Abu Dhabi, UAE to Muscat, Oman, 9 March 2014

Flight time:

13 Hours 1 Minute

Distance:

772 km
  •  Leg 2: Muscat to Ahmedabab, India, 10 March 2013

Flight time:

15 Hours 20 Minutes

Distance:

1593 km
  •  Leg 3: Ahmedabab to Varanasi, India, 18 March 2015

Flight time:

13 Hours 15 Minutes

Distance:

1170 km
  •  Leg 4: Varanasi to Mandalay, Myanmar, 18 – 19 March 2015

Flight time:

13 Hours 29 Minutes

Distance:

1536 km
  •  Leg 5: Mandalay to Chongquing, China, 29 – 30 March 2015

Flight time:

20 Hours 29 Minutes

Distance:

1450 km
  •  Leg 6: Chongquing to Nanjing, China, 20 – 21 April 2015

Flight time:

17 Hours 22 Minutes

Distance:

1241 km
  •  Leg 7: Nanjing to Nagoya, Japan (original destination was Hawaii, but diverted because of weather), 30 May – 1 June 2015

Flight time:

1 Day 20 Hours 9 Minutes

Distance:

2852 km

The next planned legs are:

  •  Leg 9: Hawaii to Phoenix, AZ
  • Leg 10: Phoenix to mid-USA
  • Leg 11: mid-USA to New York
  • Leg 12: New York to Europe
  • Leg 13: Europe to Abu Dhabi

Refer to my 10 March 2015 post for a quick look at the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft and a link to more design details on the Solar Impulse website. Visit the website below for a detailed look at this remarkable effort, including an index to the website.

http://www.solarimpulse.com/multimedia-leg-12

I hope you will follow the remainder of the Solar Impulse team’s efforts to complete this pioneering journey around the world on solar power.

Solar Impulse 2 Designed for Around-the-World Flight on Solar Power

Switzerland’s Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is designed to fly around the world on solar power. Its wing span of 236 ft. is greater than the wing span of a Boeing 747. The high aspect ratio wing maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. Power is generated by more than 17,000 high-efficiency solar cells, with a daily generation capacity of up to 340 kWh. In comparison, my home solar electric system can generate 22 kWh on a good day.

Built with carbon fiber structures, Si2 weighs only 5,070 lb., but a bit more than 1/4 of that is for the batteries.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 8.30.58 AM

Graphic source: info.solarimpulse.com

Check out the Solar Impulse 2 website for detailed information on how this remarkable airplane was designed and constructed to meet the challenges of its mission.

http://info.solarimpulse.com/en/our-adventure/building-a-solar-airplane/#.VP8NUCkUyOI