SOLAR IMPULSE’S FIRST ROUND THE WORLD SOLAR FLIGHT
“I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!” said Thomas Alva Edison.
Truly said by Edison as solar energy is immortal and can be used in the best productive way. So is the belief of the Solar Impulse II, which has taken another stride in the league of great aeronautical firsts, the first Round-the-world solar flight. After 12 years of research, test and development, the Swiss have created a genuine airborne technology running on the Sun& proved to the world that solar energy can be used in unconventional ways too.
The first aircraft, bearing Swiss aircraft registration HB-SIA, is a single seat monoplane, capable of taking off under its own power, and designed to be able to stay airborne up to 36 hours.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The HB-SIA is primarily a prototype design. It has more than 17000 solar cells, collecting up to 340Wh of solar energy per day. The silicon cells are mounted on the wings, fuselage and horizontal tailplane, providing the best compromise between the lightness, flexibility and efficiency. Under the wing are four engines, each with set of lithium polymer batteries, a 10 h p motor and a twin-bladed propeller.. 11,628 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and the horizontal stabilizer work to generate electricity during the day. These both propel the plane and charge its batteries to allow flight at night.
On 26th June 2009, the Solar Impulse was first presented to the public at the dubendorf Air Base, Switzerland. Following testing, a short test was done on 3rd December 2009. On 7th April 2010, HB-SIA conducted an 87minute test flight. On 13th May 2011, HB-SIA landed Brussels Airport, after completing a 13-hour flight from its home base, in Switzerland. It was the first international flight by the solar impulse.
Due to the repair work of the aircraft’s main spar, the planes circumnavigation of the earth was rescheduled from 2012 to March 2015. The flight is expected to the circle the world in the northern hemisphere. The departure and arrival point are set to Abu Dhabi. The aircraft was delivered to Masdar in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit in January 2015, and began it circumnavigation on 9th March 2015.
WHY SOLAR IMPULSE DID CHOOSE TO LAND IN AHMEDABAD?
Andre Borschberg the Founder-CEO & Bertrand Piccard the chairman of Solar Impulse are the two Swiss pilots who are attempting to fly around the world in the solar powered plane. Borschberg mentioned “we chose to land in Ahmedabad because a lot of technology, research and products come from this part of the world.” They decided to take a halt in Ahmedabad as Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India. Piccard said “Gujarat is a province of innovation”. Impressed by Gujarat’s leadership status in solar energy, they are likely to stay in the city for 3 days before leaving for Varanasi.
Especially considering the importance of clean and green energy, Piccard added “because it is clean energy it will save the environment, I want 1.2-billion Indians to support their campaign for the use of renewable energy for protecting the global environment, we need better research in renewable energy, better governance on international level, medical breakthroughs.”