Aviation has always been an outstanding agent of progress and innovation.
It transformed the 20th Century, and set whole generations dreaming. Today, the world faces major challenges, and aviation must continue to show the way forward. The aim of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg is not to revolutionize the aviation industry – it would be stupid and pretentious to even attempt this – but instead to use the power of this airborne symbol to help change people’s minds about renewable energies. In the present context, people are put off by the sheer scale of the problems. Instead, they should be encouraged, because technological solutions exist that can create jobs and open new markets whilst also protecting the environment.
Aviation, for its part, must clearly change to survive, given the constant rise in the price of kerosene and CO2 taxes. But it is obvious that, unlike Solar Impulse, airliners’ engines are not about to start functioning without fuel. The solar airplane simply demonstrates that “less can mean more”.
Solar Impulse has started to fulfill the good-citizenship role for which it was designed. The solar airplane provokes discussions amongst the highest political and economic authorities about technological solutions currently available to help them achieve the world’s agreed CO2 reduction targets. And it also allows them to tackle the problem of resistance to change, which risks locking us for too long into the dangerous and costly consequences of old habits. It is with the aim of promoting such processes of change that Europe is using Solar Impulse, to give an example of what clean technology is capable of achieving. Hence the patronage of the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, as well as the European Commission.
“Our airplane is not designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message.” Bertrand Piccard
“From the very start of the project, we understood that our primary goal was to save energy.” André Borschberg