Pilots

Two men, both pioneers, innovators and pilots, are the driving force behind Solar Impulse.

  • Bertrand Piccard, a doctor, psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, is the initiator and chairman.
  • André Borschberg, an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot, is the co-founder and CEO.

The former’s avant-gardist vision and the latter’s entrepreneurial and managerial experience are an ideal combination.

Bertrand Piccard

Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse

  • Born in a dynasty of explorers and scientists who conquered the heights and the depths of our planet.
  • Psychiatrist specialised in hypnosis
  • International motivational speaker
  • Initiator of the Breitling Orbiter project and captain of the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, capturing 7 FAI world records for the longest flight of the entire aviation's history for both distance and duration.
  • Pioneer of hang-gliding and microlight flying in Europe; European hang-glider aerobatics champion.

Read more about Bertrand Piccard, connect to his website, Facebook fanpage, Google+ page, Twitter profile.

André Borschberg

CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse.

  • Engineer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Graduate of the Sloan School (MIT) in management science
  • Entrepreneur specialised in start-up companies
  • Trained as Swiss air force pilot
  • 8 FAI world records for distance, altitude and duration in a solar airplane

Read more about André Borschberg and follow him on Google+Twitter, Facebook.

Océan Pacifique, le 19 juillet

Pas pour cette fois.

Cette année, le Pacifique m’a vraiment rejeté. Je ne parle pas seulement du report à l’année prochaine du vol que je me réjouissais ...

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Océan Pacifique, le 19 juillet

Pas pour cette fois.

Cette année, le Pacifique m’a vraiment rejeté. Je ne parle pas seulement du report à l’année prochaine du vol que je me réjouissais tant de faire entre Hawaii et l’Amérique. Cette déception-là, vous pouvez facilement l’imaginer. Non, je parle ici de mon voyage de retour vers la Suisse… en avion de ligne.

Dieu sait pourquoi, tous les passagers ont décidé de fermer leurs hublots et il règne une totale obscurité. Je ne peux qu’imaginer au-dehors la vue sublime du soleil qui caresse l’océan. Pour la première fois depuis des années, je n’ai pas réussi à obtenir un siège à la fenêtre. Je me permet de demander à mon voisin pourquoi il garde son volet fermé, en laissant sous-entendre que c’est aussi un tout petit peu le mien. Il se contente de répondre que tout le monde fait la même chose. C’est la réponse que je déteste le plus. Est-ce une raison ? En tout cas pas pour moi qui espérais déjà pouvoir contempler cette partie du Pacifique avant l’année prochaine. J’en avais eu un superbe aperçu depuis mon ballon il y a 16 ans : une immensité devant laquelle on abandonne ses repères pour se trouver soi-même ; mais aussi les petits cumulus alignées comme les perles d’un collier céleste qui définiront l’altitude de Solar Impulse pendant les nuits de vol, et les fameux cirrus effilochés qui menaceront l’ensoleillement de nos cellules photovoltaïques.

Ces hublots désespérément clos me disent fermement que ce n’est pas mon année pour le Pacifique. Au moins, cela a le mérite d’être clair !


Bertrand Piccard

You can find this story on carandache.com

Despite the hard work of the Solar Impulse team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will stay in Hawaii until early spring 2016.  

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Despite the hard work of the Solar Impulse team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will stay in Hawaii until early spring 2016.  

Following the longest and most difficult leg of the round-the-world journey which lasted 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes), Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by overheating.

During the first ascend on day one of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased due to a high climb rate and an over insulation of the gondolas. And while the Mission Team was monitoring this very closely during the flight, there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration as each daily cycle requires an ascend to 28’000 feet and descend for optimal energy management.

Overall the airplane performed very well during the flight. The damage to the batteries is not a technical failure or a weakness in the technology but rather an evaluation error in terms of the profile of the mission and the cooling design specifications of the batteries. The temperature of thebatteries in a quicks ascend / descend in tropical climates was not properly anticipated. 

Irreversible damage to certain parts of the batteries will require repairs which will take several months. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team will be studying various options for better cooling and heating processes for very long flights.  

The University of Hawaii with the support of the Department of Transportation will host the airplane in its hangar at Kalaeloa airport. Post maintenance check flights will start in 2016 to test the newbattery heating and cooling systems. The round-the-world mission will resume early April from Hawaii to the USA West Coast. From there Solar Impulse will cross the USA to JFK in New York before making the Atlantic crossing to Europe and then returning the point of departure in Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse is attempting a historic first of flying around the world only on solar energy. And while Solar Impulse has completed 8 legs, covering nearly half of the journey, setbacks are part of the challenges of a project which is pushing technological boundaries to the limits. Solar Impulse will try to complete the first ever round-the-world solar flight in 2016 and this delay will in no way influence the overall objectives of this pioneering endeavour.

Record-breaking solar flight reaches Hawaii after 5 nights and days airborne without fuel. Unlimited endurance is now proven thanks to clean technology.

HAWAII, July 3rd, 2015.The longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight attempted since last March ...

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Record-breaking solar flight reaches Hawaii after 5 nights and days airborne without fuel. Unlimited endurance is now proven thanks to clean technology.

HAWAII, July 3rd, 2015.The longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight attempted since last March by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg ended successfully in Hawaii. At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 118 hours over the Pacific Ocean from Japan powered only by the sun.    

Pilot André Borschberg, broke the world records for Distance along a course (6,825.4 km), Straight distance, and Duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (80 hours and 5,663 km).

“I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey. I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest. The team at the Mission Control Center in Monaco (MCC) were my eyes and my ears… The MCC was battling to give me the possibility to rest and recover, but also maximizing the aircraft’s energy levels and sending me trajectories and flight strategies simulated by computer", said André Borschberg, "This success fully validates the vision that my partner Bertrand Piccard had after his round-the-world balloon flight to reach unlimited endurance in an airplane without fuel", he adds.  

"What André has achieved is extraordinary from the perspective of a pilot. But furthermore, he has also led the technical team during the construction of this revolutionary prototype", said Bertrand Piccard, initiator and pilot of Solar Impulse.

To catapult this idea to the next level, Solar Impulse initiated the Future Is Clean campaign, calling on supporters to add their voice to the message on www.futureisclean.org: a website serving as a petition to convince governments around the globe to implement the necessary clean technology solutions and help ensure that the United Nations’ upcoming Conference on Climate Change (COP21) is successful in renewing the Kyoto protocol this December in Paris.


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