A team

At the beginning of 2012, the Solar Impulse team was about 90 strong, including 30 engineers, 25 technicians and 22 mission controllers, supported financially and technologically by over a hundred partners and advisers. And yet the team could have been limited to just twenty people.

 

To achieve that, an aircraft manufacturer would have had to accept being a sub-contractor responsible for building the solar airplane after completion of the feasibility study. But none of them believed it to be possible, so it was necessary in record time to create a production unit and assemble a technical team. The two founders shared the work-load, with André taking responsibility for the team and the construction work, whilst Bertrand travelled the world promoting the project and searching for partners.

Solar Impulse heads for Nanjing before crossing Pacific Ocean on its Round-The-World Flight

Chongqing (China) April 21, 2015: Solar Impulse departed for its sixth flight from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport at 06:06 am (10:06 pm GMT [April 20th]), heading toward Nanjing Lukou International Airport in the People's Republic of China. ...

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Chongqing (China) April 21, 2015: Solar Impulse departed for its sixth flight from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport at 06:06 am (10:06 pm GMT [April 20th]), heading toward Nanjing Lukou International Airport in the People's Republic of China. Bertrand Piccard is flying the solar powered airplane for an expected 14 hours across the country before arriving in Nanjing. Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) has been waiting patiently in Chongqing during the past three weeks for a suitable weather window to open - cloudy weather conditions and excessive crosswinds prevented an earlier take-off.
 
During the previous weeks, Solar Impulse meteorologists and simulation teams have battled with unfavourable weather circumstances to find solutions allowing a departure from Chongqing sooner rather than later. Strategies explored included alternative routes, possible pit stops and flying at various altitudes. While considering several possibilities, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) was very supportive, collaborative and flexible, for which Solar Impulse is grateful.
 
Si2 departed from Chongqing, heading East toward the city of Fuling, located in the province of Sichuan. Bertrand Piccard will fly over the mountainous region just outside Fuling between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm local at a cruising altitude of 3,700 meters (12,140 feet). Piccard will continue Easterly, crossing the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze River, after which flying North Easterly toward the city of Wuhan. The solar powered aircraft will pass over Chaohu Lake, one of the largest lakes in China at roughly 8:00 am local time. Piccard is expected to arrive in Nanjing at 8:00 pm (12:00 am GMT).
 
Si2 will remain in Nanjing for approximately 10 days, depending on favorable weather conditions, as a thorough check of the airplane is required before departing Nanjing to Hawaii (USA) for the Pacific Crossing which will last 5 days and 5 nights.


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