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.

Hawaii, USA, July 1st, 2015 - The airplane of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempting the first round the world solar flight has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km). At the controls, André Borschberg also breaks ...

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Hawaii, USA, July 1st, 2015 - The airplane of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempting the first round the world solar flight has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km). At the controls, André Borschberg also breaks the record for the longest solo flight ever. By remaining airborne 3 consecutive days and nights, producing its own power with solar energy, Solar Impulse 2 has proven that Bertrand Piccard's vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a crazy dream.  

By flying above the Pacific Ocean for over 80 hours, André Borschberg, co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse, is currently also achieving the longest non-stop solo flight without refuelling between Nagoya (Japan) and Hawaii in terms of duration. An accomplishment exceeding the American Adventurer Steve Fossett's flight on board Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, who, in 2006, realized a 76 hours non-stop flight to circumnavigate the globe. Solar Impulse 2 has so far accomplished 73 % of its flight to Hawaii and is intended to fly approximately 120 hours in total before landing in Honolulu.  

"Can you imagine that a solar powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane!", said Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse. "This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals!"  

André Borschberg is still enduring human, technical and operational challenges, navigating the high tech flying laboratory alone in an unheated and unpressurized 3,8 cubic meter cockpit.  

"The first 24 hours were very technical", said André Borschberg, "but the second day was really getting me into the mission. It took me a while to create a relationship of trust with the airplane, which allows me to rest and eventually sleep by periods of 20 minutes with the autopilot. The experience of flight is so intense that I can only focus on the present moment and discover how to deal with my own energy and mindset."  

If André's flight is successful, Bertrand will then continue this epic ocean crossing to Phoenix, Arizona. The journey will then take the 2 explorers, flying alternatively in the single seater cockpit, across the USA, the Atlantic and back to Abu Dhabi where the journey started March 9.  

The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for www.FutureisClean.org, an initiative aiming to encourage governments to replace old polluting devices by new clean technology, in order to save energy, natural resources and decrease CO2 emissions in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.


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