Solar Impulse 2 – Exploration to Change the World of Aviation
Latest Update on the Solar Impulse 2 Journey (see video below)
On June 29th, 2015, 18:03 GMT Sunday, the Solar Impulse 2 took off from Nagoya, Japan. It’s traveling to the Islands of Hawaii of the United States. This feat, if accomplished, will be the first ever flight fueled by solar power only. This achievement has never before occurred. If successful, clean technologies like solar power will once again be in the forefront of aircraft manufacturers drawing boards and design floors.
Piloting the Solar Impulse are Captain Andre Borschlberg, who is the co-founder, CEO and founder of the Solar Impulse Airplane with Bertrand Piccard, co-pilot, initiator, and president of the Humanitarian Foundation, “Winds of Hope”. Together they are taking on the challenge of flying around the world in an airplane propelled especially and solely by solar energy. Completely without fossil fuels of any kind or creating even the smallest amount of pollution, the Solar Impulse Aircraft promotes the potential of renewable energy sources and new technologies.
Latest Updated Video of the Solar Impulse Journey (posted September 2nd, 2015)
Will the Solar Impulse make it to Hawaii, U.S. from Nagoya, Japan?
The Solar Impulse is flying in the dark about the Pacific Ocean right now on its track to Hawaii. There is a optimal day and flight cycle that is scheduled but can be greatly affected by weather and also by air traffic. When the Solar Impulse’s route is altered it can trigger a flight simulation to check whether the stage is still feasible due to the changes and or external constraints.
The flight is expected to take 120 hours and with solar power only reach the Hawaiian Islands. This flight, if successful, will help promote and encourage the use of clean technologies for future aircraft design.
The SI2 will be monitored from the Mission Control Center which keeps the pilot and Solar Impulse 2 on its plan. The Sat. Com System transmits data to the mission room, everything from temperature of the motors, to the position of the aircraft and even the tension in the accumulators. One of the projects main accomplishments was the energy system that optimizes the system architecture. It is similar to the challenges faced in dealing with satellites, so a satellite specialist was involved in the system design from day one.
The team believes that all possibilities have been simulated by a very disciplined team that found the right combination of weather patterns and paved the way for the solar airplane to go into controlled airspace and be prepared for landings at international airports.
Interesting facts about the Solar Impulse 2:
- By simulating flight routes, the eventual plan for Solar Impulse 2 was optimized.
- At sunset the Solar Impulse 2 must be at maximum altitude to make it through the night.
- Solar Impulse 2 glides down during the night, with the propellers just ticking over to reduce air resistance.
- The pilot must still wait at sunrise before climbing, until the sun is strong enough.
- The outputs from simulation models are checked again and again by each team for feasibility.
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford, American Industrialist and Founder of the Ford Motor Co.