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First solar-powered aircraft to begin world trip in 2015

The same technology can be used on buildings and cars, he said.

Source : IINA / 19 Feb 2014

World's first day and night flying solar-powered wide bodied aircraft will make a round-the-globe trip next year, showcasing the latest technology in various countries, where it will have stopovers.

Switzerland based Solar Impulse CEO André Borschberg said the aircraft which will be unveiled in a few months from now. The plane, weighing around 2,740 kg, will be powered by 12,000 solar cells and can fly at the speed of 70 km per hour. The aircraft will be powered by solar cells as thin as a hair. Solar Impulse solar cells are only 135 company engineers. The upper surface of the wings of the aircraft is made of solar panels and the lower part with an ultra light fabric. The wing spar is entirely made of carbon fiber honeycomb sandwich panels.

The around-the-world journey will be for three months, with the total flight time microns thin, like an average human hair. Around 144 ribs have been carefully placed at 50 cm intervals by the being 20-25 days and nights. The journey will begin somewhere in the Middle East and the flight's first destination will be India. “We are hopeful to having two stops in India. One of the West Coast and the other on the East Coast before the aircraft flies off to Myanmar. The longest non-stop flight of five days and five nights will be across the Pacific Ocean, he added.

The goal is to make an aircraft which has unlimited endurance. It is a human challenge also besides making the aircraft which is very efficient in energy and energy savings. “The goal is to inspire people especially the younger generation on what is possible, about the potential of technology. If we can use renewable energy on an airplane, we can certainly use it on the ground, where it is much more simple,” he said. He said the aircraft has such technology which makes it efficient with reduced energy consumption that enables it to fly day and night continuously. The same technology can be used on buildings and cars, he said.


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