Solar Impulse to fly across the US
month, Piccard and Borschberg will perform test flights around the Bay Area in preparation, and the plan is for the journey to start on May 1st, with an estimated arrival in Gotham sometime in early July.The point of this new flight is to inspire and educate the public in general of the benefits of renewable energy and efficiency, and to encourage school children and university students in particular to "think off the grid" and innovate and invent on their own. To that end, the pilots will be broadcasting live transmissions and allowing the public to speak with them as they fly, in addition to providing access to flight planning information on the Solar Impulse website. Read on to learn a bit more about the Solar Impulse project and it's future plans.
During their presentation, Piccard and Borschberg also chatted a bit about their next big challenge, a solar-powered flight around the world in 2015. You see, the current Solar Impulse aircraft is merely a test mule, that has allowed the pair to learn much about solar powered flight. However, there have been advances in materials science, battery technology, electric motors and production processes since the plane first flew over three years ago. So, the new plane will have a larger cockpit that's "at least as comfortable as business class," according to Borschberg, to make the longer journey easier on the pilots. You see, because the current plane is so uncomfortable, it's only suited for being piloted for 24 hours or so continuously. By comparison, the aircraft destined to circumnavigate the globe will be flown for five full days at a time.