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As part of the UN Climate Summit in New York, the Solar Impulse founders were elated to announce Abu Dhabi as the start and finish point for the first Round-the-World solar flight to be attempted in 2015.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were just two of the delegation that included 120 Heads of State and Government, and over 800 leaders in business, finance and civil society responding to Ban Ki-moon's invitation. The spirit of the summit resonated around the world, including a gathering of 300,000 ...

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Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were just two of the delegation that included 120 Heads of State and Government, and over 800 leaders in business, finance and civil society responding to Ban Ki-moon's invitation. The spirit of the summit resonated around the world, including a gathering of 300,000 supporters in the streets of New York.

The political momentum has gained since the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009: while previously the delegates only recognized the existence of the problem, the summit in New York saw a more positive and determined commitment to financing low-carbon development and the adoption of clean technologies. Indeed, a fund of $200bn was agreed by a coalition of global leaders.

The only way to motivate people is to demonstrate the existence of solutions, not only to speak about the problem,” said Bertrand Piccard. “It was great to meet so many people acting to change the world,” continued André Borschberg.

The Solar Impulse founders announced Abu Dhabi as the host city, and Masdar as the host partner while standing alongside Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar.

Bertrand and André were pleased to be back in New York just a year after completing their flight across America with Si1, the first generation Solar Impulse airplane. Their record-breaking journey in 2013 visited the cities of San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington and New York. Second generation Si2 will look to make stopovers across the USA as it attempts the first Round-The-World solar flight, commencing in March 2015.

The summit was really a positive time to develop the momentum for meaningful change in developing and adopting clean technologies, of which Solar Impulse is a pioneering example. The first Round-The-World solar flight will be bracketed by the forthcoming summit in Lima, later this year, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of 2015.

Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

With nine successful flights logged, Solar Impulse 2 is about to enter a new phase in the preparations for its round-the-world flight!

This week-end, Markus Scherdel will make the first high-altitude flight, climbing to more than 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). He will remain airborne for between 12 and 13 hours. This is a further important step forward, enabling the aircraft’s behaviour to be evaluated and studied at high altitudes, where the air starts ...

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This week-end, Markus Scherdel will make the first high-altitude flight, climbing to more than 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). He will remain airborne for between 12 and 13 hours. This is a further important step forward, enabling the aircraft’s behaviour to be evaluated and studied at high altitudes, where the air starts becoming less dense. Until now, the airplane has displayed very stable characteristics, and I’m crossing my fingers that this will remain the case up there aloft!

This phase involves important challenges. Having carried out flights lasting two or three hours, we are now going to test a new area of the flight envelope for the first time: higher altitude and higher airspeed, lower air density. With such an enormous wingspan, the risk of flutter (aeroelasticity) is high. So the forthcoming flight does involve certain risks. This tenth flight will also evaluate the insulation of the cockpit, since the external temperature will drop to about

-20°C. Markus will have to fly the airplane despite experiencing more challenging conditions. Our flight testing team will be carefully monitoring the functioning of the solar generators, the oxygen system, and the Pilot Assistance System (a kind of auto-pilot) from the Mission Control Center (MCC).

The third #VirginDisruptors debate took place on 22 September 2014 in New York! For an hour and a quarter, Bertrand Piccard debated the future of the transport industry with Richard Branson, George T. Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of SkyTran, and Amory Lovins, co-founder and President Emeritus of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The way we move around is being transformed ... But are we changing fast enough to provide concrete solutions to the global problems facing humanity, such as climate change, overpopulation and urban planning? Watch a summary of the debate here

Bertrand ...

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The way we move around is being transformed ... But are we changing fast enough to provide concrete solutions to the global problems facing humanity, such as climate change, overpopulation and urban planning? Watch a summary of the debate here

Bertrand spoke in particular about his vision of the future of the transportation industry. "Half the energy the world uses is lost due to outdated technology. Adopting new technology would yield massive energy savings.”

Bertrand’s message of hope echoed that of Sir Richard Branson, who in addition to being a sponsor of our project, is convinced that "aviation will in future be one of the cleanest industries, not one of the dirtiest."Just imagine what a powerful demonstration of technology Solar Impulse will be for millions of people in all nations when it flies around the world in 2015!

 

I’d been looking forward to this moment impatiently! After all the missions flown in the first prototype Solar Impulse, I’ve finally got my hands on the controls of Si2, the actual round-the-world plane.

Since Markus, our test pilot, first flew it in June, followed by André about ten days ago, my impatience became more and more difficult to contain! When I climbed into the cockpit, I felt a mixture of excitement, concentration, and gratitude to all the team who had contributed to the construction of this technological ...

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Since Markus, our test pilot, first flew it in June, followed by André about ten days ago, my impatience became more and more difficult to contain! When I climbed into the cockpit, I felt a mixture of excitement, concentration, and gratitude to all the team who had contributed to the construction of this technological gem.

To familiarize myself with the aircraft, I started by doing some taxi trials on the runway. Then came the moment to set full power on all four electric motors… and to feel my heart-rate speed up slightly. Once I heard Nils, the ground team chief, say "Main wheel lift-off" in my headset, I could start an hour-long taming of this huge 72 meter wingspan monster. Nothing is done as in a normal plane, so the simulator training sessions really paid off. Then, I had to demonstrate three touchdowns in order to convince Raymond Clerc, my flight instructor. Followed by a champagne celebration with the team!

There is one other thing I wanted to share with you: the beautiful lighting of this sunset over Lake Neuchâtel

This flight was a key milestone in the final run-up to the round-the-world flight. But next year’s adventure will be much more difficult, with flights of up to 5 consecutive days and nights! Today, at least we know that André and I are ready to attempt it.

The best pictures of my first flight are online!

 

 
Solar Impulse | Rezo.ch

During Europe’s biggest air show, #AIR14, Solar Impulse 2 surprised an enthusiastic crowd by making two test flights.

Throughout the 10 days of the Air Show, the #Si2 hangar was open to the public, who had an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of innovation and clean technologies thanks to an interactive exhibition. Visitors could also get right up close to the airplane, and have their photos taken sitting in a mock-up of ...

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Throughout the 10 days of the Air Show, the #Si2 hangar was open to the public, who had an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of innovation and clean technologies thanks to an interactive exhibition. Visitors could also get right up close to the airplane, and have their photos taken sitting in a mock-up of the cockpit!

The founders and pilots of Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, were thrilled to have the chance to spread their pioneering message to such large and enthusiastic crowd of people. They took the stage personally to give a presentation about their aircraft, before answering numerous questions about the round-the-world flight, which now looms near. 

Solar Impulse takes this opportunity to offer its warmest congratulations to Colonel Ian Logan and his team of organisers at #Air14, who gave enormous pleasure to hundreds of thousands of spectators.

 

#Air14 in numbers:

-9 days

-184 flight demonstrations, among which 2 by #Si2

-1 taxi test by André Borschberg

-400'000 visitors

-3'300 mock cockpit selfies

-500 "#Si2 caps" sold

Solar Impulse | Ackermann| Rezo.ch

What a lovely surprise for Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg at Air 14! They received a visit from Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, and a delegation of 8 ministers, who had come along specially to see the solar airplane during their official visit to Switzerland.

This meeting had not initially been included in the programme for the Burmese President’s visit to Switzerland, but took place at his personal request!  During his visit, Thein Sein listened to a presentation on the project before visiting the airplane and the technical infrastructure. His embassy confirmed that he ...

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This meeting had not initially been included in the programme for the Burmese President’s visit to Switzerland, but took place at his personal request!  During his visit, Thein Sein listened to a presentation on the project before visiting the airplane and the technical infrastructure. His embassy confirmed that he had been “very impressed” by Solar Impulse.

He also had discussions with Bertrand and André about Si2 possibly stopping over in Myanmar during its round-the-world flight, due to start in March 2015. As gifts were exchanged in the traditional way, the President said that he intended to announce our arrival to his country’s people as soon as possible, so that they could already begin to look forward to it.

If Si2 were to make this stop, the pilots would certainly be very happy to spread their pioneering spirit amongst the people of Myanmar!  Bertrand especially, who would be making a return visit to the country where he landed in Breitling Orbiter 2 during his second failed attempt to fly round the world in a balloon.

 

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