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Pilots

Two men, both pioneers, innovators and pilots, are the driving force behind Solar Impulse.

  • Bertrand Piccard, a doctor, psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, is the initiator and chairman.
  • André Borschberg, an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot, is the co-founder and CEO.

The former’s avant-gardist vision and the latter’s entrepreneurial and managerial experience are an ideal combination.

Bertrand Piccard

President, initiator and pilot of Solar Impulse.

  • Born in a dynasty of explorers and scientists who conquered the heights and the depths of our planet.
  • Psychiatrist specialised in hypnosis
  • International motivational speaker
  • Initiator of the Breitling Orbiter project and captain of the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, capturing 7 FAI world records for the longest flight of the entire aviation's history for both distance and duration.
  • Pioneer of hang-gliding and microlight flying in Europe; European hang-glider aerobatics champion.

Read more about Bertrand Piccard, connect to Bertrand Piccard's website, facebook fanpage, google+ page, twitter profile.

André Borschberg

CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse.

  • Engineer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Graduate of the Sloan School (MIT) in management science
  • Entrepreneur specialised in start-up companies
  • Trained as Swiss air force pilot
  • 8 FAI world records for distance, altitude and duration in a solar airplane

Read more about André Borschberg, follow him on google+twitter, facebook.

Myanmar welcomed Co-founder and CEO, André Borschberg, to further discussions about the potential route for the first Round-the-World solar flight.

Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, had taken the opportunity to meet the Solar Impulse team and see the second generation aircraft, Si2, during a visit to Switzerland last September. The Burmese President had been very enthusiastic about the possibility of Solar Impulse landing in Myanmar during the upcoming Round-the-World ...

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Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, had taken the opportunity to meet the Solar Impulse team and see the second generation aircraft, Si2, during a visit to Switzerland last September. The Burmese President had been very enthusiastic about the possibility of Solar Impulse landing in Myanmar during the upcoming Round-the-World solar flight that will start from Abu Dhabi in 2015.

Swiss Ambassador, Mr Christoph Burgener, organised an informal conference at the Swiss Embassy to explore the opportunity of landing there during the Round-The-World. The meeting was another good opportunity to explore how the message of Solar Impulse could be shared in Myanmar, and spirits were high as the route options were discussed.

André was extremely pleased to share enthusiasm with the delegation from Myanmar: Maung Maung Ohn, Chief Minister of Mandalay, H.E. U Soe Thane, Union Minister, President's Office, H.E. U Nyan Tun Aung, Union Minister for Transport and H.E. U Ye Htut, Union Minister for Information. Schindler's General Manager of Myanmar, Willis Phua, was also able to make a positive contribution through their strong regional presence.

During their visit to Myanmar, André and Gregory Blatt, Solar Impulse Managing Director, visited the revered pilgrimage destination of Mahamuni Buddha Temple. The temple houses one of the five likenesses of the Buddha, and the Solar Impulse delegation were grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality received within this historic setting.

"Solar energy is an incredibly powerful resource for a country like Myanmar," said André Borschberg. "The extended hours of sunshine give a great potential to efficiently supply the electricity network, and solar power is so versatile that it can quickly provide energy into remote areas. Solar Impulse demonstrates that this technology can push the boundaries of what many see as impossible."

The Solar Impulse team is really excited to develop the route for their attempt of the first Round-The-World Flight in 2015. Factors that influence the route include the forecast weather conditions and the status of international air traffic, and so it is important to establish the regional possibilities for flight routing and landings.

Read about the visit of Thein Sein to Switzerland

This is the book of the doctor and of the psychotherapist that I wanted to write. Not the one of the pilot.

Of course, my experience as an explorer has influenced me, and explains the questioning tone of curiosity reflected throughout the chapters. But the subject is life, communication, autohypnosis, crisis management, and spirituality, all from the angle of the different altitudes and visions of the world that give you more ...

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Of course, my experience as an explorer has influenced me, and explains the questioning tone of curiosity reflected throughout the chapters. But the subject is life, communication, autohypnosis, crisis management, and spirituality, all from the angle of the different altitudes and visions of the world that give you more freedom to think and act. These may even give us the will to try new and more creative behavior in order to live better on a daily basis. I really enjoyed writing this book; sitting with a pen in front of a block of paper and being able to write down the ideas that I have been accumulating for years. My aim has been to make a practical booklet, with examples and concrete propositions to incentivize change and evolution.

You tell me whether I succeeded!

Buy the book

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!

 

 

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