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Once a pioneer, always a pioneer

It’s always an incredible sight to see a conference hall bursting with children and even more so when they’re all motivated by the same thing: protecting the environment. This year’s Climate Pioneers event ...

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It’s always an incredible sight to see a conference hall bursting with children and even more so when they’re all motivated by the same thing: protecting the environment. This year’s Climate Pioneers event was held at the Kursaal in Bern. The collaborative project between Swisscom, Solar Impulse and myclimate is designed to raise youth’s awareness about the challenges facing our world today through practical, hands-on projects.

Classes that have completed a concrete environmentally-friendly project are invited to the Climate Fest that takes place every year in November. This year 1200 students were present, mostly from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, but there was also a small representation from Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region.  

“Dreams fuel innovation and that’s what Solar Impulse is about: inspiring people to seek solutions for a cleaner planet. I had a vision of a solar-powered airplane, an idea that was quickly rejected by aviation specialists who considered it impossible. I persevered and today, together with André, Solar Impulse is flying across countries and continents without fuel,” said Bertrand to the hall of cheering kids. “You are Climate Pioneers. Some might tell you that it’s impossible to protect the environment, but don’t listen to them. Believe in what you’ve achieved and inspire others,” concluded the Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and pilot.

“Today, you are all Climate Pioneers, but your role doesn’t end here. After today’s event, go home, talk to your parents, to your grandparents, to your friends. Tell them what you’ve learned and achieved as a Climate Pioneer and inspire them to follow your example” said in both Italian and German Doris Leuthard, member of the Swiss Federal Council.

There is nothing more inspiring than to see the sparkle in children’s eyes when they receive the little token of recognition, the Climate Pioneer Certificate, handed by Bertrand to each class representative. They worked hard to conceive and complete environmentally-relevant projects and many of them still nurture that innate optimism adults often lose with time. When asked if they can imagine a sky filled with solar-powered aircrafts, their response is overflowing with certainty: of course! Let their dreams prosper and who knows, we might be pleasantly surprised in a near future…. 

Peter Diamandis our New Patron

Solar Impulse is a project that seeks solutions for the future through technological innovation and pioneering spirit, so it’s no surprise that the Chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation and Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of 

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Solar Impulse is a project that seeks solutions for the future through technological innovation and pioneering spirit, so it’s no surprise that the Chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation and Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Singularity University, Peter Diamandis, decided to become a Patron of the project.

Bertrand met Peter back in 2005 when Bertrand was offered the Lindbergh Award for his round-the-world balloon flight. Now with Solar Impulse, both pilots and co-founders of Solar Impulse, Bertrand and André, share Peter’s strive for innovation as a catalyst for change. X Prize’s highest profile award was given to Space Ship One, the first privately financed space adventure. In fact, X Prize's main goal, a non-profit organization, is to encourage technological breakthroughs that could benefit humanity.

Bertrand and André had the opportunity to meet with Peter during this year’s Google Zeitgeist where all the links between them became evident. Without hesitation, Peter accepted to strengthen the ties with Solar Impulse as he also believes that human progress is only possible when vision and passion drive us to achieve the impossible.  

Solar Impulse receives the Hermes Prize for Innovation

On June 12, 2013, Solar Impulse Co-Founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, represented by Director and CFO Philippe Rathle, were awarded the Hermes Prize for ...

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On June 12, 2013, Solar Impulse Co-Founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, represented by Director and CFO Philippe Rathle, were awarded the Hermes Prize for Innovation in the category “Human Adventure” during the 6th National Meeting of Directors of Innovation at the Sorbonne.

The Hermes Prize for Innovation is meant to honor those companies and organizations that have best been able to integrate innovative humanist values in their products and services. This prize is one of excellence based on a careful, multi-criteria analysis of the company or organization’s investment in the improvement of the human condition, the relationship between humans, the future of a city and in sustainable human development.

The theme of this year’s event was “Innovation to emerge from the crisis” where 35 of the most successful and innovative companies and organizations gave speeches to an audience of 450 innovation professionals. Many of today’s leading companies were actually born in a time of crises like Ford, Gillet and Airbus, to name a few. It’s during a crisis that the innovative spirit needs to surface and help the world emerge from the economic slump. Solar Impulse was awarded this prize thanks to its pioneering attitude and innovative spirit to explore solutions for the future.

Hermes, in Greek mythology, is the God of ingenious intelligence but also a God that offers himself for the projects of others. He encourages humans’ entrepreneurial spirit, supporting them while also being himself an explorer. The prize, a reproduction by the Louvre of the bicephalous statue of Hermes, on one side, and Dionysus, on the other is a symbol of innovation, of maturity.

 

Left: The image represents the multi-criteria evaluation done by the “Club de Paris des Directeurs de l’Innovation”. 

Back to the nest

Solar Impulse’s HB-SIA is finally back home after completing the epic crossing of the United States, from San Francisco to New York City, without a single drop of fuel. Transported by Cargolux’s Jumbo Jet, the cargo freighter landed at Dübendorf airfield early Monday morning, August 5th.

It ...

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Solar Impulse’s HB-SIA is finally back home after completing the epic crossing of the United States, from San Francisco to New York City, without a single drop of fuel. Transported by Cargolux’s Jumbo Jet, the cargo freighter landed at Dübendorf airfield early Monday morning, August 5th.

It was a challenging landing for Cargolux pilots as the runway is relatively short for such an aircraft – even shorter than the runway at the Payerne airfield – but everything went smoothly. Because of the size and weight of the aircraft, the unloading had to be done from the main runway, meaning that all the parts where then physically transported back to the hangar by the Solar Impulse team.

"The first prototype of Solar Impulse is able to fly across a continent, but not yet an ocean. This is why, after the success of the Across America mission, it’s been repatriated to Europe on board of a cargo aircraft,” said Bertrand while standing on the runway. “But the second version, the HB-SIB, will fly over the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans on its way around the world in 2015. For this, we will really have to push the use of clean technologies in their ultimate application!"

Cargolux’s Boeing 747-8 Freighter is already making progress in this direction. In fact, the Jumbo Jet shows significant improvements in fuel consumption, noise and CO2 emissions over its predecessor. Also, as a founding member of SAFUG (Sustainable Aviation Fuel User Group), Cargolux has supported the development of bio-fuels and, in this context, the company monitors with interest the development of solar-powered flight, excited to play a part in the Solar Impulse project.

“The arrival of Cargolux’s B747 in Dübendorf officially marks the conclusion of the mission across America and of HB-SIA’s operations. Despite the technical problem encountered during the last flight [Washington D.C. to New York City], the plane is repatriated in flying condition after a brilliant career nearing 500 flight hours. This might prove its engineering excellence but it especially demonstrates how reliable the integrated clean technologies are,” concluded André.

It feels strange to see HB-SIA back in Dübendorf. This particular airfield is also its birthplace and the location where it first proved it could fly. Once it was of age, the prototype solar airplane was moved to Payerne, the airfield where it continued to inspire people by crossing countries and continents beyond its original mandate, the 26-hour flight. HB-SIA will be kept in flying condition, but the spotlight will be handed to its younger brother, HB-SIB, that’s currently being built in the same hangar. This is a symbolic moment for the team, but especially for the engineers that built it: after a life full of adventure, the solar plane lands back in its nest.

Welcome home HB-SIA! 

HB-SIA soon to be repatriated

The solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg is currently being disassembled at New York JFK by Solar Impulse engineers and will soon be repatriated to Switzerland by Cargolux’s B747.

The Jumbo Jet is expected to land Monday morning, August 5th, at the Dübendorf airfield where the ...

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The solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg is currently being disassembled at New York JFK by Solar Impulse engineers and will soon be repatriated to Switzerland by Cargolux’s B747.

The Jumbo Jet is expected to land Monday morning, August 5th, at the Dübendorf airfield where the dismantled plane will be kept in flying condition.


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