Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, have set out to achieve something that still seems impossible today: the First Round-The-World Solar Flight, powered only by the sun, with no fuel or polluting emissions.
In line with the Piccard Family tradition of scientific exploration and protection of the environment, Solar Impulse wants to demonstrate that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals. If an airplane can fly day and night without fuel, everybody could use these same technologies on the ground to save natural ressources and improve quality of life.
A new Utopia? A beautiful scene from science fiction? No, a cutting-edge technological challenge! A sufficiently eccentric project to appeal to one’s emotions and get one’s adrenalin pumping: to harness a clean and renewable form of energy, and use it to fly night and day without limit.
«A Jules Verne dream of today means the urge to explore the unknown and the force to do good, which must continue to inspire human beings. Take your time, be patient and determined, wrote my great grandfather Jules Verne, for everything great that has ever been achieved in the world, is the result of exaggerated ambitions. And it is this spirit that Bertrand Piccard symbolizes best in this project, which is ambitious but of universal benefit to mankind.»
One could easily imagine oneself in a Jules Verne novel: a team wanting to promote renewable energies sets off round the world in a solar airplane, aiming to fly without fuel or pollution…
By writing the next pages in aviation history with solar energy, and voyaging around the world without fuel or pollution, meeting the public enthusiasm, Solar Impulse is the messenger for Bertrand Piccard’s initial vision, written in 2004:
« Our ambition for Solar Impulse is for the worlds of exploration and innovation to make a contribution to the cause of renewable energies. We want to demonstrate the importance of clean technologies for sustainable development; and to place dreams and emotions back at the heart of scientific adventure.
The public, which gets excited about great adventures, is ready to join the dreams of pioneers and explorers. Solar Impulse wants to mobilize this enthusiasm in favor of technologies that will allow decreased dependence on fossil fuels and induce positive emotions about renewable energies.
Public attention must be drawn towards the changes necessary to ensure our planet’s energy and ecological future. Also, a positive and stimulating image of environmental protection must demonstrate that the alternative energy sources, related to new technologies, can achieve what some consider impossible. »
« The problem with our society is that, despite all the grand talk about sustainable development, we are a long way from making use of the clean technologies that are already available to us. »
Bertrand Piccard, 2004
With each of their great “firsts”, the adventurers of the last century constantly pushed back the limits of the impossible. Today, the drive to make new discoveries must go on, with the aim of improving the quality of life on our planet.
These two Swiss pioneers are the driving force behind Solar Impulse : Bertrand Piccard with his avant-gardist vision and André Borschberg with his entrepreneurial and managerial experience. Their very different approaches complement each other for greater creativity.
« Solar Impulse was not built to carry passengers, but to convey messages. We do not plan to revolutionize the aviation industry but instead to demonstrate that the actual alternative energy sources and new technologies can achieve what some consider impossible. »
Linking science with adventure to promote clean technologies, he develops the project’s philosophy and outlines its symbolic and political reach.Learn more
His managerial experience, passion for aviation and interest in innovative solutions have led him to manage the project and head the technical team.Learn more
Solar Impulse descends directly from a long tradition of exploration, adventure and scientific development. Never before has one family had such an impact on the world of exploration as Auguste, Jacques and Bertrand Piccard.
In this dynasty, one has been inventing and exploring for three generations: the pressurized capsule and the first flight in the stratosphere, the bathyscaphe and the absolute deep-sea diving record, the first non-stop, round-the-world, balloon flight.
« The question now is not so much whether humans can go even further afield and populate other planets, but rather how to organize things so that life on Earth becomes more worthy of living. »
Auguste Piccard, 1931
Physicist, explorer of the stratosphere, first man to see the curvature of the earth, he paved the way for modern aviation.Learn more
A worthy successor to Captain Nemo, the deepest man in the world, a pioneer of ecology committed to the protection of oceans.Learn more
Explorer with a philosophical vision, he seeks to promote pioneering spirit and innovation to tackle the great challenges of our time.Learn more
Bertrand Piccard’s vision, coupled with André Borschberg’s managerial experience and the skills of a multi-disciplinary team have enabled an idea to be transformed into reality that no aviation specialists, apart from Dassault, believed in: “Too big, too light and impossible to control in flight”, they all said.
« If an airplane has succeeded to fly day and night without fuel, then we can power our world on clean energy. »