Without a spar, what’s next?

On 5 July 2012, the Solar Impulse engineers were on the verge of rejoicing for an accomplished mission until, unexpectedly, silence filled the room and the open-eyed experts froze. The mood switched from surprise to dismay as HB-SIB’s wing spar cracked and the final structural test failed.

Pushing the limits is no easy task and it’s clear that the failing of the spar will lead to a partial rebuilding of it consequently causing a construction delay. It’s the first time a final structural test has failed in the history of the project and even though it’s hard to accept, it’s an extremely valuable learning experience. The Solar Impulse team of engineers is already hard at work to ensure the new spar passes its future tests summa cum laude.

What has emerged from this situation is that the flight around the world, scheduled for 2014, was an extremely ambitious deadline and that 2015 is more realistic. Moreover, it has made room for some stimulating brainstorming sessions within the team not only on how to use the time gained to improve the reliability of the aircraft but also to further emphasize the project’s message and value.  

As soon as the final tests and analyses are completed on the causes of the failure, they will be communicated via Solar Impulse’s website. 

On 5 July 2012, the Solar Impulse engineers were on the verge of rejoicing for an accomplished mission until, unexpectedly, silence filled the room and the open-eyed experts froze. The mood switched from surprise to dismay as HB-SIB’s wing spar ...



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