he team who created the ‘Solar Impulse Project’ – a journey to take to the air around the world in a plane powered solely by the sun – has uncovered the high-tech aircraft in which the flyers will set out on their venture.
Its forerunner, ‘Solar Impulse 1’, has previously winged its way throughout America, and deposited enough power to fly all night!
Solar Impulse 2 measures its wingspan at 72m (236ft) and is the width of a ‘boeing 747’, yet it weighs the same as a large car.
18,000 solar cells (as thin as human hair) shield the plane’s wings, which then transform’s sunlight into electricity to power its engine and to store in its batteries.
André Borschberg, one of the pilots for the new aircraft described Solar Impulse 2 as ‘a major step up compared to the first one’. And added: “The first airplane was a kind of flying laboratory, and the second airplane we’re launching now is an airplane designed to travel”.
“We needed a plane with a lot more energy reserves, capable to fly through clouds, which the first one can’t do,” Borschberg explained.
Solar Impulse 2
Most of the technology aboard as regards to the solar cells and carbon fibre structure is an advancement from the first Solar Impulse. The pilot is especially proud of the electric motors.
“We have electric motors now which have up to 94% efficiency, including the electronics, the gearbox and the motor itself, which is amazingly high.”
The attempt will take place next year by the Switzerland –based team! Good luck to them 🙂
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