Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Solar Plane Pilot Plugs Renewable Energy

Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who in 1999 co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop, has again made aviation history. 

Alternating with his partner and compatriot, Andre Borschberg, he flew an airplane across the United States - in six stages from May 3 to July 6 - using only solar power

Their Solar Impulse HB-SIA, with a wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340 but weighing no more than an average car, is equipped with 11,628 photovoltaic cells that power four electric motors averaging 8 horsepower each. 

Piccard, 55, initiator and chairman of the Solar Impulse venture, said the aircraft's technical details were less important than its renewable-energy message. 

"We at Solar Impulse aim to be pioneers. We want to open doors; others can deal with marketability later. It's not passengers we want to transport, but a message: that the technology exists to live with clean energies, and create jobs as well."

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