So the Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Ahmedabad. :)
You must’ve heard by now about Piccard and Borschberg, the two Swiss pioneers who have challenged themselves to fly around the world in a solar-powered airplane using absolutely NO conventional fuel! Their craft, the Solar Impulse 2, has started breaking records from its very first (successful) flight. The plane took off from Muscat, Oman on Tuesday and when it landed at Ahmedabad, India after 13 hours and 20 minutes, it had already created a world record for the longest ever distance for a solar plane going point-to-point. The SI2 will stop over at 12 cities on its 35,000-km journey round the globe.
The project aims to send a strong message on switching to clean technologies. Which is why the plane – powered entirely by solar cells – is built to be energy efficient in every possible way, pushing the limits of innovation. Designed like a light-weight glider, the wingspan of SI2 is only slightly less than that of the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger liner, but in contrast weighs only 2.3 tonnes – more than 200 times lighter than the A380! The craft itself is a one-seater with a built-in toilet. The in-flight food would be “dehydrated and vacuum-packaged” (which just about describes ‘regular’ in-flight food, as well!).
Piccard, by the way, has sense of adventure handed down to him as legacy. His ancestor Auguste – considered to be the inspiration for Tintin’s Professor Calculus! – invented the high-altitude balloon and was the first human to reach the stratosphere. He also designed the submersible Trieste, which his son guided to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the lowest point in the ocean. What an incredible family, phew!
Although the craft would fly for a total of 25 days, this RTW journey would take some five months since the pioneering aviators would spend several days interacting with media, lawmakers, NGOs and students along the way. You can track all the flight stats (including live tracking and the pilots’ sleep times!) on Solar Impulse’s website: http://www.solarimpulse.com/widget-energy
Amazing as this mission is, it’s fraught with challenges for what it attempts to do. Would I wish to be in the pilot’s seat, guiding this incredible project? I’m having difficulty coughing up a yes to that!
But here’s wishing them abundant sunny days on their pathbreaking adventure! :) May there always be such crazy souls who give the world new adventures to look up to!