Two Swiss pilots will pilot the plane; Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will take turns flying the one-man aircraft across the world. The duration of the trip will be about 25 days worth of flying over the span of several months.
“After crossing the U.S. and completing an overnight flight, the aviators are now training to withstand flying non-stop for five days and nights to prepare for ocean crossings stuffed in a tiny cabin traveling as high as 27,000 feet at about 45 miles per hour. Corporate sponsors including Swiss watchmaker Omega and Schindler Holding AG are hoping the $160 million project will give a lift to renewable energies and power conservation in industry. Schindler is developing solar-powered elevators” (renewableenergyworld.com).
The successful completion of this flight will symbolize a bright future for the travel industry. The revolutionary design of this plane serves to potentially alter the image of air travel for the foreseeable future as a self-sustainable, clean form of transportation. Although this is not their primary intention, it opens doors for future innovation.
“’Today in our world, half of the energy we use is wasted because of old technologies, old engines, old light bulbs, badly insulated houses, badly run electrical heaters and things like that,” Piccard, 56, said. “What Solar Impulse shows is that solutions exist, they can be profitable and create jobs. That’s how you can motivate people. Suddenly you have companies who say there’s business to do.’”(renewableenergyworld.com).
The paramount focus of this project is to showcase the potential of clean energy and restore the general public’s faith in alternative energy sources. The next step is to find a way to make the pilot as sustainable as the plane itself.