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10 things you must know about Solar Impulse 2

10 things you must know about Solar Impulse 2

1. Flying Capacity : Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel. Solar Impulse 2 will climb to 8,500 meters (5.28 miles) during the day, where it can reach its maximum speed and store more solar energy for the night. As dusk arrives, the plane will descend to an altitude of 1,500 meters (0.9 miles) where its speed slows and it’s easier to remain aloft.

2. Size : This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I) for a weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.

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Structure : build the entire structure proportionately 10 times lighter than that of the best glider. Every gram added had to be deducted somewhere else, to make room for enough batteries on board, and provide a cockpit in which a pilot can live for a week. In the end, it is of the weight of a small van: 2’300kg!

3. Battery : The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy.During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy

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4. Motors : Four brushless, sensorless motors, each generating 17.4 hp (13.5 k), mounted below the wings, and fitted with a reduction gear limiting the rotation speed of a 4 m diameter, two-bladed propeller to 525 rev / min. The entire system is 94% efficient, setting a record for energy efficiency

5. Speed : Solar Impulse can fly at the same speed than a car, between 36 km/h (20 Kts) and 140 km/h (77 Kts).

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(At sea level: minimum speed of 45 km/h (20 Kts) and maximum speed of 90 km/h (49 Kts). At maximum altitude: from 57 km/h (31,5 Kts) to 140 km/h (77 Kts).)

6. Robustness :

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The upper wing surface is covered by a skin consisting of encapsulated solar cells, and the lower surface by a high-strength, flexible skin. 140 carbon-fiber ribs spaced at 50 cm intervals give the wing its aerodynamic cross-section, and also maintain its rigidity.

7. Simulation Training :

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long-duration round-the-world flights by training them on virtual missions in the flight simulator. The idea is to test their ability to endure three days and nights alone in a cockpit of less than 9ft x 5ft x 3ft at an altitude between 3,000ft and 27,000ft. André Borschberg came through the first 72-hour simulation in 2012 with flying colors.

8.World Record 

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Solar Impulse with Bertrand Piccard, broke the world records of distance and duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (117 hours and 52 minutes — around 7,200 km, 4,474 miles).

  • Flight time: 117:52 hours\
  • Maximum altitude: 8,634 m (28,000 ft)
  • Average speed: 61.19 km/h, 38 mi/hr
  • Flight plan distance: 7,212 km, 4,481 mi

9. Solar Impulse 2 Project Plan: 

  • 12 years of feasibility study, concept, design and construction
  • 50 engineers and technicians
  • 80 technological partners
  • more than 100 advisers and suppliers
  • 1 prototype (Solar Impulse 1, registered as HB-SIA)
  • 1 final airplane
    (Solar Impulse 2, registered as HB-SIB)

10. Pilot food & Exercise: 

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The pilot’s daily intake is 2.4 kg (5.2 lbs) of food, 2.5 liter (84.5 oz, 0.66 US gallon, almost 3 US quarts) of water, and 1 liter (33.8 oz, 0.26 US gallon, 1 US quart) of sports drink per day. His meals include a breakfast, a lunch prepared to be as similar as possible to homemade meals, and snacks including dried fruits and chocolate.During a typical 24-hour flight cycle, the pilot rests 8 times, averaging between 5 and 20 minutes per session. Borschberg also performed yoga 30 to 45 minutes a day to stay fit and prevent any potential negative effects of immobility.

You wanna like to meet the Si2 team?  click here  

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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