Solar Impulse 2 completes maiden voyage

3 Jun 2014

The Solar Impulse 2 making its maiden voyage from its base in Switzerland.

Solar Impulse 2 is one step away from making the first circumnavigation of the globe in an entirely solar-powered aircraft after it completed its first test flight.

In preparation for the major journey, the craft was able to reach a height of 6,000ft and flew for a total of two hours and 17 minutes before making a perfect landing on a near-by runway.

If it is to make its round-the-world trip however, it will take at least 20 days as it travels at the relatively slow speed of 120km/h.

With this test flight, the team behind the aircraft have now received approval to attempt the huge challenge thanks to the efforts of test pilot Markus Scherdel who will be handing over the reins to the two pilots who are due to take on the main challenge, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

In their statement on the first flight of Solar Impulse 2, the teams aid:” Today, Solar Impulse 2 has achieved its maiden flight. It is a great moment for everyone who has built this revolutionary solar airplane. #Si2 will achieve a full test program this summer over Switzerland.”

The plane itself is covered in 17,248 solar cells that will make it the first of its kind to attempt such a mammoth journey and hope that their work will inspire future developments of cleaner, solar air transportation.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic