Swiss pilots and inventors Bertrand Piccard (you may remember him – he broke a record by completing a non stop balloon flight around the world) recenlty made history by flying Solar Impulse day and night cross the USA exclusively with solar power!
I had the opportunity to see this remarkable piece of engineering at JFK airport, and speak to some of the engineers. Solar Impulse used over 12,000 mono crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and 4 large lithium polymer batteries (combined weighted more than ¼ of the total mass of the plane). They broke the following world records!
- Absolute height: 9235 m (30300 ft)
- Height gain: 8744 m (28690 ft)
- Duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
- Free Distance along a course: 1116 km (693.5 miles)
- Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints: 1099.3 km (683 miles)