Solar Impulse II has made quite the impression on me. For those that are not familiar with Solar Impulse it is an amazing solar powered aircraft, using cutting edge technologies on a mission to fly around the world strictly on solar power. The recent leg from Nagoya Japan to Honolulu Hawaii shattered all sorts of aviation records.
Pilot: André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-Founder and CEO Flew 117:52 hours at an Maximum altitude: of 28,000ft in a un-pressurized cabin averaging 61.19 km/h for a total distance 4481 miles to shatter every Aviation endurance record. With a 236ft wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747) weighing just 5070 pounds, equivalent to that of a car. The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries totaling 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night with a flight profile that allows them to glide for several hours at night down to a cruising attitude 6-10k then climb and charge during the day to 28,000 feet.
This past Wednesday I tagged along with Omega one of the four main solar impulse partners as they brought some of their guest and local partners in to get a close up view. Two Solar Impulse team members answered questions and talked about the mission of solar impulse. “Solar Impulse’s bold mission of building a solar plane was created to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world and to encourage people to save energy and promote the use of clean technologies globally”.
I talked with the Local Omega Boutique team and they where excited to share their part in this historic journey. While being the official time keeper of the mission, Omega has also contributed technology that is in the cockpit, components on the motor pylons, and even safety equipment built into the pilots flight suit. In commemoration Omega introduced the new Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition European Space Agency qualified timepiece. The Speedmaster line has always been popular with aviators.
Two of Omega’s guest where Active Duty US Navy Pilots, they marveled at what André was able to accomplish both sporting Omega Speedmaster timepieces. I commend Omega for reaching out to their customers, and to local businesses inviting them to see Solar Impulse as we all need to become more aware of the power of renewable energy.
Personally I am working very hard towards being energy neutral with 36 solar panels on my home’s roof that held reduce the carbon emissions that my local oil driven power plant produce with the added advantage of not having an electricity bill any longer.
Solar impulse will be flying from Honolulu to Phoenix on its next leg. I encourage you to visit SolarImpulse.com and read the whole story behind this remarkable aircraft.