I’ve been following Solar Impulse since the first plane was unveiled in 2009, and I’m still really excited about it!
The completely solar-powered plane made history as the first solar aircraft to fly through the night in 2010. That was also the plane that flew across the continental United States in 2013. Engineers back at the base in Payerne, Switzerland, then fine-tuned the aircraft.
The current plane, presented in 2014 and dubbed Si2, is larger and more powerful than its predecessor. In March 2015, it kicked off its quest to fly around the world in several stages – a journey of about 40,000 kilometers with stops in 12 destinations.
However, poor weather pulled the adventure behind schedule, and overheated batteries forced the Solar Impulse team to postpone the project in July 2015. After several months of hibernation in a Hawaiian air hangar, Solar Impulse is now ready to resume its record-breaking attempt at a round-the-world tour.
For a quick catch-up, read my Si2 fast facts story. It covers what it is, how it works, and other pressing questions, like how the pilots go to the bathroom!
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) April 15, 2016
Also at SWI swissinfo.ch, I’ve been coordinating a special dossier, Soaring with Solar Impulse, which follows the plane’s progress. Stop by for the latest news and analysis, and let me know if there’s an angle you think we should cover.