All you need to know about Solar Impulse 2

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 19 Maret 2015 | 08.20


What is Solar Impulse 2?

The first attempt to fly a plane round the world using only solar power. It's not a non-stop flight, the plane stops in different countries.


How big and how heavy is Solar Impulse?

The aircraft is as wide as an Airbus A380. It weighs as light as a family car at 2,300kg.


How fast can it steer?

It ranges between 50-160kmph, faster during days and slower at night to prevent batteries from draining quickly.


How high can it fly?

Solar Impulse 2 flies at 27,800 feet during the day, 5,000 feet at night.


How long is one pilot in the air?

Maximum time one pilot will spend in air at a stretch is five days. This is how long the plane will take to cross the Atlantic.


How were pilots trained?

Both pilots went through intensive training, including in yoga and self-hypnosis.


Who flies the plane?

Pilots — Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg — both Swiss, take turns. One pilot flies one leg, the other meets the flight at the next stop and takes over controls.


How do the pilots live in the cockpit, go to the toilet?

They eat, sleep, drink and even go to the toilet in the cramped cockpit. Short naps are possible in reclining pilot's chair. A flap in the seat opens, making the chair double as a toilet seat.


Can the pilots sleep?

Only short naps when the plane is stable. Goggles with flashing lights help pilots wake up when sleep time is over. In emergencies, seat starts vibrating.


Is the cabin heated?

The cabin isn't pressurized. Outside temperatures can reach -40°C, however, the insulated cabin can retain some warmth.


Can the aircraft fly on autopilot?

It has an electronic co-pilot, which can help the aircraft hold course, but this isn't anything like an autopilot modern jets are equipped with. It can be used in short spells when a pilot is resting.


Where's the mission control?

The mission control is located in Monaco where weathermen, air traffic controllers and engineers are stationed. 65 ground staff travel with the pilots.


How long will the journey take?

Roughly five months. It will fly over 3 continents and 2 oceans, Total distance to be covered: 35,000km. Flight across Atlantic will be difficult, and the conditions will have to be absolutely right


What happens if something goes wrong while crossing the ocean?

The pilot would bail out and use ocean survival gear to stay alive until rescue arrives.


How many solar cells power the craft?

More than 17,000 built into wings that at 236ft are longer than on a Boeing 747 and approaching those of a Airbus A380.


What is the plane made of?

It is made of lightweight carbon fibre.


Can it fly in day and night?

It can stay aloft several days and nights. The propellerdriven craft has four 17.5-hp motors with rechargeable lithium batteries.

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