Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Solar Energy News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Solar plane completes first-ever Atlantic flight
By Cristina QUICLER
Seville, Spain (AFP) June 23, 2016

Pilot Piccard says solar flight is dream come true
Madrid (AFP) June 23, 2016 - Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, 58, has just realised his dream of crossing the Atlantic ocean solo aboard the Solar Impulse 2 plane, with the Sun as his only source of power.

He speaks to AFP about this "magical moment", his hero Charles Lindbergh and the creation of an international clean energy lobby group.

Q: Tell us about this 71-hour journey

R: It wasn't an easy flight. You had to navigate your way between clouds, go above clouds, withstand turbulence, it was quite a tactical flight. There were moments where you had to really pilot (the plane), and moments when I could let go and realise it was actually happening.

Whenever possible, I would look out, everything calm and tranquil, and I just tried to soak in this magical experience -- when you fly without any noise or fuel, it's magic.

During the flight, I slept very, very little. But it's so amazing: you have the whole ocean around you, the whole sky, in the middle of nature, you fly with the force of nature, you fly with the sun. It's extraordinary harmony. I wanted to make the most of every moment.

Q: Do you feel like you're writing history?

R: "It's a flight I've been awaiting for 17 years. Seventeen years ago, I had this vision of a solar plane that would fly day and night, that would go round the world, that would cross oceans. When that happens, it's a magical moment.

I thought of Lindbergh (first man to fly solo across the Atlantic) because I met him when I was 11, we were both at the Apollo 12 take-off, and for me Lindbergh is one of these heroes who did what no one thought was possible.

I want to use this flight to pave the way for clean technology, for renewable energy. Because these clean technologies exist now, they're possible, you can cut by half the world's energy consumption thanks to clean technologies.

People in government, in companies lack this pioneering spirit that would allow these technologies to be used daily.

Q: So what next?

R: We should have two more stops (on Solar Impulse 2's round-the-world trip), one that Andre Borschberg (who rotates with Piccard to fly the plane) will do to Egypt, and the last one, that I will do if all goes well at the beginning of July to Abu Dhabi.

That will be the moment to use everything we did, all we have accomplished to this date to really push for clean technologies.

Where commercial aviation is concerned, being powered by the sun is still far away. For the moment, only one person can be on board. But all these technologies can be applied to 97 percent of energy consumed on the ground.

It's not our lifestyle that pollutes so much as the old technologies that we're still using.

Two years ago, I created Future is Clean, which groups together 420 associations. We have influential sponsors: Prince Albert I of Monaco, Richard Branson, Al Gore. But now we want to go further.

I announced with Andre the creation of an International Committee of Clean Technologies, because what is lacking right now is a neutral international organisation that knows what it's talking about and that can advise governments and companies.

Everything (now) is fragmented, with small associations that have a lot of goodwill but no means, and what I would like to do is gather them together to forge a common route and be a credible intermediary for all those who need to know how to use these technologies.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Spain Thursday after completing a 71-hour flight from New York in the first "magical" solo transatlantic crossing in a solar-powered airplane.

Applause broke out as the experimental plane set down at Seville airport in southern Spain just before 7:40 am (0540 GMT) where a team was on the ground to welcome Swiss pilot and adventurer Bertrand Piccard.

"It is so fantastic!", Piccard told the plane's mission control centre in Monaco in remarks broadcast online as the plane, which took off from New York on Monday, touched down.

Exhilarated, the 58-year-old told AFP he had thought a lot about aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, during the 6,765-kilometre (4,200-mile) flight.

"I met him when I was 11, we were both at the Apollo 12 take-off, and for me Lindbergh is one of these heroes who did what no one thought was possible," Piccard said by phone.

With the success of this challenging crossing, Solar Impulse has completed the 15th leg of a round-the-world trip aimed at promoting clean, renewable energy.

It set out on March 9, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, and has flown across Asia and the Pacific to the United States with the sun as its only source of power -- able to fly through the night with energy stored in its 17,000 photovoltaic cells.

- 'Magical experience' -

The voyage marks the first solo transatlantic crossing of a plane with only solar power -- a trip close to Piccard's heart as he had crossed that same ocean in 1999 on the first non-stop air balloon circumnavigation of the globe without fuel.

"Good morning Seville! Do you have a lot of direct flights from NYC?" he tweeted with a wink shortly before coming in to land, when he was treated to a surprise acrobatic display put on by the Spanish air force.

Piccard got little sleep during the near three-day journey, surviving on short catnaps.

He experienced what he described as "a long night of turbulence" but was also treated to sightings of whales and icebergs, and even spotted a commercial plane flying past him.

"I just tried to soak in this magical experience -- when you fly without any noise or fuel, it's magic," he said.

Piccard said he had been guided by a group of engineers and meteorologists who had enabled him to face challenges and pass through clouds as if "through the eye of a needle."

Solar Impulse is being flown on its 35,400-kilometre trip round the world in stages, with Piccard and his Swiss compatriot Andre Borschberg taking turns at the controls of the single-seat plane.

Borschberg piloted a 8,924-kilometre flight between Japan and Hawaii that lasted 118 hours, smashing the previous record for the longest uninterrupted journey in aviation history.

After the Atlantic crossing, Borschberg is due to fly to Egypt, and Piccard will make the final journey back to Abu Dhabi in early July.

- Like sci-fi -

No heavier than a car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, Solar Impulse typically travels at a mere 48 kilometres per hour (36 miles per hour), although its flight speed can double when exposed to full sunlight.

Borschberg and Piccard say they want to raise awareness of renewable energy sources and technologies with their project.

"When you fly in a plane like this, you have the impression of being in a science fiction story," Piccard said.

"You look at the sun above you, and then you realise that the sun is providing the necessary energy to run the four electric engines and charge the batteries, spend the night flying and continue the next day.

"At the same time it's not science fiction, it's the present, it's today," he added.

"When you see what can be done with this clean energy, you think 'why is it not used more everywhere'?"

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
All About Solar Energy at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Imec demonstrates bifacial solar cells with near 100% bifaciality
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jun 23, 2016
Imec, the world-leading nano-electronics research center and partner in Energyville, will present at this week's Intersolar Europe/EU PVSEC a highly efficient bifacial n-PERT (BiPERT) solar cell featuring a bifaciality value close to 100%. With arear cell efficiency close to the efficiency measured from the front of the cell, imec's new achievement underscores the ability to strongly enhance the ... read more

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel

Bioenergy integrated in the bio-based economy crucial to meet climate targets

New 3-D printed polymer can convert methane to methanol

Chemicals from wood waste

How insights into human learning can foster smarter artificial intelligence

Computers eyeing the jobs of sports camera operators

First teams named for shot at Level 2 Sample Return Robot Challenge

China's Midea begins takeover bid for German robotics firm

How China can ramp up wind power

Scotland investing more in offshore wind

Gamesa, Siemens join forces to create global wind power leader

Renewables getting cheaper, report finds

German prosecutors open probe into VW ex-boss

Electric vehicles just starting to make a splash

Volkswagen places question mark over future of diesel technology

US authorities extend deadline for VW in 'dieselgate' scandal

Loofah-based material could give lithium batteries a boost

Stanford researchers find new ways to make clean hydrogen and rechargable zinc batteries

Efficient hydrogen production made easy

Storage technologies for renewable energy can pay off

California nuclear power coming to an end

Launch of Arktika Ship Shows Russia's Ability to Churn Out Icebreakers

Southern Research launches 'Gen IV' nuclear power effort with key hire

Proposed bilateral deal allows US to share nuclear reactors with Norway

Norway MPs vote to go carbon neutral by 2030

Algorithm could help detect and reduce power grid faults

It pays to increase energy consumption

Changing the world, 1 fridge at a time

Scores of environmental activists murdered in 2015: report

EU at loggerheads with Poland over World Heritage forest

Honduras protest demands international probe into activist's murder

European droughts hit British trees the hardest

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement