Piccard's Record Attempt in the Second Leg of the Around the World in a Solar Aircraft Mission
Bertrand Piccard took off this morning at 6:35 UTC+4 from Muscat, Oman, onboard Solar Impulse 2. Before starting his journey to Ahmedabad, India, he revealed that he would attempt to break the FAI world record of Distance in the Experimental / New Technologies, Solar-Powered Aeroplane category.
He would thus break the record established by Solar Impulse's co-founder André Borschberg in 2013, during the Across America Mission leg from Phoenix to Dallas. Over the years the FAI has ratified a series of Solar Impulse world records, all broken by Borschberg. This record would thus be the first claimed by Piccard in command of the zero-fueled airplane (see list of records below).
Piccard is now flying the new version of the aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, which was presented to the public last year. It is wider and more resistant than the previous prototype Solar Impulse HB-SIA.
The Around the World in a Solar Airplane Mission started yesterday, when Borschberg successfully flew from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Muscat, Oman. On their journey, Piccard and Borschberg will alternatively pilot Solar Impulse. The two aviators have agreed that while Borschberg would be the pilot of the first flight, Piccard would fly the final leg back to Abu Dhabi.
The FAI wishes them good luck on their fantastic journey !
Solar Impulse 2
The single-seater solar aircraft has a wingspan of 72 meters for its weight of just 2,300 Kg , producing an exceptional aerodynamic performance and energy efficiency. There is a 3.8 m3 cockpit, every detail of which has been designed for a pilot to live there for a week. However, for the sake of maximum energy efficiency, the cabin is not pressurized or heated – a further endurance challenge for the pilot.
- Batteries energy density: 4 x 260 Wh/kg
- Airplane Weight: 2,3 tons
- Wingspan: 72 meter (236')
- Solar Cells Thickness: 135 micron
- Solar Cells: > 17,000
- Cockpit Size: 3.8 m3
Solar Impulse world records
Since 2010, the FAI ratified 8 world records achieved by André Borschberg onboard Solar Impulse: in 2010, he broke 3 records with a flight from Payerne, Switzerland; in 2012, 2 records were ratified following a flight from Payerne to Madrid; in 2013, 3 more records were broken during the Phoenix (Arizona) to Dallas (Texas) leg of the Across America Mission.
|SUB-CLASS||TYPE OF RECORD||PERFORMANCE||DATE||CLAIMANT||STATUS||ID|
|CS||Absolute altitude||9235 m||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16042|
|CS||Duration||26 h 10 m 19 s||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16044|
|CS||Gain of height||8744 m||2010-07-08||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16043|
|CS||Free Distance along a course||1116 km||2012-05-25||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16560|
|CS||Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints||1099.3 km||2012-05-25||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - superseded since approved||16558|
|CS||Distance along a course, pre-declared waypoints||1487.6 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16816|
|CS||Free Distance||1506.5 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16817|
|CS||Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints||1386.5 km||2013-05-23||André Borschberg (SUI)||ratified - current record||16815|
(photo credit: Solar Impulse)