Solar Impulse in New York City
A hanger at JFK airport in New York City is the temporary home of a remarkable solar powered aircraft. The Solar Impulse is on a round-the-world journey using only the power that it produces from the sun. In a city that never sleeps the Solar Impulse made its entrance in the wee small hours of the night on June 11th. A nighttime arrival is making a huge statement for a solar powered airplane.
The Inventors/Pilots: Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg envisioned and organized this monumental project in Switzerland. They created a cutting edge aircraft with a wingspan longer than a 747 at 236 feet and the weight of a passenger automobile. The wings and the carbon fiber/alveolate foam fuselage are covered with over 17,000 solar cells. The plane is powered with four electric motors that achieve 94% efficiency. Lithium batteries store electricity produced during the day to be used at night. The battery storage allowed the Solar Impulse to fly 5 continuous days and nights from Nagoya, Japan, to Kalaeloa, Hawaii.
The impressive design is matched by the extraordinary capabilities of the pilots. The temperature in the unheated unpressurized cockpit of this single seat aircraft range from –40°F to +95°F. On the multiday legs the pilots can only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Their journey started in March of 2015 in Abu Dhabi and went west to east through southern Asia and then on to the US. The next leg will be an multi-day flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
On Sunday June 12th we were given the privilege of access to see the plane. There were only a handful of crew in the hanger during our visit but we were able to meet Bertrand Piccard. One of the crew members, David Germann, spent an hour and a half with us showing us around the plane and answering our many questions. A few photographs of our visit.
We want to thank the Solar Impulse crew for their hospitality and this opportunity.
Please read more on the Solar Impulse website. http://www.solarimpulse.com/
David Germann’s web site. http://lapassiondesairs.ch/La_Passsion_des_Airs/La_Passion_des_Airs.html