Solar Impulse Solar Aircraft
While Major Aircraft makers are pushing themselves to produce more energy efficient aircraft, One environmentalist takes the ultimate leap and has designed and aircraft that uses NO energy. The Solar Impulse is the brain child of, the Swiss environmentalist, Bertrand Piccard who initally started the project in 2003.
The Solar Impulse experimental aircraft has a wing span of 200 feet and is covered in 12,000 photovoltaic solar cells which using energy from the sun completely power the aircrafts four electric propellers . With a top airspeed of around 70 kilometers per hour around the world ios going to take some time. Flying nonstop is possible, the aircraft could circumnavigate the globe without landing, but the pilots would have long worn out and have run out of sandwiches.
Flight testing will beging in 2010 which will include night flying using energy stored in batteries. Followed by a world tour in 2012.
Piccards previous world tour was in 1999 in which he circumnavigated the world in a balloon.