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About the Solar Impulse project

Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and driving forces behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft to be able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel – propelled solely by the sun’s energy. With the Si2 aircraft, an idea born in Switzerland, they completed the first Round-the-World (RTW) solar flight without a drop of fuel. This historic first aimed to demonstrate that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.

The pilots

Bertrand Piccard, doctor, psychiatrist and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop, around-the-world balloon flight, is Solar Impulse's initiator and chairman. André Borschberg – an engineer, graduate in management science, fighter pilot and professional airplane and helicopter pilot – is the co-founder and CEO.

The plane - Solar Impulse 2 (Si2)

Conceived over ten years of calculation, simulation, construction and testing, Solar Impulse 2 demonstrates the enormous potential of new technologies for energy savings and renewable energy production. The airplane, the HB-SIB, was engineered by a multi-disciplinary team of more than 80 specialists, 90 partners and nearly 100 advisors.

Solar Impulse 2 is a solar airplane with a gigantic wingspan. It's a real airborne technology lab with virtually endless endurance, capable of crossing oceans and continents by remaining in the air for several days and nights in a row.

Key facts about Si2

Ten years worth of calculations, simulation, building and testing a first prototype before the final aircraft was launched

The largest aircraft ever built with such a low weight. However, its load factor is the same as that for an airliner

  • Wingspan of 72 m (236 ft.) – wider than that of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet – to minimize induced drag and provide a maximum surface area for solar cells
  • Weight of a car – 2300 kg (5070 lbs.)– to minimise the energy required to fly
  • Maximum power of 70 hp (four 17.5 hp engines)
  • Average 24-hour power of a small motorbike – 15 hp – following optimization to the fullest extent of the entire energy chain
  • 17,248 solar cells
  • Max. cruising altitude 8500 m (28,000 ft.)
  • Minimum speed of 36 km / h (20 kts) at sea level and 57 km / h (31.5 kts) at maximum altitude
  • Maximum speed of 90 km / h (49 kts) at sea level and 140 km / h (77 kts) at maximum altitude

The route

The Si2 Round-the-World flight took-off from Abu Dhabi (UAE) in early March 2015. The route included stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China, as well as Nagoya, Japan. After crossing the Pacific Ocean in July 2015 2015, Solar Impulse reached Hawaii. The Pacific crossing was the longest and most difficult leg of the Round-the-World Solar Flight - 117 hours and 52 minutes over the ocean from Japan powered only by the sun.

The Round-the-World mission resumed in early April 2016 from Kalaeloa, Hawaii across the USA. stopping in Phoenix, the Midwest, and New York City at JFK. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the final legs included stopovers in Seville, Spain and Cairo, Egypt, before completing the mission at its final destination in Abu Dhabi in July 2016.

By writing new pages of aviation history using solar energy Solar Impulse demonstrated the enormous potential of clean technologies for energy saving and renewable energy production.

For more information about Solar Impulse visit www.solarimpulse.com

Patrick Reichenmiller

Solar Impulse

Flight For the Future: Pioneers in Risk – around the world with Solar Impulse on YouTube

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