By the Numbers: The First Global Flight Without Fuel
On July 26, 2016, the Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) landed in Abu Dhabi, completing the first solar-powered flight around our globe. “This is not only a first in the history of aviation; it’s before all a first in the history of energy,” said Swiss innovator and pilot Bertrand Piccard while exiting the cockpit of SI2. “I’m sure that within 10 years we’ll see electric airplanes transporting 50 passengers on short- to medium-haul flights. But it’s not enough. The same clean technologies used on Solar Impulse could be implemented on the ground in our daily life to divide by two the CO2 emissions in a profitable way. Solar Impulse is only the beginning. Now take it further!” Here are a few facts about the first global flight without fuel.
Number of pilots: Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg took turns at the controls.
The weight in tons of the Solar Impulse 2, or about the equivalent of a family car.
Length in feet of the four propellers that are powered by four electric engines of 17.5hp each.
The number of months the journey took. An unfortunate overheating of the batteries over the Pacific Ocean – while new records in solo flights were being set – grounded the plane in Hawaii and forced a delay of months.
The number of legs in the global flight.
Height in feet of the craft.
Takeoff speed in miles.
Lowest cruising speed of the Solar Impulse 2.
Highest cruising speed.
Number of people in support team.
Length in feet of the craft.
Length of wingspan in feet.
Number of flight hours to make the trip, or the equivalent of 23 days.
The number of miles flown with André Borschberg in the cockpit when the record for the world’s longest solar-powered flight was set, both in distance and time (117 hours and 52 minutes). That duration – just short of five days – also set the record for the longest solo flight in any aircraft.
The amount of solar energy produced.
Number of solar panels in the wings.
Number of miles traveled in the 16-month journey.
Maximum altitude in feet.