Solar Impulse Arrives in Nanjing, China
The Solar powered plane known as Solar Impulse touched down in Nanjing yesterday completing the sixth leg of its round the world journey. This is the only airplane of perpetual endurance able to fly both day and night by using solar power to charge its batteries during the day. This pioneering round the world flight is a clear demonstration of how clean technologies can and will change the world.
Setting of on in March the plane has already completed over 7000kms of its round the world trip and is now getting ready for perhaps the hardest leg of all, a crossing of the Pacific Ocean.
With a Wingspan of 72 meters is wider than a Boeing 747 but at just 2.3 tonnes is a fraction of the weight. The reason for such a large wingspan is to accommodate the 17000 solar cells that power this plane. With 4 electric engines driving 4 meter long propellers it has an average speed of just 70 km/h.
Its furthest leg so far, from Muscat (Oman) to Ahmadabad (India) was some 1468km and took a little over 15 hours but crossing the pacific is considerably further and is likely to take the slow moving aircraft several days.
The pilots Bertrand Piccrd and Andre Borchberg are taking it in turns to fly the legs of this incredible journey and will be waiting for an ideal weather window before attempting the 8172 km flight from Nanjing to Hawaii. It’s estimated this could take around 120 hours and as Solar Impulse is a single person plane its will be a true feat of endurance for whichever pilot takes the controls.
To read more about their journey visit the Solar Impulse webpage and follow them on them groundbreaking adventure.