Solar Impulse is on standby for its first international flight this week.
Brussels has been chosen as the destination for the first venture outside Swiss borders, which follows the solar powered aircraft’s maiden flight and first overnight flight last year and will mark another important step towards the goal of flying around the world in 2012.
“Now, here we are in the definitive phase: it’s no longer a question of tests, but the real thing,” said Solar Impulse Chairman and round-the-world balloonist Bertrand Piccard. “And the next flights will not be made in the “familiar cocoon” of Payerne aerodrome, but in the whole of Europe…”
The Solar-Impulse prototype aircraft (designated HB-SIA) will be piloted from Payerne to Europe’s 14th busiest airport in Brussels by CEO André Borschberg, who co-founded the project along with Piccard in order to show just how far renewable energies can take us.
“Flying an aircraft like Solar Impulse through European airspace to land at an international airport is an incredible challenge for all of us, and success depends on the support we receive from all the authorities concerned,” said André Borschberg.
Developed by a team of 70 people and 80 partners over seven years, HB-SIA is a very impressive feat of engineering and, as you might expect from a plane that flies on the power of the sun, quite a lesson on just how much you can achieve with only a small amount of energy.