Improving the world : 100% solar-powered aircraft unveiled


Betrand Piccard and André Borschberg together launched the Solar Impulse Project in 2003, with the objective of constructing aircraft designed to run with renewable energy from the sun. After a lot of hard work, they were finally able to unveil their first working model last June 26.

Dubbed the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, the new aircraft is powered entirely by solar energy. It has a wingspan equivalent to a Boeing 747‘s completely laden with solar cells, but it comes weighing in at approximately the same weight as an automobile. The 12,000 solar panels running along the wings can generate 10HP of electricity: enough to power the aircrafts four rotors.

The HB-SIA is planned to make its first flights at the end of this year, and nighttime flights are also slated for 2010. Data from the HB-SIA’s flights will be used to design an improved version, currently dubbed the HB-SIB.