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Solar Impulse aircraft becomes high-altitude drone

A flight around the globe on an airplane that did not spent a single drop of fuel, can become a reason good enough to rest on its laurels for some time.

ʺIt will be a drone version of the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft. During our around-the-world flight, we demonstrated, tested and improved a number of environmentally sound technologies. And now, it is time to put them into practice,ʺ the engineer and pilot Andre Borschberg said at the press conference held in Geneva recently.

We remind our readers that Andre Borshberg and his partner Bertran Piccard, alternating, circumaviated the Earth covering 43 thousand kilometers and flying over four continents, two oceans and three seas during 17 stages. ʺDuring this flight, despite some difficulties encountered, the Solar Impulse aircraft has done what other types of planes are not capable of. Our greatest achievement is that we demonstrate that clean energy has a number of advantages over the energy obtained from combustion of conventional fuels,ʺ Andre Borshberg said.

The new unmanned variant of Solar Impulse aircraft is significantly different from its manned predecessors. It will be able to fly for a long time, for months, at altitude of 20 kilometers, where solar panels of the aircraft can produce more energy and it is not affected by adverse weather conditions.

The range of tasks, which the high-altitude version of the Solar Impulse aircraft can complete, is extremely broad. It will be able to carry communication equipment on board, which will provide Internet coverage in hard-to-reach regions, observation equipment, which will allow collecting scientific data, ranging from meteorological data to data of intensity and composition of cosmic rays’ stream.

In addition to the work on the unmanned Solar Impulse aircraft, Andre Borshberg and Bertran Piccard are planning to establish another organization, which they hope to lead. This organization, a kind of technological union, will be engaged in development and demonstration of environmentally friendly energy technologies with high efficiency and attractiveness for potential investors.


  • November 16, 2016 4:52 PM MSK