Record-setting flights have garnered a lot of attention in the relatively short history of aviation, such as Charles Lindbergh’s solo non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean in 1927; Chuck Yeager’s successful attempt to break the sound barrier in 1947; and Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager’s non-stop flight around the world without refueling in 1986.
Now, a team of Swiss engineers seeks to push the envelope even further with a non-stop flight around the world in an experimental solar-powered aircraft. Solar Impulse has demonstrated the feasibility of an aircraft design that can harness the power of the sun and fly, day or night, over long distances. The next step, however, is to fly around the world without any supplementary fuel– a mission that Solar Impulse is putting in the capable hands of record-setting explorer and balloonist Bertrand Piccard.
Solar Impulse CEO and co-founder André Borschberg appeared on stage with Piccard at a recent swissnex San Francisco event to discuss the preparations and implications of this historic flight.