After 5 years of hard work, Captain Bertrand Piccard – one who circumnavigate the world in a balloon in 1999 , and Borschberg have unveiled the Solar Impulse – a 100 % solar powered aircraft. This solar powered plane demonstrate the viability of the renewable energy source by being the first to perform a manned flight around the globe using only solar power.
In preparation last year, the solar impulse team conducted a virtual flight in it’s cockpit simulator known as the Virtual Flight 2008 , the cockpit simulator was wired with cam so people can watch the test live.
The wingspan of solar impulse aircraft for the initial prototype will be 60 meters and the wingspan for the final plane will be 80 meters, there will be considerable room for solar cells. The electric motors is being powered by 12 thousand photovoltaic cells providing 6KW of power in aircraft. Power collected from the solar cells and stored in the batteries will be used to drive 3.5-meter propellers.
The two initiator , Bertrand Piccard and Borschberg first landed their solar plane in China for the first time last year August, 2008.
Solar flight will cut down on the amount of air and noise pollution generated by airplane travel. Although this technology may not be commercially available for several years.