Solar Impulse Back to "Earth"
4:52 PM on Feb 24, 2012
Solar Impulse is claiming success in its simulated 72-hour flight, intended as a precusor to a solar-powered round-the-world attempt in 2014. Pilot Andre Borschberg says the simulation proved that flying singled-handedly for several days in a row is viable.
Photos: Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse says: During the simulation André Borschberg tested two rest strategies corresponding to the two types of flight the pilots will undertake during the round-the-world trip. Firstly, relaxation techniques used during short flights (24 to 36 hours) over inhabited zones, where sleep is not an option. Secondly, micro-sleep phases of 15 to 20 mins permitted only when overflying oceans. Over the 72-hour period André Borschberg slept 32 times 20 minutes in a seat specially developed by the Swiss company Lantal.
While construction of the round-the-world aircraft gets under way the first prototypes will conduct flights over the Mediterranean this spring. region have already been scheduled with the existing prototype. The flights will be longer in both distance and duration, Solar Impusle says, with the two pilots for the first time relaying each other at each stage.