Solar Impulse 2 (SI2), hailed as a concentration of clean technologies – a genuine flying laboratory, is a single-seater aircraft made of carbon fibre that has a 72m wingspan (larger than a Boeing 747) for a weight of 2300kg (the equivalent of an empty family car).
It has been constructed using the innovative versatility that only plastics offer. Currently on a bid to circle the globe without fuel, SI2 has just completed an important milestone: the plane crossed the Atlantic Ocean from New York, landing in Spain on 23 June.
Thousands of photovoltaic solar cells mounted on the wings cover the 72m wingspan and powers the propellers while also charging a battery that provides power at night. Allowing the aircraft to fly without interruptions.
Photo: Jean Revillard
Furthermore, the cockpit shell is constructed out of lightweight plastic foam that only weighs 30 kg. Yet it is strong enough to protect the pilot from the extreme outside temperatures that range from minus 40 degrees Celsius at night and over plus 40 degrees during the daytime.
With the help of the latest plastic innovations, the aircraft was able to withstand the longest flight to date, spending 118 hours- an equivalent of 5 days in the air and covered almost 9,000 km.
For further information about the solar aircraft; take a look at www.solarimpulse.com