The single-seater solar aircraft has a huge wingspan of
72 meters (236 ft) for its weight of just 2,300 Kg
(5’000 lbs.), producing an aerodynamic performance and
energy efficiency greater than anything to date. There
is a 3.8 m3 cockpit, every detail of which has been
designed for a pilot to live there for a week. However,
for the sake of maximum energy efficiency, the cabin is
not pressurized or heated – a further endurance
challenge for the pilot.
Test flights are due to take place in May, followed by
training flights over Switzerland.
The attempt to make the first round-the-world
solar-powered flight is scheduled to start in March 2015
from Gulf area. Solar Impulse will fly, in order, over
the Arabian Sea, India, Burma, China, the Pacific Ocean,
the United States, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern
Europe or North Africa before closing the loop by
returning to the departure point. Landings will be made
every few days to change pilots and organize public
events for governments, schools and universities.