Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – the iconic and zero-fuel airplane with which our pilots Bertrand and André recently flew around the world taking turns at the controls – was shipped back from the UAE to Switzerland today. Together, they covered over more than 40’000km in 17 legs and 15 months, and crossed Asia, the Pacific, the USA, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Middle East powered only by the energy of the sun.
Now Si2 is finally back to its origins, where the idea began and the adventure of perpetual endurance started 13 years ago. Many fervent supporters were present to witness the arrival of the cargo plane and welcome the revolutionary aircraft back home. An emotional moment for the public, but also for the pilots and team present for this epic landing!
“Si2 is now back in Dübendorf, where it was designed and built and where the team is currently working on new and efficient transportation solutions. This is a significant step as it really closes the loop of the adventure of flying around the world, but also opens many new perspectives for the future,” commented André.
“Even though Si2 is now is back in Switzerland, Solar Impulse’s message continues. The flight around the world was only the first part of the adventure; the second is the World Alliance for Clean Technologies that was launched last week during COP22,” emphasized Bertrand upon the landing of the cargo plane.
Indeed, since the end of the round-the-world flight last July, the team has been busy setting up the first of its kind World Alliance for Clean Technologies that was launched in Marrakesh on 11 November 2016 and our engineers have been continuing to work on new disruptive and innovative projects, such as unmanned and high endurance electric aircrafts. And as direct legacies of Solar Impulse and the round-the-world flight, these adventures are yet again other pioneering journeys!
Si2’s will initially be staying at the Dübendorf Airfield this solution is temporary and we are on the lookout to find the best option for her future. Not an easy task given her 72 meter wingspan! But as often with Solar Impulse, finding the optimal solution – be it the design of the aircraft, the right weather window or the necessary authorizations – is challenging.
Up until now, museums in different parts of the world have shown keen interest in hosting Si2, but none of them have sufficient space for an airplane that size. We have also considered reassembling and flying her again for exhibition purposes, but there too, the hangar in Dübendorf is too small to accommodate this – we would need to find another space. Last but not least, we are considering using her to development future technological projects.
Similarly, it took us some time to find the optimal solution for Solar Impulse 1 – the first prototype – that is now hosted at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industriein Paris, the biggest science museum in Europe, since March 2015. However, our motto has never been to go fast, but to go far, and we are convinced that we will find the perfect solution for Si2 very soon. We will of course keep you once we know more, so sign up to receive our updates here.
This blog post has been originally published here.