Dear Solar Impulse Friends,
This morning at 06h45, the Solar Impulse Mission Team had to take the difficult decision to postpone the first night flight attempt.
The problem comes from the telemetry transmitter that has broken down. This system enables the ground team to follow in real time the flight mission and to monitor thousands of crucial parameters. With a prototype such as Solar Impulse currently in an experimental phase, this system is an essential component without which, the mission was not possible.
Due to this inoperative piece of equipment produced specifically for this prototype, we were unfortunately unable to replace it and subsequently had to postpone this first attempt.
The entire team is of course intensively working to find a solution, however at this particular time we are unable to announce another date for the next trial.
« The pilot and the aircraft’s security comes first!» explained Claude Nicollier Head of Flight Testing of Solar Impulse. “Without this communication system, the mission becomes too risky.»
« Let’s not forget that this is an experimental project and these types of difficulties are inherent in this adventure. » reminds André Borschberg, CEO and Co-founder of Solar Impulse. “Every piece of the plane is optimized and we are continuously seeking the limits of the technology. This regrettable decision will serve as an important experience. »
« I succeeded the first nonstop around the world tour in an air balloon only after the third try! Patience and perseverance are essential values in this type of project » declares Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Initiator of Solar Impulse.
A new attempt will be foreseen as soon as possible. In the meantime, the Solar Impulse blog will be regularly updated with information on next steps and developments.
Solar Impulse HB-SIA, the first aircraft designed to fly day and night without fuel or pollution, demonstrating the immense potential of renewable energies.
Seven years of intense hard work, calculations, simulations and tests by a 70-person team and 80 partners have gone into completing this totally new carbon fibre aircraft, with the wingspan of an Airbus A340 (63.4m) and the weight of an average family car (1600 kg). Never before has such a large and lightweight aircraft been built. Almost 12 000 solar cells, integrated into the wing, feed renewable energy to the four electric motors with a maximum power of 10 HP each, and by day also charge the lithium-polymer batteries (400 kg) which will enable the aircraft to fly at night. The Solar Impulse project is supported, among others, by its main partners Solvay, Omega and Deutsche Bank, by its official partner Bayer Material Science, by EPFL, its official scientific adviser, by Altran, its engineering partner, and by Dassault-Aviation, its aviation adviser.