An Electric Airplane

Many of you have now heard about the Solar Eclipse 2, the electric airplane that is powered by solar panels atop the wing and other structures. The plane has a wingspan longer than a 747’s, and yet it weighs about the same as a Tesla Model S.

Adventurers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have taken turns piloting the craft from the Middle East to Japan to Hawaii and now to the U.S. mainland. The plane wintered in Hawaii and I had several opportunities to meet the pilots and interact with the team. Their goal is far more than to circle the globe in a solar-powered airplane. Rather, they wish to use this adventure to highlight the extent to which clean, sustainable energy has already evolved and to speed up the world’s transition to energy sources that are profoundly better for our planet. Since Tesla and Solar Impulse share similar end results for their efforts, the two groups have recognized the value in each other.

solarimpulseThe Solar Impulse team invited Hawaii’s Tesla owners to the hangar for a private meet and greet with the pilots and crew. It was fabulous! We presented the pilots with  a statement of mutual vision, signed by those attending the event.

solarimpulse2Bertrand on left and Andre on right are shown giving Hawaii’s Tesla owners a briefing on the mission. Days later, Bertrand flew the plane for 3 days before landing in California, then Andre took the next leg to Arizona in the push to complete the journey this year.

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2 Responses to An Electric Airplane

  1. Brock Nanson says:

    Wow… I’m envious of your opportunity to get a close look at that plane!


    • papafox510 says:

      As cool as the airplane is, the people associated with Solar Impulse 2 are even cooler. I ran into the pilots many times and they truly were ambassadors to their cause and both seemed delighted to be flying the bird around the world. Piccard is trained as a psychiatrist, and he mentioned a few things at one talk about the joy felt by living outside your comfort zone, behing helped by people who believed in your project.


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