Technology is a miracles factory. New designs and inventions appear every single day, making our lives extremely easier, safer and healthier than ever before. One of the scientific fields that have advanced greatly in the past decades is aeronautical engineering.
Airplanes are becoming safer and faster at the same time, while many scientific teams are focusing their researches on replacing kerosene (airplane fuel) with a cleaner type of energy. This has been achieved, to a huge degree, with the design and construction of the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft.
The Solar Impulse 2 is improved and slightly larger than its predecessor, the Solar Impulse 1. It solely uses solar power, just like the first airplane, and its goal is to succeed in circumnavigating the Earth.
So far, it has completed a small number of flights, all of them having occurred in the past 80 days. Its first one lasted 13 hours and 1 minute, covering a total distance of 238 miles. The airplane took off from Abu Dhabi in March 9, 2015 and landed in the town of Muscat of Oman. The most recent one was in April 20 of the current year, when Solar Impulse 2 travelled from Chongqing to Nanjing, two cities in China, separated by a distance of 726 miles. The flight lasted 17 hours and 22 minutes. Those achievements are, indeed, stunning but they are nothing compared to the aforementioned goal of the Earth’s circumnavigation. The most amazing part is that the airplane is already prepared for this unprecedented attempt to make history.
The Solar Impulse 2 was ready to being its long round-the-world trip in May 25, 2015 but the weather conditions did not allow that. Due to its engines operating, exclusively, with solar energy, the weather conditions during the entire flight must be ideal. Even a thin layer of clouds could be a potential threat to the functionality of the aircraft, especially if it is present for an extended period of time. This was the reason for which the takeoff was postponed to another possible day in the near future.
Even though the news has, certainly, spread disappointment among aeronautics and flight enthusiasts all over the world, the managers of the project decided not to take even the slightest risk. History has already shown us that the greatest pioneers the world has ever seen were very patient, no matter how exciting their ideas or studies were.
When it comes to aviation, the Solar Impulse 2 is the most exciting and promising project of our time. It will decrease our dependency on fuels dramatically since, as everyone knows, airplanes consume enormous amounts of kerosene to be able to travel from one part of the world to another. All it takes is careful planning and patience.
Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Impulse )
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.