This initiated the first leg of its historic attempt to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. If all goes well, the plane will return to Al-Bateen in June or July. As reported in January, the first leg was a short 12-hour “shakedown cruise” to Muscat, Oman, piloted by Andre Borschberg.
The plane landed safely in Muscat, more or less on schedule.
Of the two pilots who will take turns behind the wheel, Borschberg is the engineer and former fighter pilot who is intimately familiar with every detail of the plane’s design and construction.
This is a flight that representatives of the aviation industry, when approached, said couldn’t be done, at least not to their standards of safety.
Of course, it should be understood that aviation operates with a high margin of safety. This flight has many known risks that would not be acceptable to commercial flyers. That is why these two men, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, are pioneers, risking their lives for a principle that they believe in. That principle is, in essence, we can do it without fuels.
There have been plenty of images on tv in Australia, with no doubt, more to come.
Early stages are relatively short, but there is one to Hawaii which is a 5 day - yes 5 day - leg across the Pacific. That will be interesting, and yes it flies non stop over that period including at night!!
|Solar Inpulse in flight|