Now THAT's what you call wingspan

Here's the amazing Solar Impulse, unveiled in Zurich today by Bertrand Piccard and his team. It's designed to fly purely from solar power, day AND night, courtesy of a vast surface area of solar cells.   TED's European Director Bruno Giussani, who was at the launch, says: "The plane has a 60-meter wingspan covered by solar cells, 4 propellers, a tiny one-pilot cockpit, and a total weight of 1.6 tons. -- that makes it the wingspan of an Airbus A320 and the weight of a car. It is an amazing sight."  

He shot this 15-second clip of the unveiling:

Piccard will be sharing his vision for the plane at next month's TED Global. He plans to fly the Solar Impulse around the world in 2012.

Here's Wired's take on the launch.   The Solar Impulse website.  And more background on the project.

4 responses
An amazing discovery that will aid in environmental conservation.
TEDster Al Seckel posted this comment on my Facebook page: ""The wonderful and late engineer Paul MacCready paved the way for this. He was the first to make a a successful solar powered airplane, and his enormous pathfinder airplane, which had the largest wingspan of any flying aircraft, and reached heights that no other aircraft achieved, was entirely solar powered."

Al is right... and you can see Paul MacCready and his aircraft in this classic TED talk.

sorry kings twitter, zero tolerance here! Share experiences, anything!
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