News - September 11, 2019

A Second Life for the Solar Impulse (Si2) Airplane

Written by Tristan Lebleu

Three years after its final landing in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Solar Impulse, the solar-powered airplane in which Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg flew around the world without a drop of fuel, may once again reach for the skies. 

Solar Impulse SA and Skydweller S.L.U. have signed an agreement for a future new use of this iconic and historical world record setting solar aircraft by Skydweller, an innovative start-up in the aeronautic industry.

The goal is for Skydweller to benefit from Solar Impulse’s invaluable knowledge - from 15 years of research and development in solar-powered flights - to develop, test and industrialize commercial unmanned perpetual flight vehicles. These technologies are gaining major attention all around the world as they could prove to have very promising applications in many different fields such as natural resource monitoring, data collection, weather forecasting, and emergency operations surveillance and high added-value telecommunications, including Internet and 5G for remote areas.

After having carried its message for a cleaner future around the world, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the co-founders of Solar Impulse SA and the pilots of Solar Impulse, are convinced that this new step in the plane’s life will be the best way for it to serve the greater good, proving once again that renewable energies can improve the quality of life on earth.

In his pursuit of promoting the adoption of clean technologies, Bertrand Piccard, the Initiator and Chairman of Solar Impulse, believes that “Solar Impulse, in this contemplated second life, will continue to illustrate that clean technologies can achieve the impossible while at the same time building a sustainable future. With Skydweller, the world’s most famous solar-powered aircraft of unlimited endurance will have concrete benefits for the greater good, and all without ever using a single drop of fuel”.

André Borschberg, Solar Impulse’s CEO, also sees the plane flying again as “an important new chapter in sustainable aviation. It will represent a significant milestone in Solar Impulse’s history, an adventure which began nearly two decades ago, entailing years of research, extensive development and testing and pushing electric propulsion technology to new limits. It will be great to see that this airplane will be used again to move forward in the development of clean aviation applications”.

Skydweller is located in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain. The Castilla La Mancha region offers a great workforce and infrastructure for the successful development of UAS Technology. The local authorities have shown much enthusiasm and plan to financially support the project, as an economic opportunity for the region’s development.

The plan is that, once Skydweller S.L.U. finishes its research and development mission flights, the Solar Impulse airplane will be put on a permanent museum exhibition, so as to continue to inspire future generations.

Written by Tristan Lebleu on September 11, 2019

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