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January 7, 2014
Boeing 747-400 landed Monday at 4:50 p.m. on the military airfield of Payerne. From Luxembourg, he picked parts of Solar Impulse 2 for his world tour.
Image Above: During the night, the solar plane was loaded in the 747-400.
"This is a great day because we left Switzerland and Payerne, we received a wonderful welcome. The plane leaves the nest, "said Monday at ats Bertrand Piccard initiator and President of Solar Impulse.
"The next 48 hours will be a little tense, because the operation is extremely delicate," said André Borschberg, co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse. With a wingspan of 72 meters, eight meters higher than the jumbo jet that will take him, the second Solar Impulse was dismantled into pieces, he said.
The wing was notably disassembled into three pieces 24 meters. "There is still 2 cm on each side of the entrance to get the parts," says Bertrand Piccard.
Solar Impulse 2 size comparison with Boeing 747-81
Far into the night
It is designed to withstand strong turbulence, the solar plane is fragile handling. Weighing 2,300 kg, it is larger and more delicate than its predecessor, the HB-SIA, which was sent to the United States in 2013.
For loading, the parts will be placed on a special holder designed for the occasion. They will then be securely fastened. A small mistake could result in delays in time, says André Borschberg. But the team of five, six specialists is well prepared for this operation, which was to last into the night.
Stop in Basel
Arrived almost empty to be able to land on the short runway of 2.2 km from the military airfield, the 747 had to leave Tuesday morning about 08:00, in charge of the 2,300 kilos of SI2. The giant air will fill kerosene and will take some equipment in Basel, before flying to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The cost of the transaction amounts to approximately CHF 400,000, against 500,000 francs for the transport of the first solar airplane to the United States.
The departure approaches
Within the team, starting changes the perspective of a complex project that has undergone many stages: "Around the world, this time it's for that year; it feels, "reports the CEO.
Once at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, the aircraft will be reassembled, tested, readjusted. From the end of January, he will perform some flight test to complete its preparation before the big trip planned in late February. The final program will be announced in Abu Dhabi on January 20, said Mr Borschberg.
Around the world in a dozen steps expected to last five months, from March to July. It should go through India, China, the United States, southern Europe or North Africa.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will take turns in the cockpit. "One starts, the other end and we will have one each ocean," notes the project initiator.
Solar Impulse plane set to circle world using renewable energy
Flagship of Switzerland
"We can now use Solar Impulse as a symbol demonstrating that with clean technologies, we can do amazing things," says eco-adventurer. "The SI2 will be the flagship of Switzerland. It will show its innovative side. "
In twelve years, the project cost $ 150 million. "We have the money for a basic tour of the world. We are looking for partners for educational programs and materials for visits, notes Bertrand Piccard. "The more we have the means, the more we realize projects," he added.
Prototype in Paris
Bertrand Piccard does not yet know what will become the SI2 after its journey around the earth. In contrast, the HB-SIA will join the City of Science in Paris. There will be transported by truck in March. "This is an incredible opportunity. This museum technologies welcomes three million visitors a year, "says eco-adventurer.
As for the Solar Impulse team, she finally left the premises payernois until the end of 2015. "We will definitely need spare parts during the world tour," says Bertrand Piccard.
The cargo plane flew with his load around 8 am Tuesday to rally Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Solar Impulse 2 arrived in Abu Dhabi
Solar Impulse 2 arrived safely in Abu Dhabi, the starting point of its future around the world. The jumbo jet that carried the solar plane Tuesday at Payerne, UAE landed at 19:04 local time (3:04 p.m. Swiss time) at the airport in the capital.
The flight went very well, in good weather, said Claudia Durgnat, spokesman of Solar Impulse. A four-person team is currently working to unload the plane with Abu Dhabi airport staff.
Image Above: A "747" embarks Solar Impulse 2 for Abu Dhabi.
The SI 2 will then be installed in a shed to be reassembled, tested, readjusted. During Monday night, solar aircraft was loaded in pieces in a 747-400 arrived in the afternoon at Payerne. Tuesday, Boeing took off at 8:24 of the military airfield and made a stopover in Basel before flying to the UAE.
From the end of January, the SI 2 will perform some flight test to complete its preparation before the big trip planned for late February. Around the world in a dozen steps expected to last five months, from March to July. It should go through India, China, the United States, southern Europe or North Africa. In twelve years, the adventure of the solar airplane cost some 150 million.
For more information about Solar Impulse, visit: http://www.solarimpulse.com/
Images, Video, Text, Credits: Solar Impulse/ATS/Euronews/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.