More an EXPLORER of the human spirit than an adventurer, a VISIONARY unconstrained by certainties and stereotypes, he develops the forward-looking philosophy for his projects, and sketches out their symbolic and societal significance

It is in his genes to go beyond conventional wisdom to explore, and to achieve the impossible. The sky and the ocean depths attracted his ancestors. It's the challenges of our time that fascinate him: sustainable development; new, clean technologies; the fight against inequalities; individual responsibility ... Combining science with adventure, he uses his exploits in the air to advance the causes dear to him, to raise public awareness and encourage political action. His dual identity as a doctor whose specialty Is psychiatry and an explorer make him a respected voice in the world's great institutions; they consider him to be one of today's leading thinkers on the themes of innovation and sustainable development.

« Adventure in the 21st century consists of using human creativity and the pioneering spirit to develop the quality of life that present and future generations have a right to expect. »
Bertrand Piccard

A born communicator, Bertrand strives to promote a humanistic vision that leaves ample room for the pioneering spirit in everyday life. He promotes his philosophy of adventure to induce us to shake off our certainties and consider other ways of thinking and acting. His solution-oriented approach stems in part from his ability to build bridges between extremes and develop synergies where others see only strife.


  • Born on 1st March in Lausanne (Switzerland)

  • His mother's philosophical and spiritual heritage

    Bertrand's deep conversations with his mother, Marie-Claude, a pastor's daughter, opened up new areas for him to explore: personal development, the spiritual search, the need to seek answers without having pre-conceived ideas or being wedded to dogmas ...

  • His father's scientific heritage, emphasizing the protection of the environment

    Most children grow up hearing their parents tell them fairy tales. But for Bertrand, it was stories about exploration ... a topic on which Bertrand Piccard had some authorities to turn to ... "My grandfather had an Explorers Club card, so did my father, why not me?”

  • A childhood in Florida

    I remember exactly the moment when I decided to become an explorer. It was July 1969, I was 11 years old, and my father had just boarded the "Ben Franklin Mesoscaphe", which he had designed to study the Gulf Stream. He was going to drift for a month 3,000 km along the East Coast of America. A few days later, I watched in amazement as Apollo 11 took off for the moon.


The conquest of space

Shaped his mindset

  • « I will never forget the moment I saw the Apollo 11 rocket take off for the moon. I was 11 years old. My thought at the time ... These astronauts have a dream that's bigger than their fear of failing. They are heroes daring the impossible. They are undertaking something that no man has ever done before. This is the pioneering spirit. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to become an explorer. »

    « The idea started going around in my head of a compass whose needle pointed not towards North but towards the unknown, everything that had not yet been discovered. »
    Bertrand Piccard
  • At Cape Canaveral, Bertrand was present at the lift-off of six of the Apollo missions. He was invited by Wernher von Braun, the inventor of the Apollo rockets and a family friend, and he was lucky enough to meet the astronauts on the lunar program. Bertrand dreamed of following in the footsteps of these pioneers. The exploration virus has never left him since...

  • 1974

    European hang-gliding pioneer
    Bertrand is sixteen ... dedicated to his passion. Bertrand quickly masters this discipline and faces up to risk in extreme situations.

  • 1985

    European Hang-Gliding Aerobatics Champion, and numerous “firsts” in Ultralights

  • « Raised amid his family’s scientific rigor, Bertrand is captivated by this new world made up of sensations and intuitions »
    Arnaud Schwartz

1986 - 1996

Interest in the meaning of life

and how human beings function

  • Even more than the exhilaration of aerobatics, what fascinated Bertrand most was his observing that higher levels of consciousness emerged at the most intense moments of his flights. This is what led him to become a psychiatrist.

    Bertrand became a Doctor of medicine and a hypnotherapist, specializing in adult and child psychiatry and psychotherapy.

  • Bertrand drew from his medical studies the humanistic values that would be fundamental references during his life as an explorer. Having mastered hypnosis, he put it to use during his exploration missions, to increase his level of vigilance and manage fatigue when at the controls of the Solar Impulse airplane and his Breitling Orbiter balloon.

  • 1992

    Victory in the 1st transatlantic balloon race – the Chrysler Challenge - would change Bertrand’s life and modify his approach to existence.« For the first time, I no longer feel any duality; I feel suddenly that I can reconcile everything - my own path in life and that of my family, aviation and medicine, science and the way the wind blows». BP

    A foretaste of the flight around the world...

« Exploration begins within oneself, that’s what allows us to take a step back and change our habits... »
Bertrand Piccard


1st around the world balloon flight

An adventure worthy of Jules Verne

  • Having initiated the project in 1994, he took the controls of the Breitling Orbiter balloon six years later in March 1999 and, with his teammate Brian Jones, completed the first non-stop around-the-world balloon flight, at the same time achieving the longest flight ever, for both duration and distance, in the history of aviation...

    An historic first
    45,000 km in 20 days – 7 world records

  • Landing in the Egyptian desert after years of efforts, the doubts that followed the two previous attempts, competition with other teams chasing this holy grail, this last great adventure of the twentieth century.

  • A madman’s dream: around the world without any fuel
    His fear of not having enough fuel to complete his challenge made Bertrand start thinking about another trip around the world - this time in a solar airplane, needing no fossil fuels. Solar Impulse was born from this vision.

« The pioneering spirit is not about finding new ideas, but rather getting rid of the certainties and habits that keep us trapped in old ways of thinking and acting. Emerging from certainties and habits to embrace doubt and the unknown; using questioning to stimulate creativity and invent new solutions; turning what’s impossible into the possible! »
Bertrand Piccard
  • 1999 to the present

    An exploit turned to the service of the fight against poverty

    Bertrand is actively involved in supporting humanitarian causes and launching campaigns in the field. To fight noma, he created the Winds of Hope Foundation and brought together in the International NoNoma Federation most of the associations active in this struggle. He was also an Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund for 12 years.

2015 – 2016

Mission impossible

Perpetual flight in a solar airplane

If everyone tells you that it’s possible, that means your dreams are not big enough
Bertrand Piccard
  • A feat combining science and progress with respect for the planet

    No one believes Bertrand when he begins to talk about his plan for perpetual flight in a solar airplane. Well, almost nobody, because he did find support from the EPFL, which carried out a feasibility study. His meeting with André Borschberg, his future partner, would also prove to be decisive.

  • A pioneering vision for the promotion of clean technologies

    Bertrand developed the forward-looking philosophy behind the project and sketched out its symbolic and societal significance.

« This challenge is a call for action to boost clean technologies. Solar Impulse was not built to carry passengers, but to carry messages. Whatever we can do in the air, each and every one of us can do at ground level, in our everyday lives »
Bertrand Piccard
  • A « first » in the history of energy

    Abu Dhabi, July 2016: 43,000 km flown without a drop of fuel - a first in the history of aviation but above all a first in the history of energy. And what if this hope were to take hold in our society?

  • « You are really convincing. Not only do you set out your goals, but you go all the way and achieve them. »
    Christine Lagarde
    President of the European Central Bank
    « The Solar Impulse adventure brought Bertrand up into close proximity with the work of his grandfather and father... allowing him to join the ranks of those who push back the frontiers of what is possible and open up new perspectives for the world of tomorrow. »
    Arnaud Schwartz
    • 2015 to the present

      Ambassador for progress and sustainability

      A United Nations Ambassador for the Environment, Bertrand is considered today as an opinion leader on the subjects of innovation and sustainable development. He is invited to explain his vision at major international meetings on the environment - G7, United Nations Climate Summit, COP...

    « Today, there are thousands of solutions that can boost economic growth while conserving nature. Today, it is possible to reconcile ecology with the economy. »
    Bertrand Piccard

    2016 to the present

    An activist explorer

    • 1000 solutions to change the world

      Extending the symbolic impact of Solar Impulse with a new challenge.
      With his Challenge of #1000 Solutions, Bertrand Piccard and the Solar Impulse Foundation want to highlight the industrial opportunities offered by efforts to resolve climate change.

      Encouraging the application of efficient solutions.
      Bertrand Piccard promotes quality growth by demonstrating the enormous potential cost savings of clean technologies. In a third trip around the world, he hopes to present these clean and profitable solutions to decision-makers, encouraging them to adopt more ambitious energy policies and environmental objectives.

    « Exploration is a state of mind in the face of life. We cannot invent the world of tomorrow with today’s way of thinking. The future will be disruptive and demands that we follow suit. »
    Bertrand Piccard
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