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Bertrand Piccard back in the Air!
17/03 - 2016

Bertrand Piccard back in the Air!

Solar Impulse took to the Hawaiian skies three times in 24 hours on Monday 14th of March with Bertrand Piccard back at the controls. Favourable weather allowed for both morning and evening flights out of Kalaeloa Airport, with Bertrand carrying out a variety of low altitude training procedures.


The main goal of today’s training was to give Betrand a chance to re-familiarize himself with Solar Impulse’s systems and handling in preparation for the next leg of the expedition. Bertrand’s last flight was the sixth leg from Chongqing to Nanjing in China, though both he and André Borschberg have kept up their training using a simulator to make sure they are ready for this year’s flights.


Bertrand arrived at the hangar in the early hours of Monday morning with a big smile on his face and said he felt like the Round-The-World atmosphere was beginning to spark up again.


During his first flight he performed recovery procedures in case of engine failure, tested the airbrakes during a steep descent and practiced flying at slower speeds. He reached a maximum altitude of 7,800 feet and the plane’s average speed was 25 knots (30mph/50kmph). The second and third flights – focused on after-dark take-off and landing patterns – were carried out fourteen hours later.


“I was very happy with this flight day, all the tests that had to be performed with Si2 were done,” Bertrand said. “I loved the approach coming from 6000 feet straight in, as I had the airplane on the glide all the time.”


Solar Impulse handled well and Bertrand was completely at home back in the cockpit of Si2. We were also trialling our new 360 cameras, so something else to look forward to. The next outing for the team will be a longer training flight intended to simulate the standard night-and-day profile to be used for the crossing of the Pacific from Hawaii to the U.S. West Coast.


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