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Second Maintenance Flight Completed
04/03 - 2016

Second Maintenance Flight Completed

The primary purpose of this latest flight was to ensure that the aircraft’s systems work in high altitude conditions. The aircraft reached up to 28,000 feet, which is a high altitude flight for Solar Impulse (fun fact! maximum altitude reached by Solar Impulse is 30,187 feet). This altitude mimics the conditions of a regular long-duration flight during the Round-the-World tour when the aircraft must climb during long-duration flight in order to be as energy efficient during the night as possible.


The solar generators are switched on during the day to allow the batteries to store enough energy in order to prepare for the night. During the day, the aircraft climbs to a high altitude while the batteries charge to 100% so that during the night, the aircraft can cruise downwards, moving in the direction of its destination, without switching on the solar generators, and therefore saving energy. This is what a typical overnight flight path looks like:


During the flight, the engineers at the Mission Control Center in Monaco each performed maintenance checks on their area of expertise on the aircraft. Since this was a high altitude flight, the oxygen system activates above 12000 feet. Michael McGrath, responsible for the oxygen system on the aircraft, was active in the front room during this flight to monitor the oxygen system at high altitudes. The system functioned soundly.

Overall, the flight performed extremely well. Now, we will begin preparing for the pilot training flights!


This blog post has been originally published here.