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Solar Impulse 10 years old
27/11 - 2013

Solar Impulse 10 years old

Solar Impulse is 10 years old – but since when? 

Since I first had the idea following my round-the-world balloon trip in 1999? Since I met Paul McCready, the pioneer of solar flight, for the first time ? Or since the EPFL agreed to launch a feasibility study? Since the collaboration with André Borschberg?  The signature of the first partner, which enabled us to get the company off the ground? The first flight? It’s certainly a little of all of that, but nevertheless it is the 28th of November 2003 that I would like to celebrate with you, who have followed us for so long. That was the point of no return, the date this absolutely mad dream of going round the world in a solar aeroplane was first announced to the media. That day, André and I burned the bridges that would have still allowed us to abandon the idea, to give up. But once we had made the public announcement, we were condemned to go all the way. It seems such a long time ago, given that Solar Impulse has accomplished so many firsts in these 10 years: the night flight, the intercontinental flight, the crossing of the USA. Nevertheless, it was the 28th of November 2003 that was to change our lives, and those of our families, for ever.

On that day, André and I still wore a tie. We had to give that up later, in view of the risk that it would get caught up in the propellors of our aircraft…


Bertrand Piccard