So­lar Im­pulse pi­lots talk about epic jour­ney

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The two Swiss pi­lots tak­ing turns to fly a so­lar­pow­ered air­plane around the world said the en­deav­our is not only a demon­stra­tion of the im­por­tance of re­new­able en­ergy but also of the many chal­lenges the hu­man body can en­dure.

Pi­lot Ber­trand Pic­card com­pleted a risky, three-day flight across a great ex­panse of the Pa­cific Ocean while sleep­ing only 20 min­utes at a time in­side the plane’s tiny cock­pit with no heat or air con­di­tion­ing and while hav­ing to keep con­stant con­tact with the Europe-based con­trol cen­tre.

“You have in­ter­views, nav­i­ga­tion con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the con­trol cen­tre in Monaco. You have health checks, a lot of health checks,” Pic­card said. “It’s very ac­tive, there are a lot of things to do, but you can nev­er­the­less en­joy it.”

Pic­card said he uses self-hyp­no­sis to keep his en­ergy up and puts heat­ing pads in­side his shoes and gloves for warmth. He said he has no com­plaints about the ready-made meals he can warm up with a spe­cial heat packet and that can in­clude risotto, chicken curry and pota­toes.

Pic­card landed the So­lar Im­pulse 2 in Moun­tain View, in the Sil­i­con Val­ley south of San Fran­cisco, on Satur­day night fol­low­ing a 62-hour, non­stop solo flight from Hawaii with­out fuel. The land­ing came hours af­ter Pic­card made a fly-by over the Golden Gate Bridge as spec­ta­tors be­low watched the nar­row air­craft with ex­tra wide wings.

Pic­card and An­dre Borschberg have been tak­ing turns fly­ing the plane on an around-theworld trip since tak­ing off from Abu Dhabi in March 2015.

It made stops in Oman, Myan­mar, China, Ja­pan and Hawaii.

The trans-Pa­cific legs were the riski­est part of the plane’s trav­els be­cause of the lack of emer­gency land­ing sites.

“We have demon­strated it is fea­si­ble to fly many days, many nights, that the tech­nol­ogy works,” said co-pi­lot An­dre Borschberg, 63, who pi­loted the plane on a five-day trip from Ja­pan to Hawaii and, keep­ing him­self alert with yoga and med­i­ta­tion.

The project has helped to show that “as a hu­man be­ing you can be suf­fi­ciently sus­tain­able to be able to fly at least five days in such a plane”.

AR­RIVALS: Ber­trand Pic­card (right) and An­dre Borschberg are wel­comed in Sil­i­con Val­ley

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