The technical team was up early to prepare the aircraft and Markus Scherdel, the test pilot, was at Solar Impulse HQ by 08:00 and raring to go.
At 10:00 the propellors started turning and the plane was airbourne in less than 10 second. The public was stunned. There was thunderous applause. After a week of enjoying fabulous displays, sometimes spectacular, but always noisy and polluting, Solar Impulse suddenly offered an astonishing alternative solution. HB-SIA soared above their heads slowly for twenty minutes, majesticly and silently.
The plane was the brainchild of two aviators — Bertrand Piccard, who made history with the world’s first round-the-world hot air balloon flight in 1999, and Andre Borschberg.
Next on the agenda is Solar Impulse Mark II, a modified version of the original plane which will have a bigger cabin — a necessity for that round-the-world flight in 2012.
Source and photo: Solar Impulse
Photo Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg: Rob Vogelaar, ZAPP