Solar Impulse is set to attempt its first night flight on Thursday, July 1, 2010.
Weather conditions are “Favourable for attempting the first night flight on solar energy,” according to the Solar Impulse web site. “The situation continues to look good and the likelihood of seeing the HB-SIA take off on July 1st and land back in the early morning 2nd July is increasingly probable.”
The Solar Impulse team will confirm the date 24 hours before take-off time. Only accredited journalists will be allowed on-site to witness the event, so don’t head for the Payerne, Switzerland airbase, but follow the flights on the Internet at the project’s special Night Flight web page at www.solarimpulse.com.
These flights are crucial to the ongoing aim of flying a solo mission around the world in five hops, followed by the development of a two-seat version of the airplane that will enable a non-stop, around-the world solar flight. This will hinge on the ability of the craft’s over 12,000 solar cells to recharge its batteries during the day, and for the batteries to power Solar Impulse through the night. Previous flights have shown the cells could drive the four motors while charging the batteries, prompting the decision to attempt this first nocturnal soiree’.