French aviator Bertrand Piccard is know to be one of the Pr. Auguste Piccard’s heirs. Auguste Piccard was the famous physician who proved parts of the Einstein’s theory of relativity, and later, used to model the Pr. Calculus in comic strip Tintin.
Bertrand Piccard is also an ambitious team leader who, with his team of engineers and pilots, intends to build an aircraft solely powered by solar power. The Solar Impulse would not only be able to fly with the sun, but also — and that’s the tricky part — able to take off all by itself.
And to harden even more the game, the plane should output enough energy to fly during the day and recharge its batteries to fly during the night. So you guess it, if the Solar Impulse succeeds, that means we can fly around the world without any stop and for very cheap.
Could the project revolutionize industrial aircrafts? Not sure. Bertrand Piccard keeps saying the Solar Impulse’s ambitions just limit to engineer a sort of ULM, a tiny two-places aircraft unable to carry tons of stuff. So far, a dozen of big companies like Altran or Omega join the project. The first flight is expected to occur some time in 2008. Good luck.