Jardine Schindler Group Head Office
29/F, Devon House
Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
The piloted aircraft does not resemble a typical airplane. It has the wingspan of an Airbus but is around 100 times lighter. Probably the most remarkable aspect of Solar Impulse is that its only source of energy is the sunlight. And because the wingspan needs to accommodate an extremely large number of solar collection cells, there was considerable concern within the team over just how large a wingspan it could design.
With an understanding of the physics of flight, power-to-weigh, ratio, and the help of 3D engineering software similar to that used in Building Information Modeling (BIM), the design for the first prototype, Solar Impulse HB-SIA, was completed in 2009. While existing technologies were used for developing the prototype, its successor, Solar Impulse HB-SIB, was made from new materials and created with cutting-edge construction methods.