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Solar Flight Pioneer Bertrand Piccard Tells EBACE2017 Attendees: Aviation Can Inspire the Impossible
When Piccard first started, the round-the-world flight seemed like science fiction. The airplane needed a 72-meter wingspan to fit enough solar cells. They’d run four electric engines with less power than a motorcycle. And the entire craft needed to weigh less than a car.
Teaming up with engineer and co-pilot André Borschberg, Piccard brought together a multidisciplinary team of aerospace engineers and Swiss shipbuilders who designed ultra-light hulls for America’s Cup racing vessels.
“In the world of pioneering, sometimes you have to look outside the system,” said Piccard.
Solar Impulse was built using carbon fiber materials three times lighter than paper. Dassault Aviation supported the project, making their engineers available for design review.
Aviation Offers a Glimpse of the Future
Before Solar Impulse’s unlikely flight, even Piccard doubted solar aviation would become a commercial reality, but at EBACE2017, he predicted that within 10 years, the industry would be flying plug-in electric airplanes, with 50 passengers, on short-haul routes.
“Today, we can reconcile ecology and economy. Imagine no noise, no pollution, getting your customers closer to where they want to go,” said Piccard, challenging the business aviation professionals at EBACE2017 to take his vision further and bring it commercially to market.
“This is what clean technologies offer,” said Piccard, “and once again aviation will inspire what’s possible.”
Piccard’s vision of cleaner, greener aviation is a symbol of European technological excellence, said Brandon Mitchener, CEO of the European Business Aviation Association.
“This is a fast-paced, evolving industry,” Mitchener said. “As someone who believes in solar energy’s virtually unlimited potential, I see this as a glimpse of the future of aviation.”
Cutting Edge Technology at EBACE2017
With Piccard’s keynote, Mitchener and Bolen officially opened EBACE2017, with a sold-out aircraft display and a packed exhibit floor showcasing even more cutting-edge technology powering the future of business aviation. This year’s show features more than 400 exhibitors, 58 aircraft on display at Geneva Airport and four more inside the Palexpo exhibit hall.
“We have an exciting show lined up this week, highlighting where the sector is going,” said Mitchener. “EBACE is where all our industry’s dynamism, passion and innovation comes together.”
Solar Impulse Chair Bertrand Piccard Delivers Welcome Message to EBACE2017 Attendees
Bertrand Piccard, chairman of the Solar Impulse project, adventurer, pioneer and the first to fly a solar-powered aircraft around the world, will motivate attendees at the 22 May Opening General Session of the 2017 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2017). “I love the history of aviation, because aviation is an inspiration…aviation has changed the world,” he said, adding he’s excited to share his message about “the spirit of innovation [and] the spirit of pioneering that we need to keep alive in the world of aviation.” (Video)