25 years ago, Pelican published my book Sun Traps: The Renewable Energy Forecast. At the time, the aerial solar phenomenon was the late Paul MacCready‘s Solar Challenger, which I featured in the book. As we travelled around India, Richard (Northcote) was keeping a close eye on developments with the first through-the-night flight of the Solar Impulse. The pioneers this time being Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. Their aim, in a few years, is a round-the-world flight.
Powered only by solar energy, the aircraft was airborne for a total of 26 hours – from 7 am on July 7 until 9 am the following day (Central European Time) – before finally landing, as planned, at Payerne airbase in Switzerland. It is now officially the first manned aircraft capable of flying day and night without fuel, powered entirely by solar energy. Bayer MaterialScience is one of the sponsors, hence Richard’s interest.