Bertrand Piccard, a man known for piloting the first round-the-globe, nonstop hot air balloon flight, has set his sights on another aviation feat. He founded a company called Solar Impulse with Andre Borschberg and they’ve developed a “zero-fuel” aircraft that they hope will soon make the same round-the-globe flight that Piccard made ten years ago. The aircraft, dubbed HB-SIA, has the wingspan of a jumbo jet but weighs only as much as a small car. In lieu of a traditional engine, the HB-SIA uses solar panels to power four 10 hp electric motors. Extensive research and development suggests that the plane will achieve altitudes of approximately 8500 meters and an average speed of 70 km/hr. Initial test flights are expected to begin later this year.
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