Solar Impulse 72-hour simulation flight tests human endurance

Simulated 72-hour flight will test new cockpit design but also human endurance

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Solar Impulse will run a simulated 72-hour flight night and day 21-24 February that should provide clues to human endurance in a long-flight solo pilot situation. CEO André Borschberg will test the design and configuration of the cockpit for a second plane it is building, now under construction. This will be the longest “flight” time yet for the solar-powered airplane.

The plane “needs to have a more spacious, ergonomically efficient cockpit, so that Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg – taking turns to fly it – can remain airborne for several days with their essential equipment and supplies,” the group says in a statement 20 February. The project is seeking to “accumulate experience in the management of the pilot’s vital needs on a long-duration flight. There is not much experience to draw on in previous aviation history concerning fatigue and nutritional management, so this will be a unique opportunity for the Solar Impulse team to try out various concepts designed in cooperation with project partners.”

This latest experiment can be followed live on the Solar Impulse blog.