BERN, SWITZERLAND – Solar Impulse, the solar-powered experimental airplane that has just successfully completed its first overseas flight, to Morocco, including a difficult flight over the desert, is being told it’s time to pay rent, by the Swiss government.
Swiss public radio reports 26 June that Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg’s project owes CHF1 million in back rent for a hangar at the Dübendorf military base in Zurich, which it has used free of charge without a legal agreement with the government. Some CHF700,000 were spent by Bern to adapt the hangar to the wide-winged plane’s special needs.
Solar Impulse also uses space at the Payerne military base in canton Vaud, free of charge. Swiss public radio DRS and RTS report that the military department is asking the project to pay rent as of 2014, the year Solar Impulse is scheduled to attempt a round-the-world flight using only solar energy to power it.
The various government agencies involved and Solar Impulse will be holding discussions to resolve the issue through Presence Switzerland, according to RTS.