Solar Impulse 2 has made history after becoming the first solar-powered aeroplane to complete a round-the-world flight. The flight lasted more than 23 days and although the plane itself could fly almost perpetually, the flight was split into 16 legs, to allow it to be shared by two pilots. Even despite this, the pilots spent up to 5 days in the un-pressurised cabin, with the single seat doubling up as a toilet, taking only short naps.
The plane has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747 and has more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings, meaning that it needs to use no fossil fuel to fly. The solar panels charge the planes battery during daylight, and the pilots climbed to 29,000 feet during the day, while dropping down to 5,000 feet at night to conserve energy. The plane flies on average around 30mph, but can go faster when the sun is bright.
Pilot and designer Bertrand Piccard said the aim of the flight was not to develop solar planes for widespread use, but to demonstrate the capabilities of renewable energy and he now plans to use the demonstration as leverage to create a world council for clean technologies.
Engineering students should investigate the mechanics of the solar plane, especially in comparison to a normal aeroplane such as a Boeing 747. Applicants for Physics and Material Sciences should think more about the functions and use of different types of renewable energy and how it may be developed for future use.
- MLAT overview If you’re applying for Modern Languages, or their joint schools, you... Read more >
- ELAT mini mock paper If you’re applying to read English at Oxford, you will... Read more >
- What’s so special about Oxford and Cambridge? Both Oxford and Cambridge have fearsome reputations. The Oxbridge system... Read more >
- Are my grades good enough for Oxbridge? Grades are an area of much misunderstanding when it comes... Read more >
- February’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- Oxford college snapshots With 35 colleges and Permanent Private Halls, choosing how to... Read more >
- Personal Statement Action Plan: Section 2 of 2 You’ve done your reading. You’ve made your brainstorm. You’ve possibly... Read more >
- The Architecture of an Education: what are colleges all about? Explaining the difference between Oxford and Cambridge colleges and the... Read more >
- MLAT mini mock paper & answers The MLAT or Modern Languages Test is required by Oxford... Read more >
- Music Scholarships There is a wide range of musical scholarships available to... Read more >
- January’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- Your Open Day Guide Open Days can be an extremely useful way of finding... Read more >
- Sports psychology for interviews Channel your inner champion Major sports personalities use these techniques... Read more >
- Is Oxbridge right for me? Have you asked yourself why you are planning to apply... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge Example Questions and Answers If you have completed the TSA Cambridge course report and are... Read more >
- Is a “Religious Morality” rational? One of our Oxbridge graduate tutors, Emma, looks into the... Read more >
- Personal Statement Action Plan: Section 1 of 2 The UCAS personal statement will be a key part of... Read more >
- Application Calendar Making an application to Oxford or Cambridge can seem like... Read more >
- Law: answer like a pro Law is a notoriously competitive subject; this, along with the... Read more >
- Choosing a course From Arch and Anth to Veterinary Medicine, the range of... Read more >
- Cambridge Law Test overview If you’re applying to read Law at Cambridge you will probably need... Read more >
- Medicine, Maths, and Economics Puzzles We asked three of our top Medicine, Maths, and... Read more >
- Admissions Tests: our tips as featured in the Independent Last year, the Independent asked us to provide some simple... Read more >
- The Most Competitive Subjects At Oxbridge (And How To Choose Wisely) Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the... Read more >