The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed in Abu Dhabi on July 26, 2016, the original starting point of its 43,000-kilometer journey that began on March 9, 2015.
‘What an extraordinary experience to have witnessed the culmination of this 12-year design project and collaborative effort to build and fly an aircraft that many thought impossible,’ said Bernard Charlès, vice chairman, and CEO, Dassault Systèmes. ‘Daring to dream, pushing the limits of aviation, echoing the imaginative spirit of past pioneers, congratulations to pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard and the entire Solar Impulse team for this milestone achievement—not just in aviation, but in demonstrating sustainable solutions for the future of our planet.’
The Solar Impulse team used ‘Engineered to Fly,’ an industry solution experience based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience platform, to create its solar-powered aircraft. The software includes applications for the 3D modelling of complex structures and composites, digital simulation and full data traceability which enabled the Solar Impulse team to visualise the aircraft before it embarked on its record-setting voyage.
The Solar Impulse team faced a daunting set of challenges in designing an aircraft that would be light enough to achieve such a great distance using only solar energy, but also strong enough to survive the 43,000 Kilometre journey.
These tight design constraints meant that the designers faced trade-offs in designing the aircraft, including a new design for the fuselage and wings, and using new materials to achieve strict weight objectives.
‘More than just an airplane, Solar Impulse is a message,’ said Michel Tellier, vice president, aerospace and defence industry, Dassault Systèmes. ‘The Solar Impulse project is showing the world that alternative, clean energy can be safe and viable in the most extreme circumstances and that it has the power to change the world.’