Al Marsh

Could you fly for three days and nights?

February 21, 2012 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

 (Click images to enlarge.)

UPDATE: He’s out of the simulator and proved that he could function using relaxation techniques and “micro-sleep” periods 20 minutes at a time. Next up–long-duration flights with two pilots above the Mediterranean. They will not sleep when over land and during those times, will use only relaxation techniques.

The Twitter postings of Swiss pilot André Borschberg–now in a simulator in preparation for longer Solar Impulse flights–could get pretty funny soon. The Solar Impulse will fly nonstop around the world in 2014. He has been in the simulator as of this posting for about a day, and has two days to go. His entries on Twitter may change as he gets exhausted–but they simulate making reports to his control center. He is wearing enough sensing hardware on his head and body to make anyone uncomfortable. The idea is that two pilots will fly day and night at very slow speeds, drifting downward at night when no solar energy is available, and climbing during the day, to circle the world.This was a single-pilot experiment. It could take weeks. Keep track of these guys. They are going to make it…my prediction. The aircraft has already made it to Paris and back.

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