Solar Plane’s Global Mission

belal-el-atari-solar-impulse-2Two Swiss pilots are attempting the otherwise thought, impossible. The pilots will aim to fly around the world without a single drop of fossil fuel. How will they accomplish this amazing feat you may ask. Allow me to indulge you.

The plane is outfitted with solar technology to eliminate the need for oil, gas, or other forms of fuel. The plane known as “Solar Impulse 2” has 17,248 solar cells that will transfer their collected energy to four electrical motors. These motors are in charge of powering the planes propellers. The battery cells are unique as well. They recharge four lithium polymer batteries to power the plane during flight in the evening. The plane is constructed out of carbon-fiber and weighs about as much as a minivan.

The Specs:

  • Ideal Flight Speed: 25 Knots (Able to double during day when sun is strongest)
  • Altitude: 28,000 feet during day
    • 5,000 feet during night
  • Runners & cyclists will guide the plane during landing and takeoff

The Pioneers:

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will be the two men aboard the Solar Impulse 2. Piccard is the son of Jacques Piccard, the undersea explorer and was the first person to circumnavigate the world via hot air balloon in 1999. Borschberg is the CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse, which began in 2003 with Piccard also at the helm.

Challenges:

Among the technical difficulties the pilots may face, the pair will potentially encounter more trouble on their journey. Both their minds and bodies will be put to the test as the plane travels across the skies. With such a long time seated in an enclosed area, health risks are among some of the top concerns. The two pilots have been preparing their bodies for the journey by practicing yoga and stretches. Other technology will help them rest efficiently and attend to other matters as easily as possible. Weather may also become a factor but due to the variable changes in the weather from minute to minute its impossible to plan too much this far in advance.

The Journey:

Although the flight should only take 25 days the pilots have a scheduled 12 cities to stop in. The stops will be scheduled for meetings and public events with governments and school on the route. After the team departs India they will fly to China and then across the Pacific Ocean. They will land in Hawaii and eventually make it to the United States and stop in Phoenix and New York City. The last legs of the journey include stopping in southern Europe or Morocco and then finishing in Abu Dhabi.

I wish them good luck and great success in their innovative flying endeavor. I will be keeping a close eye on the story as it unfolds from live streams

7 Hidden Secrets About Your Passport Revealed

Before you start planning your next vacation it’s important to to make sure your passport is valid and up to date. Did you know these 7 hidden secrets about your passport? Check them out below

The best season to renew your passport is the Fall. If you obtained your passport after age 16, it’s valid for only 10 years. According to the State Department, “Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.” The best time to renew your passport is early autumn — that’s when applications are at a low before Thanksgiving and holiday rushes, the State Department says.

A passport card is cheaper than a regular passport. It’s wallet-sized, it and costs $80 less than a regular adult passport. However, you can only use it to “re-enter the U.S. from land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.”

Your passport is an all access passIf you’re from the U.S., your passport affords you free access to 172 other countries.

All passports issued after 2007 has an electronic chip in it. There is a chip in the back of your passport that stores the same personal info printed on your passport’s photo page, and a biometric identifier . If you have one of these “e-passports,” TSA can use facial recognition technology to confirm the passport belongs to you.

You don’t have to pay to get passport photos taken.You can actually take it at home. The photo must be square, unaltered and on a white background.

You may not be able to travel with some airlines if your passport doesn’t have enough blank pages. According to the State Department website, “Some countries require that your passport has two to four blank visa/stamp pages,”Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement in not met.” Make sure you check the requirements for your specific destination before you go.

You can get a passport with 52 pages for no additional charge. A traditional U.S. passport comes with 28 pages, but you can request a 52-page one for free when you apply for your first passport or renew an old one. You can also add pages to an existing passport for an extra 82 dollars.