This is the View from Inside the Cockpit of a Solar-Powered Plane

There won’t be much sightseeing as the solar-powered airplane crosses the Pacific

Think your last flight was uncomfortable? At least your seat didn’t double as a toilet.

Bertrand Piccard along with fellow explorer André Borschberg, iss in the middle of the first trip around the world by solar-powered airplane. On May 5, Piccard will take off from Nanjing, China on an 8172 kilometer flight across the Pacific all on his own, writes Attila Nagy for Gizmodo. But while it may be state of the art, this far from flying first-class.

According to Solar Impulse, also the name of the company that built the plane, the cockpit is designed for extreme efficiency. It features room for only one pilot at a time in the cockpit that Piccard will call home for the five days it will take him to reach the next stop in Hawaii. Their website gives a bit more detail: 

The cockpit volume provides enough space on board for oxygen supplies, food and survival equipment, whilst also meeting the optimal ergonomic requirements for flights lasting several days.

A multi-purpose seat functions both as reclining berth and toilet...A parachute and a life-raft are packed into the seat-back. When fully reclined, it allows the pilot to perform physical exercises and to take periods of rest. The ergonomic design allows more legroom, has an inflatable cushion for lumbar support, and has been developed for minimum weight.

Not to mention that the cabin is unpressurized, writes Nagy. Piccard will face extreme temperature shifts during his flight, from highs of 104 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to lows of -4 degrees at night. There's no word on whether he’ll have an in-flight movie.

You can check out pictures from inside the cockpit below:

(Solar Impulse)
(Solar Impulse/Anna Pizzolante/
(Solar Impulse)
(Solar Impulse/Stefatou/

h/t Solar Impulse

About Danny Lewis

Danny Lewis is a multimedia journalist working in print, radio, and illustration. He focuses on stories with a health/science bent and has reported some of his favorite pieces from the prow of a canoe. Danny is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus