• Select your website
  • EN

Overview

Mission accomplished for the intercontinental flights!

Discover all the details of the 2012 Solar Impulse Odyssey: photos, missions and events.

Having completed its first day-and-night flight in 2010 followed by its first international flight in 2011, the solar plane once again pushed back the boundaries in 2012 with a 6,000-km intercontinental adventure lasting from 24 May to 24 July and taking it from Switzerland to Morocco and back, without using a single drop of fuel.

During this two-month odyssey under the mission name "Crossing Frontiers 2012", the pilot André Borshberg, co-founder of Solar Impulse, guided HB-SIA over the Massif Central in France and across the Pyrenees before reaching Madrid. The second stage was a trans-Mediterranean flight from Europe to Africa, crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. Finally, during the return flight, Bertrand Piccard, the pilot and initiator of the project, was lucky enough to admire the Puy de Dôme from above before returning to his beloved Swiss countryside and a warm reception in Payerne.

The Altran experts played a key role in the success of this fascinating adventure, a true challenge in light of the current state of technology. As an official engineering partner, Altran provided the solar plane with technical support throughout all the missions undertaken in 2012. The Solar/Altran team has demonstrated its cohesion and strength over the past seven years, successfully achieving every target it has set. Another milestone on the road towards a round-the-world trip has been reached and the Altran group is more confident than ever that the adventure will come to a successful conclusion.

17 July – 24 July: home again, flight from Madrid to Payerne via Toulouse

On the evening of 24 July, the solar plane landed safely in Payerne, the starting point of its odyssey two months earlier on 24 May. With this return flight punctuated by a stopover in Toulouse, Solar Impulse successfully completed the world's first intercontinental adventure using only solar energy. It was a well-deserved return home for the entire team, but more importantly there was an air of a dress rehearsal for the round-the-world trip scheduled for 2015.

7 July – 16 July: stopover in Madrid

The stopover in Madrid was a chance for Altran's guests to explore the plane and meet the actors involved in the Solar Impulse project. Employees, customers, partners, students, teachers and the media – everyone was made welcome.

6 July: return intercontinental flight, Rabat-Madrid

At the heart of this adventure 2012 was the flight from Rabat to Madrid, a journey made all the more difficult by the side winds blowing across the Iberian peninsula. With the wind speed exceeding that of the plane, the Solar/Altran team showed great skill in setting a bold course, taking the plane a long way north before letting it drift in reverse back towards Madrid.

13 June - 29 June: a symbolic flight, Rabat-Ouarzazate-Rabat

As Bertrand Piccard stresses, the aim of Solar Impulse is not to "revolutionise aviation" but to make progress in exploring new possibilities. With this in mind, Ouarzazate was a highly symbolic final destination for the 2012 flights, as the largest solar power station ever built will be inaugurated there by 2020. The journey therefore made perfect sense as well as laying down new geographical and meteorological challenges.

25 May - 5 June: 1st intercontinental flight, Payerne-Madrid-Rabat

At dawn on 25 May 2012, André Borschberg, co-founder of the project, took off from Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland: the "Crossing Frontiers 2012" mission had been launched. The driving force behind the Solar/Altran team as the plane took to the air was the desire to push back the boundaries in order to highlight the potential of renewable energies, an objective which helped all those involved to take up the challenges which were soon to arise in total peace of mind.

21 February - 23 February: virtual flight

On 21-23 February, Solar Impulse kicked off the 2012 season with a 72-hour virtual flight in Dübendorf (Switzerland). All of the teams, and in particular the Altran Engineers working on the project, were on constant standby throughout the three days, in order to best reproduce actual flying conditions. This simulation provided an opportunity to carry out the first tests for the upcoming missions.

Altran experts Focus

Portrait

Matteo Bartolini - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety
Matteo Bartolini - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety

Altran experts Focus

Portrait

Cristina Biagi - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety
Cristina Biagi - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety

Altran experts Focus

Portrait

Luigi Ferriero - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety
Luigi Ferriero - Altran expert on Solar Impulse for Security and Safety