El mundo de la aviación sostenible está de enhorabuena, ya que el primer avión solar dispuesto a dar la vuelta el mundo acaba de realizar con éxito su primer recorrido por el cielo. Bautizado como Solar Impulse 2, tiene previsto dar la vuelta al globo el año que viene impulsado únicamente con energía solar, todo un reto de ingeniería para un avión que, teóricamente, tiene una autonomía ilimitada.

Durante dos horas el avión solar estuvo realizando pruebas de maniobra y funcionamiento de los mandos, tras despegar del aeródromo Payerne, situado en Suiza, pasadas las cinco y media de la mañana de España. Markus Scherdel fue el piloto encargado de subir el aparato a más de 1.800 metros de altura durante la primera prueba, en la que “los primeros resultados están en línea con los cálculos y simulaciones”, tal como indicaron desde el equipo. En el siguiente vídeo puedes ver un resumen del primer vuelo del avión solar:

Durante los próximos meses realizarán más pruebas con la aeronave hasta que esté a punto para recibir la certificación de vuelo, con la que podrán, tras más de doce años de investigación y desarrollo, dar la vuelta al mundo con un avión solar.

[quote]”Un avión de este tipo es absolutamente único y por primera vez en la historia, tenemos un avión que está volando sin días de combustible, mostrando el increíble potencial de las tecnologías limpias”[/quote]

Además, toda la tecnología desarrollada para el avión solar también tienen aplicaciones para reducir la dependencia de combustibles fósiles, lo que permitirá solucionar infinidad de problemas de contaminación relacionados con el transporte, haciéndolo más limpio y sostenible. De hecho, tal como explican desde el proyecto, “no planeamos revolucionar la  industria de la aviación, sino demostrar que las fuentes de energía alternativas reales y las nuevas tecnologías pueden lograr lo que algunos consideran imposible“.

Datos del avión solar

  • Despega en 150 metros a 47 kilómetros por hora.
  • Puede alcanzar los 140 Km/hora a 27.000 pies de altura.
  • Tiene una envergadura de 72 metros y pesa 2.300 kilos (más que un Boeing 747).
  • Cuenta con 17.000 células solares para alimentar los motores.

El proyecto lo lideran Bertrand Piccard, quien en 1999 ya consiguió dar la primera vuelta al mundo en globo, y el ingeniero André Borschberg. El vuelo será de 35.000 kilómetros en cinco días, por lo que el avión solar irá equipado con comida y agua para una semana, seis botellas de oxígeno, un paracaídas y una balsa (nunca se sabe).

Del cielo a las profundidades. Auguste Piccard, abuelo de Bertrand, fue el primer hombre en ver la curvatura de la tierra al llegar a la estratosfera en 1931, y sirvió de inspiración a Hergé para crear el personaje Profesor Tornasol en Las aventuras de Tintín. Jacques Piccard, su padre, fue el primer hombre en alcanzar la mayor profundidad en el fondo de la fosa de las Marianas, hasta que James Cameron le quitó el título en 2012.

Avión Solar Impulse 2 durante su primer vuelo de prueba

Los récords del avión solar

¿Y si no hay sol qué pasa, se cae?, pues no precisamente. El Solar Impulse ya ha conquistado unos cuantos récords mundiales precisamente por su autonomía. Concretamente el vuelo más largo tripulado impulsado por energía solar; el primer vuelo intercontinental en una avión solar y la mayor distancia recorrida en un vuelo pilotado con energía solar. Y es que aunque los drones solares pueden permanecer en el aire durante semanas, el verdadero reto es hacerlo en una aeronave con un piloto abordo controlando los mandos.

Sin embargo, todas esta hazañas encontrarán su némesis en la prueba definitiva: la vuelta al mundo en avión solar. Si quieres saber un poco más de este proyecto pionero, en el siguiente vídeo puedes ver un vídeo de la construcción del avión Solar Impulse 2.

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