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Solar Impulse Pilot André Borschberg Inspires Attendees

The Intersolar/ees North America Solar Movie Theater screened clips from “Point of No Return,” a documentary chronicling the around-the-world flight of the first solar-powered airplane, Solar Impulse, and hosted an audience Q&A with one of the pilots, André Borschberg and the film’s directors, Quinn Kanaly and Noel Dockstader. The plane’s inspiring journey was the result of 10 years of design and engineering work and the bravery of two pilots who took to the skies to demonstrate the limitless potential of clean energy technologies.

“The purpose of this was to build a message,” pilot André Borschberg told the audience. “Aviation makes people dream.”

Borschberg flew for five days and five nights, sleeping in 20-minute increments to achieve the mission. He was one of two pilots to battle weather conditions, aircraft malfunctions, and crew disagreements. After the screening, Borschberg spent much of his time discussing with attendees the challenges he and his team faced to complete the journey safely. Electrical failure disrupted the trip and forced a stop in Japan; and later damage to one of the plane’s wings resulted in a split between the crew over whether or not to continue the voyage.

The historic trip demonstrated how electrical propulsion can be used in aviation, and following its completion the Solar Impulse Foundation launched an initiative to select 1,000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way. More information on the trip and the foundation can be found online.