November 5, 2007

HB-SIA: A symbol under construction

After four years of research, complex scientific calculations and simulations, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, leaders of the Solar Impulse team, and future pilots, presented today the final design of the 61 meter wingspan prototype airplane matriculated HB-SIA.

On this occasion, they were joined by the main partners’ CEOs, Christian Jourquin from Solvay, Nick Hayek Jr. and Stephen Urquhart from Omega as well as Josef Ackermann from Deutsche Bank, who helped reveal the 6 meter model of the prototype.

Yves de Chaisemartin from Altran, engineering partner, and Charles Edelstenne from Dassault Aviation, aeronautical advisor, were also present to mark the beginning of the construction phase of the project.

Following the press conference, the participants had the opportunity, for the first and last time before the roll-out in autumn 2008, to visit the construction hall.  They saw the cockpit, the state-of-the art solar cells, the engine of the plane and how the engineers test these elements. Furthermore, they were able to enter a unique 3D station in which they virtually entered the plane and saw every detail.

With the endeavour to reduce the environmental impact linked to business travel, the press conference was broadcast live on the Solar Impulse website.

The roll-out of the prototype is due to take place in autumn 2008.

Bertrand Piccard, President of Solar Impulse and Pilot
"The most foolish thing is not the realization of a plane flying day and night without a drop of oil, but to continue to think that our civilisation will be able to survive consuming 1 million tones of petrol per hour which is destroying the planet".

André Borschberg, CEO of Solar Impulse and Pilot
"We have now reached the first key step of the project. After 4 years of concept development, we have started the construction of the prototype airplane. It is like bringing alive what has been imagined, simulated, calculated by the engineers It will be the exploration of a new flight domain with the size of a transport airplane and the lightness of a hang glider. Weight matters so much that if during a test a component does not fail, it may be too heavy"!

Christian Jourquin, CEO of Solvay
"The scientific and technological challenge captivated us from the start. A company like ours, which is coming up to its 150th anniversary, can continue and grow only by maintaining a very solid scientific and technological basis. This was the credo of our founder and of those who followed him, and it remains the credo of present-day top management. We immediately realized that our competencies in advanced materials, plastics and other special compounds could make a key contribution to the success of Solar Impulse. Alternatives to fossil fuels, in terms of both energy production and storage, are also on our Research and Development radar screen".

Nick Hayek, CEO of The Swatch Group
"The sustainable energy problems are the major challenge for future generations. The Swatch Group and OMEGA have been working for a long time towards new solutions".

Stephen Urquhart, CEO of Omega
"Following in the steps of OMEGA’s pioneering history and in particular our participation in the conquest of space and the Moon landing, I believe the Solar Impulse project gives us an authentic and far-reaching platform to communicate a very important message in today’s world".

Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG
"Sustainability is an integral component of our corporate policies and comprises all of our business divisions and corporate functions. We are financing climate protection and climate change strategies and creating incentives through specific products for more to be invested in environmentally friendly technologies and for investors to be in a better position to diversify their risks. Moreover, our global presence and highly regarded research will facilitate the dialogue with policymakers, corporations and our clients. In a tangible and imaginative way, Solar Impulse reflects the full scope of Deutsche Bank’s commitment to the environment. We not only give money but provide our know-how for an efficient sustainability management system as well as our world-wide network".

Yves de Chaisemartin, CEO Altran
"It was all about dreams, and by joining our strengths and competences, it is to turn into reality and will improve sustainable transports. I am pride that  Altran consultants’ expertise has contributed to make it happen through their contribution on the flight simulator, energy system and the overall project management. Our support to Solar Impulse as Engineering partners and the Altran Foundation for Innovation which 2008 theme is the CO2 rate reduction in the atmosphere. These are examples of our social & scientific commitment".

Charles Edelstenne, CEO Dassault-Aviation
"As a ‘Consultant in Aircraft Manufacture’, Dassault-Aviation, provides expert advice based on its civil and military aeronautical experience. Sustainable development is at the heart of Dassault’s concerns and the company is an important participant in European R & D initiatives. Dassault is commited to optimising the design of its new FALCON airplanes in order to drastically reduce their consumption of fuel.

Pioneering spirit, family values and a sense of responsibility towards future generations typify the strong values of the Solar Impulse project which Dassault-Aviation supports whole heartedly.  Dassault-Aviation is proud to be part of this extraordinary adventure full of dreams, passion and intelligence".

For additional information, please contact:

Solar Impulse
Phil Mundwiller
Tel. (+41) 21 693 89 35

Martial Tardy
Tel. (+32) 2 509 72 30

Jeanne Keller
Tel. (+41) 32 343 95 37

Deutsche Bank
Marion Dressler
Tel. (+49) 69 910 47048

Dassault Aviation
Nathalie Bakhos
Tel. (+33) 1 47 11 84 12

Christian Le Liepvre
Tel. (+33) 1 46 17 45 11