Aviation Pioneer Bertrand Piccard at Bayer in Leverkusen

November 26 2012

Swiss aviation pioneer Bertrand Piccard is banking on innovations from Bayer for his planned around-the-world flight without any fuel. The aircraft, which is expected to complete its unprecedented mission in 2015 powered solely with solar energy, is currently under construction. Materials from Bayer serve primarily to make the aircraft as light as possible. A model of this first aircraft is among the items on display at Bayer’s BayKomm Communications Center. Visitors can also get an idea of the capabilities of a new insulating material developed by Bayer that will be used in the crucial second aircraft. “Our company has particular expertise in the field of energy and resource efficiency, one of the key issues of this century,” said Dr. Richard Pott of the Bayer AG Board of Management. “We are pleased that we are able to contribute to the success of this fascinating project.” Bayer and Solar Impulse recently expanded their collaboration. “The Bayer Cross will be displayed on the aircraft in the future as a visible symbol of this fruitful partnership,” said Pott. In addition, the innovative polyurethane foam Baytherm Microcell will be used as insulation in places. It offers significantly greater insulating performance than the current standard. Highly efficient insulation is particularly important for the aircraft because it must withstand temperature fluctuations between minus 40 and plus 60 degrees Celsius. Another innovation announced by Van Osselaer was the use of carbon nanotubes (Baytubes) in structural components. This will enable additional material and weight savings to be achieved for the aircraft, which has the wingspan of an Airbus. Piccard said that the first manned around-the-world flight without fuel is expected to take 20 flight days, five or six of which just to cross the Pacific and two to three for the Atlantic crossing. Including the necessary breaks, the solar-powered aircraft’s journey from west to east will take a total of three to four months.

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