It has been 10 years since Andre Borschberg reached 9235m in Solar Impulse

PUBLISHED: 17:24 07 July 2020

Experimental aircraft

Experimental aircraft "Solar Impulse" with pilot Andre Borschberg onboard flyes at sunrise above Payerne's Swiss airbase on July 8, 2010 on the first attempt to fly around the clock fuelled by nothing but the energy of the sun. The solar powered aircraft was flying in circles high over Switzerland at first light well on its way to completing a historic round the clock flight. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL/SOLARIMPULSE

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Ten years ago on 8 July 2010, Swiss pilot André Borschberg established an extraordinary FAI world record, which remains unbeaten, by reaching the altitude of 9235m with an aircraft powered by the energy of the sun

The flight was made at the Payerne air base, Switzerland, with one-seater airplane Solar Impulse.

During this flight, he set two other records: Gain of height (8744m) and Duration (26h10m19s), also in the Solar-Powered Airplane category. He took off on 7 July and landed the next day, thus making the first overnight flight in the history of solar aviation.

Solar Impulse's team chief Bertrand Piccard , left and Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg celebrate after successfully landing the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane after its first successful night flight attempt at Payerne airport July 8, 2010. The aircraft took off July 7 at 06:51 am and reached an altitude of 8,700 meters (28,543 feet) by the end of the day. It then slowly descent to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and flew during the night on the batteries, charged during the day by 12,000 solar cells, which powered the four electric motors. It landed July 8 at 09.00 AM (GMT+2) for a flight time of 26 hours 9 minutes setting the longest and highest flight ever made by a solar plane. (KEYSTONE/POOL/Dominic Favre/Solarimpulse)Solar Impulse's team chief Bertrand Piccard , left and Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg celebrate after successfully landing the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane after its first successful night flight attempt at Payerne airport July 8, 2010. The aircraft took off July 7 at 06:51 am and reached an altitude of 8,700 meters (28,543 feet) by the end of the day. It then slowly descent to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and flew during the night on the batteries, charged during the day by 12,000 solar cells, which powered the four electric motors. It landed July 8 at 09.00 AM (GMT+2) for a flight time of 26 hours 9 minutes setting the longest and highest flight ever made by a solar plane. (KEYSTONE/POOL/Dominic Favre/Solarimpulse)

These three records marked the first official recognition of the Solar Impulse’s performances. In the following years, FAI ratified a series of records by either pilots Bertrand Piccard or André Borschberg onboard two different Solar Impulse aircraft.

HB-SIA, rolled out in 2009, was used until 2013 to make several solar aviation firsts, such as the July 2010 flight and the 2013 crossing of the USA in several legs.

AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL/SOLARIMPULSEAFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL/SOLARIMPULSE

HB-SIB, presented to the public in 2014, was flown alternately by Piccard and Borschberg to complete the circumnavigation of Earth in several legs from 2015 to 2016.

André Borschberg, now 67, considers himself an entrepreneur with a passion for exploration. Pursuing his childhood dream of flying, he trained as a pilot in the Swiss Air Force and then earned several degrees in engineering and management.

AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL/SOLARIMPULSEAFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL/SOLARIMPULSE

In 2003, he met fellow countryman and adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who, in 1999, achieved the first non-stop ballooning flight around the world. Together they teamed up to design and fly Solar Impulse, with the aim of flying around the world using only renewable energy.

Since 2017, Borschberg has been working on H55, a technological spin-off from Solar Impulse which develops certified electronic propulsion solutions.

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