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“It feels great to be flying again!”

Successful first 2024 campaign

The first flight campaign of the year went without a hitch to the delight of the whole SolarStratos team who are looking forward to what will be a key year for the mission. “It feels great to be flying again,” said Jonathan Amez-Droz, SolarStratos energy systems engineer. And more so in view of the altitude record attempt, which is scheduled for the summer, in Sion. Reaching 10,000 metres and setting a record for the highest manned solar/electric aircraft in history is well within the capabilities of the aircraft and anticipation is building. All the more so in view of recent performance and the latest round of tests which were almost entirely successful.

HB-SXA: letters and numbers!

Five flights have been logged, the first of which were undertaken in winter conditions, bringing the total to 75, including one that lasted almost 90 minutes in very little sunshine. The aim of this round of test flights was to identify the best possible climbing speed using the least amount of energy. And the climb rate proved a pleasant surprise with the climbing speed turning out to be higher than calculated.

“There is every reason to be optimistic about the record”.

Considering the most recent flights, Jonathan Amez-Droz is optimistic. “We have every reason to be confident about the summer’s record attempt. Of course, a challenge like this is never a given, but the performance and all indications are positive.” And there is further good news: “Even with the new battery configuration, we were able to fly twice in one day, which demonstrates that the aircraft has retained its flexibility.” In short: we’re flying again! So, stay posted for our next round of flights in mid-April. Next time we will be aiming to fly higher than ever before in the skies above Payerne.

“An aerial view of Neuchâtel please!”

Some exchanges just happen, out of the blue, spontaneously, and they feel so good. An aerial image of Neuchâtel taken during one of the first test flights of the year and posted on Facebook caught the attention of the town hall and they posted a request by way of comment: “A photo of our town please!” No sooner said than done. The very next day, SolarStratos published a magnificent aerial photo taken from the cockpit. A gift offered with pleasure, and not just because Raphaël Domjan is from Neuchâtel! The town wrote back: “Grrrrrrreat!! We’ll share them right away!”

CSEM in the front row

SolarStratos recently welcomed the Centre Suisse d’électronique et de microtechnique (CSEM), the team’s photovoltaic partner, to Payerne, along with seventy or so guests invited to their ‘PV in motion’ workshop. The timing was perfect as the guests were able to watch our solar aircraft in flight from the Payerne Airport terrace before transferring to the SolarStratos base for a conference with mission pilot Raphaël Domjan.

Cindy and Michael, welcome on board!

The SolarStratos mission welcomed two new passengers at the beginning of the year with Michael Staehli joining as deputy flight director, supporting CEO Roland Loos, and Cindy Da Silva joining to strengthen the admin and marketing department. The whole team welcomes them!