-- It's the launch of the newest adventure in this first-of-its-kind aircraft.
"I'm confident that the airplane is a great airplane in terms of performance and the way that it flies,” pilot Andre Borschberg said.
He is taking the first shift, squeezing into the tiny one-man cockpit live on streaming video from behind the controls over the 5,000-mile voyage.
"In terms of safety, we are covered,” he said, “but in terms of mission, the suspense will remain."
“Our goal is to demonstrate that we can do incredible things with clean technologies and renewable energies,” Piccard said, “like flying day and night with absolutely no fuel.”
The Solar Impulse, created by over 80 companies, is part of the #futureisclean movement, led by Borschberg and Piccard. Its inventors say the technology could change aviation as we know it.
“The worst is not to fail,” Piccard said. “The worst is when we don't dare to try.”
With food, water and sports drinks, Borschberg has enough food for a week. He also has oxygen bottles, a parachute and life raft just in case. In tight quarters, the pilots -- who have been trained in self-hypnosis and meditation to deal with such a confined place -- will remain in a specialized seat.
They are able to recline and sleep while the plane is on auto pilot, but just for 20 minutes at a time, weather permitting.