Piccard is no stranger when it comes to pushing the boundaries of aviation. He currently holds the record for the first round-the-world balloon flight – a feat he completed in 1999. It was this trip which spurred his idea for Si2.
"For the 20 days of the flight I had butterflies in my stomach, being afraid of being short of fuel, short of propane gas before the success, every day of the flight" Piccard told CNBC.
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"At this moment I really understood what it means to be dependent on fossil energy, and I made the promise that the next time I would fly around the world it would be with no fuel at all, to be able to be free to fly forever…This is how Solar Impulse was born. The idea really is to fly day and night with no fuel with an unlimited perpetual endurance," he said.
As for those who doubt the viability of solar flight, Piccard says sceptics are behind the curve.
"A lot of critics are 100 years too late, they should have gone to the Wright Brother and tell them your airplane is made out of wood and cloth it has no future, it will never transport passengers on oceans, they will never fly high with passengers. Well, we see what happened."