Are there any innovations that were made during the development or flight of the Solar Impulse plane that would go into any type of regularly used airplanes in the near future?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Jay Carr, SMS von der Tann, kepler22b, fooot, Simon Apr 24 '16 at 6:51

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    $\begingroup$ are you asking if Is there any benefit to science or any innovations that would go into any type of regularly used airplanes in the near future? those are quite different questions, and the first is heavily faulted. $\endgroup$ – Federico Apr 23 '16 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ I can see the idea behind the question but it's very speculative. The pioneers in many different fields had no idea how or if their work would be used in the future, and predictions were often wrong. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Apr 23 '16 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hate to say it, but this question calls for some very speculative answers and, as a result, the answers are going to be opinion based. This would be better for a discussion based forum (like reddit.com/r/aviation). Or perhaps in chat here. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Apr 23 '16 at 22:40

As you can see from the massive delay in its flight schedule, the Solar Impulse II has run into some problems. This is always an indication that something has been learned. Unfortunately, what has been learned is that electric flight is even harder than expected.

The value of this particular airplane is the demonstration that purely electric long-range flights are possible, and in this it ranks with the first rocket-powered airplanes in 1928 and 1929 - yes, it can be done, but for now there is no practical value in it.

As for long term developments - this is just speculation, but I doubt that in 50 or 100 years we will see the Solar Impulse II as the starting point of a new era.


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