First Look: Solar Impulse’s mobile hangar

A closer look at Solar Impulse's mobile hangar, engineered to withstand extreme weather and ready for the unexpected.

A couple of months ago, we caught up with Tamara Tursijan, one of the three ABB engineers embedded on the Solar Impulse team, while she was in Abu Dhabi preparing the plane for its round-the-world flight. There, she spoke about her role overseeing the mobile hangar, a portable, inflatable structure designed to be used in case of emergency landings and at airports that cannot support the airplane.

Deployed and Ready to Go:

Last week, we got to see the mobile hangar in action on Mandalay, where Tamara and the Solar Impulse team deployed the hangar for nearly a week, while the plane was grounded due to weather conditions:

Built for Sun, Wind and Rain

Designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 100 km/h, the mobile hangar takes about 6-8 hours to unpack, inflate and assemble; due to its unique design, the hangar must be assembled in pieces around the plane. First used during the Solar Impulse 1’s flight across the United States, the mobile hangar is constructed out of a waterproof, fireproof, translucent material, which allows sunlight to reach and charge the plane’s solar cells. Tamara has helped implement control systems for the mobile hangar, including the power distribution cabinets and generators that are necessary for inflating this impressive structure.

Watch the Solar Impulse team inflate and assemble the mobile hangar in the video below:




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