OMEGA & Solar Impulse

In the 1960s, OMEGA and the rest of the world looked to the Moon. The first lunar landing was seen as the ultimate human adventure. Forty years later, priorities have changed and OMEGA and its Solar Impulse partners are looking at ways to tap into the power of the sun to address our planet’s pending ecological crisis.


Forty years after first landing on the Moon, OMEGA has taken up another formidable challenge also destined to make history. The company is a Main Partner in the Solar Impulse project, which aims to circle the globe in an airplane powered only by the sun.

In 2010, the HB-SIA, the Solar Impulse prototype with its impressive 63-metre wingspan, flew all through the night powered only by the energy of the sun collected by its solar cells the day before. It was a major step toward the project’s ultimate goal as it demonstrated convincingly the viability of the concept.

As a Main Partner, OMEGA provides financial support but has also been able to contribute significant technological expertise. For example, the OMEGA Instrument, designed by Swiss aeronautics legend, Claude Nicollier, indicates flight path and lateral drift and can be read easily by the pilot. The indications are highly visible but there are also vibrating alarm devices in the sleeves of the flight suits which will ensure that the pilot will react in a timely fashion to the critical information provided by the instrument.

OMEGA was also responsible for a lightweight landing light system which delivers an astonishing watts per weight ration. On each wing is a set of LED landing lights whose brightness is amplified by a correlation lens. Additional sets of “promotional” lights are positioned along each wing. The lights are all protected by very strong windows which are made from the same resilient plastic used in Swatch watches. Altogether, the landing and promotional lights, their windows, the power transformer and connectors and the wiring weigh less than two kilograms!

This Solar Impulse venture will contribute substantially to the scientific and ecological development of alternative means of sustainable energy for the future.

Like our partners in the Solar Impulse project, we at OMEGA are concerned about the planet’s finite resources. There is an urgent need to tap into viable sustainable energy sources. The success of Solar Impulse will inspire people to realize that there is an enormously powerful energy source only eight light-minutes away, which has the potential to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources and fossil fuels. There is no nobler aspiration than that of improving our planet’s health and enhancing its sustainability.

“. . . a project which has the potential to benefit the entire planet.”

OMEGA and its partner companies at the Swatch Group are used to looking for non-standard approaches to the optimization of systems and devices and the engineers and technicians look forward to the unusual challenges posed by Solar Impulse. It is gratifying to deliver creative, reliable, robust solutions and to be a part of a project which has the potential to benefit the entire planet.

www.solarimpulse.com
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