Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are the Solar Impulse 2 pilots who spent over 500 hours in an unheated, unpressurized 3.8 m3 cockpit. Undoubtedly, it was a challenge that required a great stamina as well as a perfect physical and mental preparation. They had to be extremely persevering to control the plane that is resistless to turbulence or changing weather conditions.
They prepared themselves physically and mentally by doing yoga exercises and meditation practice that helped stabilize body energy as well as mindset during the non-stop flights. Solar Impulse 2 is a one-pilot plane so one pilot at a time had to accomplish 13-hour to 120-hour flights.
The pilot’s routine looked like this:
- the pilot does not have a possibility to stand up due to the lack of space in a cockpit;
- the pilot faces extreme temperature or altitude changes that might even make him sick;
- the pilot wears nylon clothing to maintain his body temperature;
- the pilot takes 20-minute naps 10-12 times a day;
- the pilot can exercise in a cockpit after reclining his seat;
- the pilot can practise yoga by getting in touch with his yoga teacher via Google Hangouts;
- the pilot can practise self-meditation to keep himself focused;
- the pilot uses stocked oxygen for breathing; protein bars and energy drinks – for eating;
- in order to use a toilet a pilot has to open a drawer system that is installed in his seat;
All of these practices done by the pilots prove that it was not easy to operate the plane on their own. However, during every flight the pilot was in contact with the Monaco Mission Control center that reported on weather conditions, important numbers, air traffic and all the flight strategies that were important throughout the whole journey and had to be updated all the time.