Potty humor adds levity to historic solar-powered flight

Potty humor adds levity to historic solar-powered flight

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The Solar Impulse 2 will attempt an around-the-world flight powered by the sun. Photo: Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 will attempt an around-the-world flight powered by the sun. Photo: Solar Impulse

Sometime this month, a plane will lift off from an airstrip in the United Arab Emirates and attempt to fly around the world fueled only by rays of the sun.

How technology will keep the plane airborne, or how two pilots — taking turns during five- and six-day flights — will endure a tiny cockpit, extreme temperatures and very little sleep, have kept the company Solar Impulse busy for 12 years. Aviation history could soon be made.

Yet all anyone wants to know is how the pilots will go to the bathroom.

The Swiss company, which has not announced a specific liftoff date for the solar-powered adventure, took time from the serious science of such a flight to film a comedic video, below, to answer this burning question.

A view of the cockpit with one of Solar Impulse 2's pilots, Bertrand Piccard. Photo: Solar Impulse
A view of the cockpit with one of Solar Impulse 2’s pilots, Bertrand Piccard. Photo: Solar Impulse

Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have flown the Solar Impulse 2 for long stretches, have spent days in a simulator and have gone through intense training in meditation and self-hypnosis.

A pilot will get just two or three hours of sleep in a 24-hour period and the meditation will help them quickly reach deep sleep to get the most out of a 20-minute nap.

While the video is tongue-in-cheek, Piccard and Borschberg have presumably trained with great seriousness on the plane’s toilet, located beneath the seat.

They will need it. Along with a specially developed diet, the pilots will be required to consume 84.5 ounces of water and 33.8 ounces of sports drink each day.

The plane does not fly very fast, about 60 mph is the maximum, so the pilots will each rack up about 500 hours of flight by the time the plane lands in late July or early August.