New Delhi: The entire nation is excited about the Solar Impulse aircraft, powered solely by the sun's energy that landed in Ahmedabad on March 10 night and took off on Wednesday for its next leg to Varanasi on its global flight. But have we ever thought of what the pilots are eating while on this special flight?
Nestle scientists have spent four years working closely with the Solar Impulse project to develop a range of meals and snacks that can withstand extreme variations in temperature and climatic conditions and give the pilots the proper energy and protein content to cope with tough physical conditions, a company statement said here.
“The meals are tailored to the preferences and needs of the pilots, offering them some comfort and reward on their journey. In addition to the specially designed food and drinks the pilots will be supplied with Nestle bottled water and Nescafe soluble coffee,” it said.
The flight is expected to take around five months, consisting of multiple stop-overs in locations including China, India and the United States, spanning 35,000 kilometers and some 500 hours of actual flying time.
“We are proud that Nestle is part of this ground-breaking journey. Nestle Research has developed food that resists extreme conditions and provides the right levels of nutrition, which is essential for the mission to be a success,” Sanjay Khajuria, senior vice president for corporate affairs at Nestle India Ltd, said.
“The right food and nutrition are critical to the success of our mission, sustaining us for the long journey around the earth. We have benefited from the scientific expertise and experience of the scientists at Nestle Research who have developed meals specially tailored for us. By working closely with the team, we also know that we'll enjoy meal times – providing some comfort in such an extreme environment,” pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg said.
Solar Impulse's unprecedented mission brought with it unprecedented challenges. Food and water for a week will be carried on board, but weight is a key factor in the mission's success.
“There is only limited space on board to exercise given the very small cabin – the daily intake for the pilots is 2.4 kg of food, 2.5l of water and 1l of sports drink per day, during the longest legs of the flight,” the statement said.
The nutritional programme is personalised, with a nutritionally adapted dietary plan for each pilot, aimed at coping with extreme environmental conditions. The programme is also designed to be sustainable and rewarding for the pilots.