In 1980 already, GŁnter Rochelt's Solair I clearly demonstrated the possibility of powering an airplane solely by solar energy.
The Solair I reached an altitude of more than 1000 m, and Rochelt established a world record with over 5 hours and 40 minutes of 100 % solar powered flight time.
Solair I had major shortcomings regarding fitness for everyday use. The solar cells were glued permanently to the wing surface and the structure of this first man carrying solar plane was lavish and complicated so the Solair I is now on display in the Munich Deutsches Museum after an extensive phase of test and record flights.
The announcement of the Ulm Berblinger Contest 1996 was the reason to develop a new solar plane based upon the experiences gained with the Solair I. Besides improving performance, a main object was to reach a higher level of useability by combining the Solair I practical experiences with all those new developments in the fields of solar energy, aerodynamics, weight optimized structures, composites, propulsion and control over the last 16 years.
So the development of the Solair II was connected with a great deal of innovative objectives and ideas, with the main intention of improving fitness for everyday use.
Nevertheless, the central point was to build a pure solar plane right from the start, so no compromises would be made - and always decided to re-design available or existing components if there was a fair chance of improvement.