Bertrand Piccard, founder and pilot of the world’s first successful solar powered plane and psychiatrist, is to be the opening keynote speaker at the 2013 Risk Management Forum of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA).

Bertrand Piccard

Bertrand Piccard




The Forum will take place from 29 September to 2 October at Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Dr Piccard, Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse,  previously spoke at the 2007 FERMA Forum when the revolutionary aircraft was still in planning. Now in 2013, he will be able to describe Solar Impulse’s achievements since then and its current flight across America.

Solar Impulse completed the third leg of its Across America mission when Dr Piccard landed the aircraft at Lambert-St Louis Airport in Missouri on 4 June 2013.

FERMA executive manager, Florence Bindelle, said: “We are excited about hearing about the progress of Solar Impulse and Dr Piccard’s approach to controlling the risks of such a revolutionary project. We thank Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, which is the sole insurer for Solar Impulse, for supporting his appearance at the Forum.”

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1958, Dr Piccard studied medicine with a double specialisation in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Since childhood, he says, he has been fascinated by how humans behave in extreme situations, and passionate about exploration.

In the 1970s, he was one of the pioneers of hang gliding and ultralight flying. An enthusiastic aviator, he then went on to obtain licenses to fly balloons, airplanes, gliders and motor-gliders. In March 1999 he made the first non-stop, round-the-world balloon flight, thus achieving, together with Englishman Brian Jones, the longest flight ever in the history of aviation.

After this, says Dr Piccard, the vision of flying around the world day and night without using any fuel seemed an obvious next step.

Note to journalists

You are welcome to attend the Forum. Contact Lee Coppack as below.