The season 2013 has come to an end and once again the Solar Impulse airplane “built in Switzerland by a private civilian team successfully” completed its mission, gathering accomplishments and records. The Solar impulse sets an important milestone in history of aviation not only in the Air but also on the Ground. The Across America mission has ended and the team will have many stories to remember.
Solar Impulse’s year was a real success proving to the world the reliability of and efficiency of clean technologies being the first airplane to fly across the USA flying day and night ONLY with solar energy. The mission’s dashboard: Across USA in six legs covering 3511miles with a total flight time of 105 hours, 41minutes.
- 03 May 2013: First leg San Francisco/Moffett Airfield – Phoenix/Sky Harbor Pilot: Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman
- 22 May 2013: Second leg Phoenix/Sky Harbor – Dallas/Fort Worth Pilot: André Borschberg, Co-Founder and CEO
- 03 June 2013: Third leg Dallas/Fort Worth – St. Louis/Lambert Airport Pilot: Bertrand Piccard
- 14 June 2013: Fourth leg St. Louis/Lambert Airport – Cincinnati/Lunken as Pit Stop Pilot: André Borschberg
- 5 June 2013: Fifth leg Cincinnati/Lunken – Washington DC/Dulles Pilot: Bertrand Piccard
- 06 July 2013: Sixth and last leg Washington DC/Dulles – New York/JFK Pilot: André Borschberg
During the second leg, Solar Impulse broke the world distance record in the solar aviation category of the FAI (936 miles / 1506 km).
On the Ground, things shows as much enthusiastic as on the Air, Solar Impulse has become a live proof to world that solar energy is a solid alternative to today’s issues. The Solar Airplane succeeded in being present in a large number of supporters through various actions and events organized during each stop along the way and also thank to the teamwork performed on media presence:
Nothing was easy and challenges where present to test the strength of the team and the aircraft. Nature showed the importance of it presence and tested the team’s skill to constantly adapt and react positively to each difficulties: in Dallas, Solar Impulse face the strong “winds that equaled the approach speed of the plane”, in St. Louis the team operated for the first time with the inflatable mobile structure because the hangar had been destroyed by a storm. Before reaching Washington, the winds were so physically powerful that they forced the solar plane to make an unscheduled pit stop in Cincinnati and during the flight to New York, “an 8 feet / 2.5 meters tear appeared on the fabric on the underside of the left wing, forcing the plane to land earlier than planned and potentially jeopardizing the final leg”. However, Solar Impulse made a world record, never used one drop of fuel and flew across the USA and this because of the combination of great plane technically and technologically and an efficient team that supports the project reaffirming the efficiency of clean technologies.
The end of year will be a great opportunity to analyze the mission in order to adjust technological and content applications with the partners. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA has being dismantled at JFK and shipped in a jumbo jet across the Atlantic back to Switzerland while the second airplane, HB-SIB is in its final stages of construction. The new generation Solar Impulse will be assembled at the beginning of 2014 and flight tests will follow later on in order to prepare the “Around the world” mission in 2015. The airplane that flew this year will be stored in Dübendorf – Switzerland and kept in a protected environment in flying conditions.
Want to be part of the movement, sign up here: http://www.solarimpulse.com/join_us/.
Note: the mission “Across America” was made in partnership with Solvay, Schindler, Bayer Material Science, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Sunpower and the Swiss Confederation.
Solar Impulse official website: http://www.solarimpulse.com
Press Release 19/07/2013 Solar Impulse successful flights in USA promote clean technologies
- Solar-powered airplane completes trans-America flight (gizmag.com)
- Solar Impulse, Famous Solar Airplane, Carries a Message (VIDEO) (cleantechnica.com)
- Solar Plane Pilot Plugs Renewable Energy (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Solar Impulse Airplane to Complete Cross-Country Flight in New York Tonight (inhabitat.com)
- Solar Impulse lands in New York (upi.com)
- Solar Impulse plane ends American odyssey with fears, tears and cheers (nbcnews.com)
- Solar Impulse aims to push innovation on the ground (cbsnews.com)
- Rhone Resch: Solar Impulse Lifts Solar Industry to New Heights (huffingtonpost.com)
- Piloting Into the Future: Solar Impulse (forbes.com)