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Solar Impulse, the Solar-powered Airplane, Successfully Completes its First Cross Country Mission

Published on 2013-05-14. Author : SpecialChem

PHOENIX (AZ) -- Solar Impulse, the solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, successfully launched the "Clean Generation" initiative by completing the first leg of the 2013 Across America mission - the first crossing of the United States by a solar-powered airplane capable of flying day and night.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard took off from Moffett Airfield at NASA's Ames Research Center (CA) at 06:12 AM PDT (UTC-7) and, after a 18 hours and 18 minutes flight from southern California, over the Mojave National Preserve and into Arizona, he landed the HB-SIA prototype at 00:30 AM MST (UTC-7) at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. This is the first of five legs that will lead the project's co-founders, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, to alternately fly the solar airplane coast-to-coast from California to New York.

By crossing the United States André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard are launching the "Clean Generation" initiative - a global awareness-raising movement advocating for greater investment in innovative technologies for sustainable energy production and use. Thousands of Supporters worldwide have joined the movement and their names will be virtually brought by the pilots across America by means of a USB key - and with every stopover more will be added.

"We've been dreaming about crossing the United States for years - the land of scientific research, innovation and aviation pioneers - and it's hard to believe it's really happening." said André Borschberg (Co-Founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse) and Bertrand Piccard (Initiator, Chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse) as they walked down the runway. "We are thrilled to have safely and successfully completed this first leg and we weren't alone: thousands of names of our supporters virtually accompanied us. With them, we launched the "Clean Generation" initiative promoting clean technologies."

Flight Report: San Francisco - Phoenix

Pilot: Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman
Take-off time: May 3rd 2013 06:12 AM PDT (UTC-7)
Time of landing: May 4th 2013 00:30 AM MST (UTC-7)
Flight duration: 18h18 min
Average ground speed: 65,5 km/h ( 40,6 m/h)
Highest altitude reached: 6'400 m (21'000feet)
Average altitude: 3'050 m (10'000 feet)
Flight Distance: 1203 km (~650 NM)

The "Across America" mission at a glance:

  • May 3rd 2013: First leg San Francisco/Moffett Airfield - Phoenix/Sky Harbor
  • Mid May 2013: Second leg Phoenix/Sky Harbor - Dallas/Fort Worth
  • End May - Early June 2013: Third leg Dallas/Fort Worth - St. Louis/Lambert Airport
  • Mid June 2013: Fourth leg St. Louis/Lambert Airport - Washington DC/Dulles
  • Early July 2013: Fifth and last leg Washington DC/Dulles - New York/JFK

Main Partners

At the highest level of association with and contribution to the project are four Main Partners, each in a different field of activity. These partners are named on the airplane, on the pilots' uniforms and on those of the Solar Impulse Team, on all construction and operations sites and during all flight missions. Their Main Partners's reputation and influence are essential to the success of the project. They help to relay its key messages and also benefit from the project's enormous communications potential. Right now the four Main Partner slots have been filled. These Main Partners, who have already guaranteed the construction of the first two prototypes are SOLVAY, an international industrial Group active in Chemistry, OMEGA, a watch brand with a worldwide and 'lunar' reputation and a pioneer of Olympic timing, and DEUTSCHE BANK which through the project is communicating its taste for performance and its long-term vision, which includes strengthening the link between economics and ecology. SCHINDLER, a leading global elevator and escalator provider, and a technology pioneer for clean mobility.

About Solar Impulse

Swiss pioneers Dr. Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and the driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane that can fly day and night without fuel. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure that aims to bring emotions back at the heart of scientific exploration, a flying laboratory to find innovative technological solutions for today's challenges and a vision to inspire each of us to be pioneers in our everyday lives.

This revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. A plane so big and light has never been built before. The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10HP electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881 lb lithium batteries which allow the plane to fly at night.

Source: Solar Impulse

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