UPDATE: Multiple tornadoes touched down in the St. Louis region Friday night and caused damage to several Lambert–St. Louis International Airport buildings, including the hangar reserved for Solar Impulse. The flight remained scheduled, and the Lambert–St. Louis International Airport mobilized its forces to help Solar Impulse reorganize and confront this extraordinary situation. Solar Impulse successfully used its own inflatable hangar to park the aircraft. Conceived and designed by the Solar Impulse team for the world tour of 2015, this revolutionary structure is being used for the first time in real conditions.
The solar airplane, Solar Impulse successfully departed Dallas-Fort Worth en route to Lambert – St. Louis International Airport on the 3rd leg of the historic Across America Mission 2013. Each part of this flight was rehearsed many times. It was aviation perfection and outstanding flying for 21 hours and 21 minutes. There were significant tailwinds in the last half of the journey which caused Bertrand to remain in a holding pattern for several hours at the end of the flight. As he neared the runway on final approach, he flew directly over Lindbergh Boulevard, named after another aviation pioneer. After this successful flight the team will continue on to Washington D.C., and finally to New York. The mission schedule is shown at the end of this story. Each leg of this journey has presented its own challenges and the weather may change which can cause a delay in any of the scheduled departures. We are invited to watch the pre-flight preparations and the entire flight including the landing at SolarImpulse.com. The following is from the Solar Impulse team.
Going to History
Solar Impulse, the solar airplane, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, took off for the symbolic city of St. Louis Missouri, Monday June 3rd. Take-off was scheduled around 4:30 AM CDT (UTC-5) from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and we expect to land in the city of the famous “Spirit of St. Louis” sometime after midnight CDT (UTC-5) the next day, on Tuesday June 4th.
Across America, 3rd leg Dallas Fort Worth to Lambert St. Louis | Solar Impulse’s pilot Bertrand Piccard prepares for the flight and says farewell to pilot on the ground André Borschberg | © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch
It was a challenge to find the appropriate weather conditions in this tornado-struck region, but the conditions for June 3rd looked good and the solar airplane was ready to undertake the third leg of the Across America mission.
Across America, 3rd leg Dallas Fort Worth to Lambert St. Louis | Solar Impulse lands at Lambert St. Louis International Airport | © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch
On the footsteps of aviation pioneers, Bertrand and André want to awaken people’s pioneering spirit and St. Louis is the perfect place to do so. In fact, early US aviation history can be tracked back to the days when Charles Lindbergh transported US Mail between Chicago and St. Louis before his attempt to cross the Atlantic. Even though the historic “Spirit of St. Louis” was built in San Diego California, it was St. Louis businessmen and entrepreneurs that had the knack for exploration and financed the adventure that successfully led Lindbergh to fly from New York to Paris in 1927. In fact, the airport in St. Louis was named after an important St. Louis businessman, Albert Bond Lambert, who contributed to financing the crossing of the Atlantic.
OPEN DAY — PUBLIC VISIT
For those you that will be in St. Louis at the beginning of the week, the Solar Impulse team is trying hard to organize a public visit. If you want to get a chance to see the solar airplane, we recommend you sign up here to get on our Waitlist – we will then directly inform you of the date and time of the event should we be successful.
Don’t forget that Solar Impulse always films the entire mission flights live. Just go directly to Solar Impulse TV and see the pilots, one from the cockpit and the other from the ground, follow interviews with the people that make it happen and watch footage from past events and flights. Also on the live page, and during all flights, there’s a moving map and virtual cockpit allowing viewers like you to feel as if they too were in the cockpit. Live streaming of the flight starts about an hour before each flight.
This leg of the flight might be symbolic and the overall mission historic, but it’s also Solar Impulse’s chance to spread its message. Launched with the Across America mission, Solar Impulse’s Clean Generation initiative is meant to inspire and incite politicians, businessman and ordinary people to invest in clean technologies. The more people that join the movement the stronger the message; for this reason, a custom-designed flag displaying the Clean Generation slogan and the name of the destination city, will be carried in the cockpit during each leg together with a USB key. The key virtually carries the names of Solar Impulse supporters across the United States. If you would also like to become a supporter and virtually cross the country with thousands of others, sign up today and become a friend of the project.
The “Across America” mission at a glance:
- Early May 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
- Early to 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
On the previous leg of the mission which was between Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, André Borschberg piloted the aircraft and set a new absolute world distance record in solar aviation (832 NM/ 1’541 km). It is also the longest distance flight in the history of the project.
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