Published on June 14th, 2013 | by Amber Archangel


Solar Impulse, The Solar Airplane, Reroutes To Washington, DC

June 14th, 2013 by  

Solar Impulse, the most famous solar airplane in the world, is flying from historic St. Louis, Missouri to America’s capital city, Washington, DC. This ground-breaking flight is making history for two reasons. The first is that this elegant Swiss craft is flying to the political center of the United States; the second is the flight itself. It is being broken into two separate flights. This is a new change in the plan brought about by less than ideal weather. The first flight will take the pilot, André Borschberg, from Lambert–St. Louis International Airport to Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport. There will be a short stopover and the second flight will be commanded by Bertrand Piccard, who will land at Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport on Sunday, June 16. These flights start early in the day and end late at night. The following is from Solar Impulse:

Solar Impulse to Washington D.C. release: ST. LOUIS, June 13, 2013 — In order to overcome challenging weather and keep to its cross-continent flight schedule, the solar powered aircraft of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will briefly touch down in Cincinnati to change pilots in a new strategy for its fourth Across America leg scheduled to begin Friday June 14 from St. Louis

solar impulse Across America FlightDallastoStLouis landingPSflat

Across America, 3rd leg Dallas Fort Worth to Lambert St. Louis, Solar Impulse lands at Lambert St. Louis International Airport | 2013.06.04 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

The flight will be split in two because strong cross and head winds would slow the aircraft and make it impossible for the pilot to reach Washington D.C in one go in less than 24 hours which is the limit set for the pilot in the cramped single-seater cockpit. André Borschberg will pilot the first half of the flight from Lambert–St. Louis International Airport to Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport. After a short stopover in Cincinnati, Bertrand Piccard will do the second half of the leg to land at Washington D.C. Dulles International Airport on Sunday, June 16, sometime after midnight.

Among the challenges they will encounter are strong cross winds, that will make the aircraft drift sideways for much of the flight, heavy air traffic and crossing the Appalachian mountains, with peaks of up to 6562 ft. (2000 m).

On Monday, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will greet the Solar Impulse crew during an energy roundtable and press conference, while on Sunday the public will be able to view the plane at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport.

solar impulse Across America StLouisPressBriefingDayAfterLandingPSflat

Across America, St. Louis Landing Press Briefing, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg holding an authentic flying suit which belonged to Charles Lindbergh | 2013.06.04 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Washington D.C. is a strategic choice in spreading the Solar Impulse message about the importance of promoting clean technologies. Solar Impulse will present Clean Generation, its latest initiative for the global adoption of clean technologies to key decision makers. Clean Generation is a global movement supported by thousands of people and more names are added at every stopover onto a USB stick and symbolically carried in the cockpit of the airplane as virtual passengers. All those interested in being part of this movement can sign up here: www.solarimpulse.com/join_us

Solar Impulse Washington D.C. Schedule

  • Solar Impulse pilots will do a live Hang-Out in the Air with Google Science Fair which will be shown a couple of hours after take-off, during the live streaming of the flight. Follow it live here
  • Solar Impulse Open House: Public Visits will be organized on Sunday, June 16 from 1.00 pm until 5 p.m.
  • Roundtable and press conference with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz as special guest on Monday, June 17 at noon, Washington D.C.

Several private Solar Impulse partners events throughout the week June 17 – 23, Washington D.C.

Solar Impulse Lambert-St. Louis International Airport – Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport route
(please note timings are subject to change):

  • Friday, June 14 at 4 a.m. CDT (11 a.m. Swiss Time): Estimated take-off from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (MO)
  • Heading north east towards South Illinois – ascending to an altitude of 8’000 ft
  • 11 a.m. EDT (5 p.m. Swiss Time): Flying over Terre Haute in Indiana at an altitude of about 8’000 ft
  • 12:30 p.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. Swiss Time): Passing 25 miles south of Indianapolis
  • 3 p.m. EDT (9 p.m. Swiss Time): Flying over Kentucky, south of Cincinnati, and heading north towards Ohio – Cruising altitude 10’000 ft

Friday, June 14 at 9 p.m. EDT (3 a.m. Swiss Time): Estimated landing at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport (OH)

The Solar Impulse Across America mission is made in partnership with SolvaySchindlerBayer Material ScienceSwiss Re Corporate SolutionsSunpower and the Swiss Confederation.

Track the Across America 2013 mission to Washington D.C. on the Internet via computer and mobile device

During the Across America mission, each flight will be streamed live on www.solarimpulse.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook. The airplane’s position, altitude and speed will be shown in real time, while cockpit and mission control cameras allow viewers to experience the journey.

Author’s Note: These flights are fun and inspiring to watch. This is solar-powered innovation at its finest. Halfway through the last flight, we were asked to send in jokes and words of inspiration for Bertrand Piccard to help him stay awake. Maybe the same thing will happen during this flight to Washington, DC.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website, 1Sun4All.com.

  • Bryan Allen

    Solar Impulse visiting the NASM near Dulles seems ironically appropriate, since NASM owns Solar Challenger, the MacCready-designed solar-powered airplane that preceded Solar Impulse by over thirty years. Solar Challenger (see Wikipedia) was arguably a more capable airplane than Solar Impulse: Solar Challenger was stronger, far lighter, much less expensive, extremely maneuverable, and had absolutely no storage batteries. It flew 163 miles from France to England in 1981, piloted by Stephen Ptacek. It was capable of being flown far further, higher, and longer duration, but was retired after it had shown that solar-powered flight was achievable. Solar Impulse is interesting as a project intended to do an around-the-world flight, but it is not a technical advance over what was done years ago (for example, Eric Raymond’s trans-USA solar-powered flight in 1990.) Some reporter ought to ask the Solar Impulse team about these things, especially when they begin evoking Lindberg and the Wright Brothers like they have on previous occasions. Quite respectfully, their project is an organizational masterpiece, though their entry into the solar airplane field is a very late one. See Wikipedia under “solar-powered airplane” for the historical details.

  • josetony

    Maybe if we mix solar energy with biofuels we can make a good clean alternative to gasoline fueled planes. Looking at this plane reminds me of the Wright brothers plane at the beginning of the air traveling industry. So this solar plane is the first step into something new in aviation future.

    • Always reminds me of the Wright brothers, too. As well as the pushback about it “being unrealistic” that we always get. 😀

  • Rawgreen

    It must be all that hot air

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