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Across America Mission: Solar Impulse reaches Washington D.C.

Solar-Impulse-Washington DCSolar Impulse, the solar-powered airplane of Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, reached Washington D.C. yesterday at 12:15am EDT.

The Solar Implulse Across America Mission team had planned the fourth leg to go from St. Louis to Washington D.C., but strong cross and head winds made it impossible for the aircraft to reach the capital within 24 hours (the maximum flight duration of Solar Impulse reached so far is 26h10m19s, see below). The leg was therefore split into two flights: Borschberg flew from St. Louis to Cincinnati, Ohio, on 14 June, and Piccard from Cincinnati to Washington D.C. on 15 June.

After Bertrand Piccard’s landing at Washington Dulles International Airport , André Borschberg said, “with the successful completion of these last four US flights, we have shown that we are capable of coping with challenging meteorological conditions for our weather-sensitive plane and for our ground operations, and that we could find each time the right solutions to move forward. It has been a succession of fruitful learnings preparing us for the 2015 world tour.”

2013 06 15 AcrossAmerica FlightCincinnatiWashingtonDC take-off revillard--28 sSolar Impulse takes off from Cincinnati
(photo: Solar Impulse | Revillard  | Rezo.ch)

Across America Mission

3 May 2013: First leg San Francisco/Moffett Airfield – Phoenix/Sky Harbor
22 May 2013: Second leg Phoenix/Sky Harbor – Dallas/Fort Worth
3 June 2013: Third leg Dallas/Fort Worth – St. Louis/Lambert Airport
14 June 2013: Fourth leg A St. Louis/Lambert Airport - Cincinnati/Lunken
15 June 2013: Fourth leg B Cincinnati/Lunken – Washington DC/Dulles
Early July 2013: Fifth and last leg Washington DC/Dulles – New York/JFK

Fly with us in the cockpit

The Solar Impulse team has set up a programme called "Fly with us in the cockpit" to create an influential global movement to promote the use of clean technology. Anyone can have their name carried in the cockpit of the solar airplane flying across the United States and show their support for clean technology.

Solar Impulse world records (including claims)

Sub-ClassType of RecordPerformanceDateClaimantStatusId
CS Absolute altitude 9235 m 2010-07-08 André Borschberg (SUI) ratified - current record 16042
CS Duration 26 h 10 m 19 s 2010-07-08 André Borschberg (SUI) ratified - current record 16044
CS Gain of height 8744 m 2010-07-08 André Borschberg (SUI) ratified - current record 16043
CS Distance along a course, pre-declared waypoints 1487.6 km 2013-05-23 André Borschberg (SUI) preliminary record claim received 16816
CS Free Distance 1506.5 km 2013-05-23 André Borschberg (SUI) preliminary record claim received 16817
CS Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints 1099.3 km 2012-05-25 André Borschberg (SUI) ratified - current record 16558
CS Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints 1386.5 km 2013-05-23 André Borschberg (SUI) preliminary record claim received 16815

Photo credit: Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse, which departed yesterday 22 May from Phoenix, reached Dallas this morning, thus achieving a flight that might prove to be the longest flight ever made with 1’541 km.

With this performance André Borschberg, who piloted the plane in this 2nd leg of the Across America Mission, would supersede the record he himself established in 2012

All the data from the loggers must be now be provided by the Solar Impulse team to the National Aeronautics Association and then to the FAI for ratification. Observers from the FAI Amateur Built and Experimental Aircraft Commission (CIACA) were present in Dallas and at the Observation Centre in Payerne, Switzerland to collect the flight information. The Observers included CIACA President Alfons Hubmann.

“This leg was particularly challenging because of fairly strong winds at the landing. It also was the longest flight – in terms of distance - ever flown by a solar airplane. You have to understand that the pilot needs to stay awake for more than 20 hours without any autopilot” said André Borschberg, co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse who still holds the record for the longest duration ever in a solar powered airplane with 26 hours.”