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Solar Impulse makes history with Across America Mission completion

2013 07 06 AcrossAmerica FinalLeg FlightWashingtonDCNewYork landingJFK Merz 015Solar Impulse completed its journey across America using solely solar energy. This achievement was made on the occasion of the Across America Mission which aimed at flying Solar Impulse from the West to the East coast of USA in 5 legs without using fuel.

The Mission was completed yesterday when André Borschberg (right in the picture) landed in New York John F. Kennedy International Airport after a 18h23 min flight from Washington Dulles. The landing happened 3 hours earlier than planned because of a rip in the fabric on the lower side of the left wing.

“This last leg was especially difficult due to the damage of the fabric on the left wing. It obliged the team to envisage all the possible scenarios, including bailing out over the Atlantic. But this type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavour. In the end, this didn’t prevent us from succeeding in our Across America mission and provided an invaluable learning experience in preparation for the round-the-world tour in 2015,” said Borschberg shortly after landing,

André Borschberg was welcomed at New York by city authorities and also Bertrand Piccard (left in the picture), co-founder with Borschberg of the Solar Impulse project.

“Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers. During this journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies. In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels,” said Piccard.

The FAI has received three preliminary world record claims for Distance along a course, pre-declared waypoints (1487.6 km), Free Distance (1506.5 km) and Straight distance, pre-declared waypoints (1386.5 km) following Solar Impulse's flight from Phoenix to Dallas.

Flight Report: Washington Dulles International Airport – New York John F. Kennedy International Airport

Pilot:     André Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO
Take -off time:     July 6, 2013 04:46 AM EDT (UTC-4)
Time of landing:     July 6, 2013 11:09 PM EDT (UTC-4)
Flight duration:     18h 23min
Average ground speed:     27km/h (15 kts)
Highest altitude reached:     3110 m (10 200 ft)
Flight Distance:     495 km (~267 NM)

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
6 July 2013: Fifth and last leg Washington DC/Dulles – New York/JFK

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 | Merz | 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.”