Solar Impulse 2 above the Statue of Liberty
The aircraft Solar Impulse 2, single-seat monoplane flying on a solar energy only, landed on Saturday morning in New York City closing its 14th leg of historic one-year flight around the world.
“It was symbolic to fly over the Statue of Liberty being free from fossil fuel,” Borschberg told CNN. “The weather was perfect last night, too. I felt like a 3- or 4-year-old looking at a Christmas tree. I was so excited.” The aircraft landed about 4 a.m. ET.
As pointed out at SI2 webpage, the adventure began with Bertrand Piccard’s vision that clean technologies and energy efficiency can reduce our emissions and improve our quality of life. After the 8 world records set by the Solar Impulse prototype, when it became the first solar airplane ever to fly through the night, between two continents, and across the United States, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are now attempting the ultimate phase of the adventure: the 2015-2016 First Round-The-World Solar Flight that began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi.
Being the first flight of its kind ever, there’s number of setbacks and chalenges that team is dealing with on a daily basis. “We have nothing to base our journey against, so we have to learn how to handle everything by ourselves.” Piccard said to CNN.
In July 2015 the team set new world record, the world’s longest nonstop flight with no fuel. André Borschberg completed 5-day 5-night record-breaking flight from Japan to Hawaii, using only the power of the sun.
After a series of frustrating weather delays in China that delayed travel time, in the almost five-day flight from Japan to Hawaii, Borschberg piloted the plane wearing an oxygen mask as it climbed up 5 miles (8,000 meters) during the day to allow the solar cells to absorb enough energy.
“We made a mistake with our batteries,” Piccard told CNN after the plane touched down in July. “It was a human mistake.” That human mistake took more than nine months to fix.
SI2 landing in New York (Foto by CNN)
The wingspan of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, the weight of a family car, the power of a small motorcycle, Solar Impulse 2 is the largest aircraft ever built with such a low weight. More than 17.000 solar cells fills 4 bateries and runs 4 propelers and results with average airspeed of 75 km/h.
After the 8 world records set by the Solar Impulse prototype, when it became the first solar airplane ever to fly through the night, between two continents, and across the United States, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are now attempting the ultimate phase of the adventure: the 2015-2016 First Round-The-World Solar Flight.
Prior to its arrival in Lehigh Valley, Solar Impulse 2 made stops in India, Myanmar, China, Japan, Hawaii, California, Phoenix, Tulsa and Dayton.
FInishing the US part of the journey Solar Impulse 2 team is just two-steps from achieveing the goal and completing the trip around the world. The next leg is a risky non-stop flight across the Atlantic, the one that will take Solar Impulse 2 to Europe. Piloted by Piccard, the trans-Atlantic flight has not yet been scheduled. From Europe, the final leg will take the crew to Abu Dhabi by late summer, the point where odyssey has started.