Solar Impulse has set a new absolute world distance record for solar-powered aviation on the second leg of its trans-American journey (832 NM/ 1’541 km), helping to achieve the goal of promoting the use of clean technologies worldwide.
After an 18-hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona, the aircraft landed in Dallas Texas, after a journey of 958m.
The previous distance recordwas also established in the SolarImpulse aircraft when AndréBorschberg flew 602 NM (1’116km) from Switzerland to Spain inMay 2012. The record is now tobe submitted to the NationalAeronautics Association before itis ultimately awarded by theFédération AéronautiqueInternationale (FAI).
The flight kicked off on Wednesday 22nd May at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport when André Borschberg took off at 04:47 am MST (Arizona time). After 18 hours and 21 minutes in the air, he landed the Solar Impulse prototype at 01:08 am CDT Thursday at Dallas- Fort Worth International Airport. This is the second of five legs Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternately fly from California’s Bay Area to New York City.
“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,” 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. “You have to understand that the pilot needs to stay awake for more than 20 hours without any autopilot”
“It was exciting to have on board the list of the thousands of friends who support us in our goal of promoting the use of clean technologies worldwide. We are now looking forward to hand over our second Clean Generation flag to the Texan authorities on behalf of all our supporters. The first flag was given to the Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer,” added Bertrand Piccard, initiator and chairman of Solar Impulse shortly after André’s landing.
Five custom-designed flags displaying the Clean Generation slogan are carried by the pilots and handed over to civic leaders at each stop. To help bring attention to the need for clean technologies, Piccard and Borschberg have launched the Clean Generation initiative. Solar Impulse has gained the support of thousands of influential people worldwide, including key opinion leaders such as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and filmmaker James Cameron.
Bertrand Piccard will fly with Solar Impulse to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for the third leg of its journey. The departure date will depend on weather conditions.