Solar Impulse — a revolutionary innovative project leveraging technological prowess and the spirit of adventure by means of an airplane — has completed the historic crossing of the United States, west to east, over a 2-month period in the summer of 2013. On the footsteps of aviation pioneers like the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg underwent the coast-to-coast challenge to spread a message. By flying from San Francisco to New York powered solely by the sun, the two pilots were on a mission to demonstrate what can be done with the spirit of innovation and with clean technologies.
Stopping over in cities along the way, Solar Impulse was visited by key political, business and opinion leaders, partners, students as well as the public. But Co-Founders Bertrand and André also had the honor to promote the adoption of renewable energies to influential audiences such as the US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, US Representatives of Illinois, Randy Hultgren, of Arizona, David Schweikert and of Missouri, Sam Graves; at the White House to John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and in New York at the United Nations in the presence of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
The Across America mission was also the first time Solar Impulse launched a global initiative: “Clean Generation” meant to engage likeminded people to speak out for greater investment in technological innovation for a cleaner future. As more and more supporters joined the project along the way, their names were added to a USB key and carried across the United States in the cockpit.
This year’s mission was made possible thanks to the support of Solar Impulse partners Solvay, Schindler, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, SunPower, and the Swiss Confederation. The project’s ultimate goal is to fly around the world, scheduled for 2015 and with the second generation aircraft currently under construction, HB-SIB.
Itinerary: from San Francisco (California) to Phoenix (Arizona), to Dallas (Texas) to St. Louis (Missouri) followed by a short pit stop in Cincinnati (Ohio) before continuing to Washington D.C. and New York City.
The “Across America” mission at a glance
- 3-4 May 2013: First leg San Francisco/Moffett Airfield — Phoenix/Sky Harbor
- 22-23 May 2013: Second leg Phoenix/Sky Harbor — Dallas/Fort Worth
- 3-4 June 2013: Third leg Dallas/Fort Worth — St. Louis/Lambert Airport
- 14-15 June 2013: Fourth leg St. Louis/Lambert Airport — Washington DC/Dulles via Cincinnati
- 6 July 2013: Fifth and last leg Washington DC/Dulles — New York/JFK
More videos on the Solar Impulse YouTube Channel.