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Solar Impulse leaves Phoenix to Dallas as part of historic flight across America

News International-French

22 May 2013

Solar Impulse, the solar-powered airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will depart from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport on Wednesday, May 22nd for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to complete the second leg of its historic, cross-country journey.

After a successful first leg on May 3, where Bertrand Piccard flew Solar Impulse from the San Francisco Bay Area to Phoenix, André Borschberg will attempt to set an absolute distance world record in solar aviation. The Phoenix-to-Dallas trip should be over 830 miles (~ 1’337 km). The previous distance record already belongs to Solar Impulse when André flew 693 miles (1’116 km) from Switzerland to Spain in May, 2012.

The third leg of the Across America journey, from Dallas to St-Louis, will be flown by Bertrand Piccard.

By achieving historical firsts and setting new records, Solar Impulse hopes to inspire everyone to be pioneers and change-makers to bring solutions for today’s challenges. Clean Generation, Solar Impulse’s latest initiative to create a global movement to promote the use of clean technology, is already rallying thousands of people to support the adoption of sustainable energy solutions. The names of those who join this movement are carried on a USB key kept in the cockpit and transported across America as virtual passengers.

Five custom-designed flags displaying the Clean Generation slogan are carried by the pilots and handed over to civic leaders at each stop. The flags are as a symbol of inspiration for citizens, CEOs and policymakers to adopt Solar Impulse’s pioneering, clean-energy spirit. In Phoenix, the Clean Generation flag was handed over to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who visited Solar Impulse at Phoenix Sky Harbor during a dinner organized by the Swiss consulate in Phoenix.

About Solar Impulse:
Swiss pioneers Dr Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and the driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane that can fly day and night without fuel. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure that aims to bring emotions back at the heart of scientific exploration, a flying laboratory to find innovative technological solutions for today’s challenges and a vision to inspire each of us to be pioneers in our everyday lives.

This revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. A plane so big and light has never been built before. The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10HP electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881 lb lithium batteries which allow the plane to fly at night.