Solar Impulse Sets New Distance Record

A solar-powered aircraft from Switzerland entered the record books (again) early this morning when it landed in Dallas/Fort Worth. Pilot André Borschberg had traveled 957 miles from Phoenix in a flight lasting 18 hours and 21 minutes. The previous distance record was set last year by Solar Impulse (SI) in a 868 mile trip from Switzerland to Spain.

Solar Impulse in Phoenix (photo by Osha Gray Davidson)

Solar Impulse in Phoenix (photo by Osha Gray Davidson)

I interviewed Borschberg and SI’s other pilot, Bertrand Piccard, in Phoenix for a piece I wrote for Grist (below).

Check out, too, this GigaPan image of Solar Impulse. It’s a composite of 70 separate images taken with a robotic device and stitched together to form a seamless and “zoomable” picture. By clicking on a detail in the image you can zoom in for a closer look. Click here for the full GigaPan experience, including navigational thumbnails with explanatory text.

Solar plane crosses U.S., injects sexiness into the green conversation (Grist)

Standing beside Solar Impulse — the world’s most advanced solar aircraft — in a hangar at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on a recent afternoon, Bertrand Piccard attempted to diagnose humankind’s biggest problem.

We are being bored to death, he opined.

“People talk about protecting the environment and it’s boring,” the 53-year-old Swiss aviator/psychiatrist said. Discussions about climate change are even worse. “Those,” he added, “are boring and depressing.”

via Solar plane crosses U.S., injects sexiness into the green conversation | Grist.

Follow the Flight of Solar Impulse, Live

Update: Solar Impulse has landed

Solar Impulse in Phoenix (photo by Osha Gray Davidson)

Solar Impulse in Phoenix (photo by Osha Gray Davidson)

Earlier

At one minute after dawn this morning, Solar Impulse, the world’s most advanced solar-powered aircraft, took off from a Silicone Valley airport, under clear skies, beginning the first leg in what its backers hope will be a coast-to-coast history making flight. The extremely light Swiss-made aircraft has long wings covered with solar cells which enables it to stay aloft indefinitely — as long as it can charge its batteries in flight during the day.

 

For full live coverage, including mapping, airspeed, battery power, click here.