Solar Impulse 2 Makes Triumphant Landing To NYC

It’s Solar Impulse 2, the largest solar-powered aircraft in the world, which landed in New York City — the 14th stop and the final U.S. destination in its year-long trek around the world. Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, reached the Statue of Liberty on June 11, completing its 14th leg of a journey that started at Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015, and finally landed at New York’s Kennedy Airport. The longest leg, from Nagoya, Japan, to Hawaii last July, broke a batch of records (and damaged the battery system, requiring some design tweaks). The craft is alternately piloted by Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss physician and aviator from a long lineage of adventurers, and André Borschberg, who was at the controls the final night.

Andre Borschberg, one of the pilots, flew past the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor before landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport after winging in from Allentown, Pennsylvania. “It’s absolutely incredible,” Swiss pilot said over a live video feed as the iconic statue lit up the night below him. “It’s a dream here.” Along with co-pilot Bertrand Piccard, Borschberg has set out to circumnavigate the globe in Solar Impulse 2 without using fossil fuels or emitting harmful emissions.

Solar Impulse 2 Makes Triumphant Landing To NYC Solar Impulse 2 Makes Triumphant Landing To NYC

Hence, the “light, slow-moving aircraft” completed the five-hour flight beginning from Lehigh Valley Airport in Pennsylvania. The Solar Impulse team will now move on to fly across the Atlantic to touch Europe and then head towards Middle East. “Our goal with this flight is for a clearer and more efficient world,” Piccard told CNN. After beginning the journey in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and flying east, the pilots have encountered a series of setbacks. “Until now, no one has ever attempted to fly around the world on solar power,” Piccard said. “We have nothing to base our journey against, so we have to learn how to handle everything by ourselves.”

Solar Impulse 2 is a single-seat aircraft, with the wingspan of a Boeing 747 and 17,000 solar cells. Battery-stored power fuels flights like a trip from Pennsylvania to New York. The average speed is just 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour, but the speed doubles when it becomes exposed completely to sunlight.

Solar Impulse 2 Makes Triumphant Landing To NYC Solar Impulse 2 Makes Triumphant Landing To NYC

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