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Solar Impulse Cross-US Flight Launches (+ Solar Impulse Video)

The popular solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse is taking off for a cross-US flight tomorrow (Friday, May 3) at 6am Pacific Time / 9am Eastern Time. A live stream of the takeoff can be watched in the video player below.

Update: the live stream is over, so here’s a video of the Solar Impulse:

Here’s the original press release from the Solar Impulse team to go with the momentous US launch:

Mountain View (CA), 02 May 2013 – On May 3rd Solar Impulse, the Swiss solar powered airplane, will depart from San Francisco with Bertrand Piccard in the single seater cockpit, to complete the first leg of its coast-to-coast flights across the USA: first stop will be Phoenix (AZ). It is the first time that a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, will attempt to fly across America. This journey is also the occasion to launch an initiative called “Clean Generation” to gather worldwide support for the adoption of clean technologies.

Flying Coast to Coast across the United States has always been a mythical endeavor in aviation history. Achieving this in a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, shows the enormous potential of clean technologies in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy use. With this adventure, Solar Impulse wants to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to embrace the pioneering spirit that allowed this revolutionary solar-powered airplane to become a reality.

This is why thousands of people, amongst which James Cameron, Buzz Aldrin, Al Gore, Richard Branson, Elie Wiesel and Erik Lindbergh, are supporting the “Clean Generation” Initiative to encourage governments, businesses and decision-makers to push for the adoption of clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions. The names of all those who will join this movement of pioneers will be carried in the cockpit of the airplane as virtual passengers. At every stopover city along the way, more and more names will be added onto the list. 

All those interested in being part of this movement of influencers can sign up here: http://www.solarimpulse.com/join_us/.

About the first leg San Francisco — Phoenix

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be Solar Impulse’s first stop. The airplane is expected to take off on Friday May 3rd at 06:00 am (PDT) from Moffett Field, NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View (CA), and land the following day around 1 am (MST) in Phoenix (AZ). Estimated flight duration is 19 hours.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternately pilot the solar airplane to complete the challenge of flying without a drop of fuel across the USA from the West to the East Coasts. The first leg of the flight leading to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (AZ) will be completed by Bertrand Piccard. André Borschberg will fly for the last leg culminating in New York at JF Kennedy Airport.

Solar Impulse Moffett Field – Phoenix Sky Harbor route:

06:00 am PDT (03:00 pm Swiss Time): Take-off from Moffett Field, Mountain View (CA) USA

08:00 am PDT (05:00 pm Swiss Time): Heading south east towards Fresno – ascending to an altitude of 16’000 ft

01:30 pm PDT (10:30 pm Swiss Time): Passing Bakersfield continues direction Palmdale – cruising altitude 21’000 ft

04:30 pm PDT (03:30 am Swiss Time): Flying over Barstow – continue direction Arizona between Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park

01:00 am MST (10:00 am Swiss Time): Estimated landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor (AZ) USA

The Solar Impulse Across America flight mission is made in partnership with Solvay, Schindler, Bayer Material Science, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Sunpower and the Swiss Confederation.

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  • Fred F

    Looks like one of my RC sailplanes from the early ’70′s.