Swiss pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard brought their vision for a clean energy future to New York City with the successful landing of their sun-powered, zero-emissions Solar Impulse 2 airplane at John F. Kennedy International Airport early Saturday morning. Before arriving at its final stop in the United States as part of a journey around the world, SI2 flew over the Statue of Liberty. “It was symbolic to fly over the Statue of Liberty being free from fossil fuel,” said Borschberg, who was in the cockpit for the 14th leg of the trip — a five hour flight from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania to NYC (Piccard is taking the helm for the cross-Atlantic portion).
The journey began on March 9, 2015 with takeoff in Abu Dhabi, UAE. SI2 has travelled 18,540 miles of a planned 25,000 mile trip that is powered by 17,000 solar cells built into carbon fiber wings that span 236 feet (72 meters). The leg from Japan to Hawaii set world records for longest distance and duration for solar aviation and the world record for longest solo flight.
On Monday, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, plans to visit Borschberg and Piccard and the SI2 team in New York and tour the aircraft for the first time.
“Solar Impulse is more than just an airplane, it’s a symbol which illustrates the power of clean technologies in all fields, not only in the aviation world,” SI2 stated on its blog. “Every clean technology that has been used to build the plane can be applied to real life – from the efficient and lightweight materials it carries to the renewable energy source it uses. It can thus help politicians understand the direct benefits those technologies provide to tackle today’s challenges: climate change, economical growth.”
Via ABC News
Images via Solar Impulse