New York City

The solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg successfully landed at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport at 11:09 PM EDT (UTC-4), July 6th 2013. This symbolic touchdown in the City that Never Sleeps marks the end of Solar Impulse’s adventure across America and concludes a mythical milestone in aviation history. Solar Impulse is the first airplane, capable of flying day and night, which has crossed the United States without a drop of fuel.

 

Piloted by André Borschberg, this final leg from Washington D.C. to New York was almost jeopardized by a tear in the fabric on the underside of the left wing. As André Borschberg was already preparing himself for the worst, the Flight Director gave orders to continue the flight and the Solar Impulse team negotiated an early landing at New York’s JFK International Airport. Check out the flight graph here below to relive the flight.

 

The week of events in New York was action-packed. Project Co-Founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were invited to NASDAQ’s opening bell ceremony on Times’ Square. They also presented the project and its message at the United Nations in the presence of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not to mention numerous partner events and public visits.

 

For more information about the week in New York City, scroll down. 

Global Compact International Yearbook

The United Nations’ Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative and practical framework meant to align businesses across the globe to ten universally ...

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The United Nations’ Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative and practical framework meant to align businesses across the globe to ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, believes in the power of the private sector to contribute to an improved standard of living through responsible growth. This is perfectly in line with what Solar Impulse wants to promote worldwide: clean technological solutions for sustainable and profitable economic development.

In this year’s edition of the Global Compact International Yearbook, Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and pilot, Bertrand Piccard published an editorial promoting Solar Impulse’s message and Clean Generation initiative, launched at the onset of the 2013 Across America mission.

Both Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg had the opportunity to talk about the project and share its message of hope and pioneering spirit to the audience at the UN Economic and Social Council this summer in New York City in the presence of the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

Bertrand believes that the heart of the problem is decision makers’, politicians’ and business leaders’ lack of initiative to take a step towards change. “The problem is that each entrepreneur expects their competitors to take the first step because there is a certain risk in being the first to pioneer and invest in renewable energy,” states Bertrand. “On the other side, the governments say that it is up to the private entrepreneurs to take the first step. And so nothing – or very little – happens.”

By using the first solar airplane able to fly day and night without fuel as a symbol for what can be done, pioneers and entrepreneurs Bertrand and André are hoping to contribute to the much needed shift in people’s mindsets. After having flown across nations and continents with the first generation prototype airplane (HB-SIA), including this summer’s epic crossing of the United States from San Francisco to New York City, the adventure will lead Solar Impulse to circumnavigate the globe in 2015 with the second airplane currently under construction (HB-SIB).

It might be long until the skies are filled with solar airplanes, but the technologies that are integrated in Solar Impulse’s graceful silhouette could (and should) already be exploited on the ground for greater energy savings in the automotive and construction industries.

Meanwhile, the solar wings continue to inspire us all to make a move for change in our daily lives…

 

Insurance for progress

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, a Solar Impulse Official Partner and sole insurance provider, organized a wonderful lunch event at Hangar 19 today, July 15th.

Opening remarks were given by Rudolf Flunger, Head of Regions & Specialty: “Development of new clean technologies would be seriously compromised ...

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Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, a Solar Impulse Official Partner and sole insurance provider, organized a wonderful lunch event at Hangar 19 today, July 15th.

Opening remarks were given by Rudolf Flunger, Head of Regions & Specialty: “Development of new clean technologies would be seriously compromised without insurance as it plays a key role in enabling the risk-taking necessary for progress. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ core business is to work with clients, like Solar Impulse, helping them to manage complex and challenging risks.”

“So many people are prisoners of old patterns of thinking, using old solutions for new challenges. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is proving its pioneering spirit by providing full coverage to Solar Impulse – a prototype experimental solar aircraft project. It took them 24 hours to accept the partnership and no more than 2 months to sign the contract,” said Bertrand Piccard.

Bertrand even shared his Grandfather’s anecdote. Auguste Piccard who, in 1931 was ready to try the first ballooning trip to the stratosphere approached insurance companies to seek coverage for his project. They all thought it was suicidal. However, once he succeeded, they were the ones to go to him, only to be turned down. Auguste said he didn’t need them anymore because he now knew it was possible to fly to the stratosphere in a pressurized cabin.

“When we did the feasibility study 10 years ago, we had no money and no team but that was actually an advantage; it gave us the freedom and time to seek other solutions and engage people from different professional backgrounds. In fact, the people that were successful in our project were the people that could accept to think and work differently than they were taught, just like Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is proving how different it is than other insurance companies. It’s the perfect partnership,” concluded André Borschberg.

Innovation at the heart of Europe

On Saturday July 13th, the Swiss Consulate organized an event for employees, friend and families. Six hundred people were present, seated between the solar airplane and a gigantic Swiss flag. Founded by two Swiss citizens, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Solar Impulse is an idea born in Switzerland.

“Seeing ...

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On Saturday July 13th, the Swiss Consulate organized an event for employees, friend and families. Six hundred people were present, seated between the solar airplane and a gigantic Swiss flag. Founded by two Swiss citizens, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Solar Impulse is an idea born in Switzerland.

“Seeing the airplane land at JFK was a very emotional and historic moment. I can compare it to when the Wright brother flew over the Statue of Liberty and landed in New York,” said François Barras, Consul General of Switzerland in New York. “Switzerland, a country poor in resources, owes its survival to its ingenuity. Today, thanks to André and Bertrand, we can showcase Switzerland’s innovative spirit.” concluded François. Switzerland was ranked the world’s #1 most innovative country this year (Global Innovation Index 2013).

“One hundred and fifty years ago Switzerland was a poor country with no resources. Today it’s at the top of the ranks,” explained Bertrand. “What changed is the mindset. People had to look for new ways to communicate with the outside world by being inventive: building bridges and tunnels. Today, Solar Impulse shows that same shift in mindset, the perfect demonstration of what can be done when you’re not afraid to try”.

It’s not surprising that we chose to bring our Swiss airplane to the United States and complete the historic crossing coast-to-coast. Our journey started two months ago at the heart of Silicon Valley, in Mountain View (CA), - America’s innovation and technology hub - ending in the city of the Statue of Liberty, New York City. What better way to promote investment in scientific research and clean technologies than to fly a solar airplane born at the heart of the Swiss Alps from the Sierra Nevada over the Appalachians?

“Don’t believe that you’ll fly in solar airplanes in 5 years as we’re currently at the same point as the Wright Brothers in 1915. But it’s a step ahead and proof about what can be done,” said André as he described the beginning of the project back in 2003. “We made it to New York City despite the challenges and we can now say that the mission was a success. However, that’s not what will remain impressed in our minds; it’s the incredible welcome we’ve had across the country and the amazing capability people have to be excited about something. It was an extremely fulfilling experience,” concluded André as he thanked everybody, including JFK International airport for accepting Solar Impulse.

By completing this journey Across America, Swiss pilots and Solar Impulse Co-founders prove yet again Switzerland’s acute ability to reinvent itself and face the challenges of today’s society.

Inspiring future engineers

Bayer MaterialScience organized an event on Friday, July 12th presenting chemistry to an audience of disadvantaged school children from the Bronx. In its mission “Science for a Better Life”, the chemical giant and Solar Impulse partner is demonstrating how research and innovation in the chemical industry ...

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Bayer MaterialScience organized an event on Friday, July 12th presenting chemistry to an audience of disadvantaged school children from the Bronx. In its mission “Science for a Better Life”, the chemical giant and Solar Impulse partner is demonstrating how research and innovation in the chemical industry are key to finding sustainable solutions for the future.

The children had the chance to see this engineering marvel with their own eyes while listing to Bertrand and André’s speeches.

Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer MaterialScience, gave the opening remarks for the event “Solar Impulse captures the core values of our company in one magnificent package. It ties in perfectly with our philosophy of ‘Science For A Better Life,’ while also serving as a rigorous test of how our materials and technologies perform in challenging conditions.”

“The project is about pioneering spirit, about adventure, about thinking outside the box,” explained Bertrand to the young audience. “It’s not easy being a pioneer. To get where we are today, we had to fail many times. But every time you fail, you’re one step closer to succeeding.”

“In retrospect, it’s always nice to think about how we got here. The project is a lot about inspiration and a direct result of how we’ve been inspired by others before us. We hope this will encourage you to do great things for the future of our society,” concluded André to the applauding audience.  

The children were extremely curious about the project and the mission with many questions about the technical details of the airplane and the challenges faced during the coast-to-coast flight. But that wasn’t all. A little girl even asked “what inspired you to be part of the project?” followed by another one who wanted the pilots to give them advice for future engineers. 


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