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Washington D.C.

André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard alternated roles during the flight to Washington D.C. (with a pit stop in Cincinnati) successfully bringing the solar airplane to Dulles International Airport (VA) on Sunday June 16th at 00:15 AM EDT (UTC-4). André flew the first segment from St. Louis (MO) to Cincinnati (OH) while Bertrand continued the following day to Washington D.C. This was Bertrand’s last mission flight in HB-SIA’s cockpit as the final leg of the Across America journey was undertaken by André Borschberg, connecting Washington D.C. to New York City. The final leg was also the solar airplane’s last adventure – even though it will be kept flight-ready in Switzerland - as its role will be taken over by Solar Impulse’s second generation aircraft, HB-SIB: the airplane that’s also meant to circumnavigate the globe in 2015.

 

PIT STOP IN CINCINNATI


The flight from Lambert-St. Louis to Dulles was characterized by an unprecedented flight scheme. The fourth leg of the Across America flight was spilt into two segments to train the team for potential around-the-world flight tactics and also to allow Solar Impulse to arrive in nation’s capital on time for the event week. André Borschberg completed the first segment from St. Louis to Cincinnati while Bertrand Piccard completed the second segment, landing the solar airplane in Washington D.C.

 

MEETING POLITICAL FIGURES


Co-Founders Bertrand and André had the honor to promote the adoption of renewable energies through their “Clean Generation” initiative in the US capital. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz gave an inspirational speech demonstrating how Solar Impulse aligns with four Department of Energy priorities, including solar, energy storage, energy efficiency and advanced materials. Solar Impulse was also invited to the US Congress, where André and Bertrand talked about the incredible potential of clean technologies to create profit while protecting the environment in the presence of US Representatives of Illinois, Randy Hultgren, of Arizona, David Schweikert and of Missouri, Sam Graves. And finally, André and Bertrand had the chance to go to the White House upon invitation by John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

To find out more about Solar Impulse’s week in Washington D.C., simply scroll down.

 

RELIVE THE FLIGHT!


To relive the flight, bring your cursor over the graph. By clicking and dragging your cursor you can select the lapse of time you would like to zoom in on.

To read or watch the highlights of the flight, simply click on the play buttons or clip boards along the flight route. To zoom out again, click on the “reset zoom” button located in the top-left corner of the graph.

  • Leg 4 Part 1 : St. Louis – Cincinnati
  • Leg 4 Part 2: Cincinnati – Washington D.C.

André and Bertrand receive the Spirit Award

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation offered the distinctive and symbolic Spirit Award to Solar Impulse pilots André and Bertrand. This award is given by the Foundation to pioneers who have made outstanding achievements ...

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The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation offered the distinctive and symbolic Spirit Award to Solar Impulse pilots André and Bertrand. This award is given by the Foundation to pioneers who have made outstanding achievements in aviation. The core of the Solar Impulse project is also the driving force of the Lindbergh Foundation: both believe that science and technological innovation are the solution for addressing environmental and productivity challenges of the future.

John L. Petersen, Chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation Board and passionate aviator, had already met Bertrand in 2005 when he was given the Charles Lindbergh award for having accomplished the first flight around the world in a balloon, together with Brian Jones.

The Spirit Award is usually given only after pioneers have accomplished something. Although Solar Impulse has yet to complete the flight around the world, it has already proven that a fully solar-powered plane can fly day and night and has now crossed the continental United States, West to East from San Francisco to Washington D.C.  But what truly inspired the Lindbergh Foundation and its Board Members is the fact that Solar Impulse is not only a revolutionary airplane, it’s an Ambassador for clean technologies and renewable energies.

“We’re on the edge of a revolution in aviation,” said Mr. Petersen during the award ceremony “This will clearly be a milestone in aviation history”.

Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh can be considered some of the first environmentalists. They worked on projects to try and balance technology and the environment in significant ways; exactly what Solar Impulse is trying to do today.

Looking to the future surrounded by history

On Thursday June 20th Solar Impulse Co-Founders and Pilots André and Bertrand were invited to the White House by Dr John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr Holdren expressed his enthusiasm for the project and affirmed that ...

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On Thursday June 20th Solar Impulse Co-Founders and Pilots André and Bertrand were invited to the White House by Dr John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr Holdren expressed his enthusiasm for the project and affirmed that Solar Impulse's objectives of promoting clean technologies are perfectly in line with the policies of the Obama administration.  Dr Holdren himself an astronautics engineer recognized the pioneering nature of Solar Impulse, "ten years ago no one could have imagined what you are doing now would be possible and we are all inspired by your accomplishments." Dr Holdren went on to point out that Solar Impulse is an excellent example of how technology can increase energy efficiency. 

This inspirational visit set the stage for the rest of the day. A client event hosted by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, the project’s insurance provider, Official Partner and Partner for the Across America mission illustrated the company's leading innovative approach to providing comprehensive insurance and risk management solutions. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions came on board last summer just prior to the mission flights to North Africa, putting into place insurance coverage for the airplane in less than one week.

Another highlight of an exciting densely packed day was an evening event hosted by the Swiss Confederation at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington DC. Surrounded by aviation history’s most significant aircrafts, such as the Vin Fiz and the Spirit of St. Louis, an illustrious group of senior government officials including FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, members of Washington leading think-tanks, industry associations and key influencers from the media gathered together to hear inspirational speeches by pilots André and Bertrand, General John R. Dailey, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, and his Excellency Manuel Sager, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States.

The event was also marked by some good natured humor. Ambassador Sager mentioned the first time he met Bertrand, was in 1999, when the Breitling Orbiter 3 became part of the Museum’s collection. Ambassador Sager, then Head of Communications at the Embassy of Switzerland, was keen to show the city to the man who had just completed the world’s first around-the-world balloon flight. Having showed him Washington D.C. back then, he now welcomes him once again but… with a significant upgrade: “Now that’s a promotion, from Embassy driver to Ambassador in just 14 years!”

D.C. in its entire splendor

It’s truly an incredible sight when you’re making your way down East Capitol Street in Washington D.C., blue sky in the background and a huge pristine dome filling the panorama: stunning!

We had the privilege to have breakfast inside that amazing building, Capitol Hill, home of the U.S. Congress, in the presence ...

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It’s truly an incredible sight when you’re making your way down East Capitol Street in Washington D.C., blue sky in the background and a huge pristine dome filling the panorama: stunning!

We had the privilege to have breakfast inside that amazing building, Capitol Hill, home of the U.S. Congress, in the presence of Representatives of Illinois, Randy Hultgren, of Arizona, David Schweikert and of Missouri, Sam Graves. André and Bertrand presented Solar Impulse’s message – promoting the investment in clean technologies across the globe - and discussed about the importance of inspiring youth to nourish curiosity and pioneering spirit. Everybody agreed that it’s the younger generations that can really make a difference as they will be the ones that will have the responsibility to find sustainable solutions for the future.

Bertrand and André also had the honor to take part in Diane Rehm’s show on WAMU (NPR) radio where they presented Solar Impulse and its message to over 2 million faithful listeners. Some people even called in to ask questions, engaging the pilots in some interesting conversations.

To top it all off, our Main Partner Schindler had a lovely dinner event under Space Shuttle Discovery’s jet engines. The Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has been kindly offering the incredible setting of the Museum’s hangar for numerous events. There’s no better way to talk about innovation than to be surrounded by history’s most incredible products of engineering excellence and human exploration… 

A decade of partnership, a decade of innovation

After completing the fourth leg of the Across America mission, the first to last before reaching its final destination in New York City, the solar airplane is enjoying the beautiful setting of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the

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After completing the fourth leg of the Across America mission, the first to last before reaching its final destination in New York City, the solar airplane is enjoying the beautiful setting of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Washington Dulles branch with some of aviation history’s most incredible aircrafts.

During Solvay’s employee event on Tuesday June 18th, I had a chance to talk to George Corbin, Head of Research, Development and Technology at Solvay Specialty Polymers in Atlanta Georgia. Solvay is Solar Impulse’s first partner (since 2004) and also one of the five partners - including Bayer MaterialScience, Schindler, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and the Swiss Confederation - that has made this year’s Across America mission possible.   

“It’s so gratifying to see the final product 10 years later and even more gratifying to know that the applications we’ve developed, 20 total of which 18 specialty polymers, are an integrative part of it,” said George.

Solvay produces 1’500 specialty polymer products that are used in a kaleidoscope of industries: from aerospace to electronics; from industrial applications to healthcare (spinal surgery); from water purification to blood purification (dialysis) and now allow a solar airplane to fly. One of the greatest challenges our engineers had to face was reducing the weight of the plane down to the smallest bolt. In fact, screws and bolts used in the airplane’s structure are also made of a special ultra-light, ultra-resistant polymer five times lighter than steel.

But having Solvay materials on such an innovative, clean tech-powered aircraft is also an important symbol for the chemical industry: products that might not be visible to the average consumer are showcased through Solar Impulse’s sleek silhouette proving chemistry’s integral role in building a sustainable future. 


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