Sunday, June 16, 2013

Solar Impulse goes coast-to-coast but not finished yet

It's time to follow up on Solar Impulse landing in Cincinnati tonight.  First, Denise Chow of LiveScience also had a story on the flight in Solar Plane Makes Stop in Cincinnati Tonight
A solar-powered airplane that is attempting to fly across the United States without using any fuel is en route from St. Louis to Cincinnati today (June 14).

The plane, called Solar Impulse, took off from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport early this morning, and is expected to land at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport around 9 p.m. EDT tonight, after approximately 16 hours in the air. During today's flight, the aircraft is expected to reach a cruising altitude of 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), according to company officials.

Originally, Solar Impulse was scheduled to fly directly from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., on this leg of the journey, but bad weather forced flight officials to readjust the route. The plane continues on to the nation's capital on Sunday (June 16).
That had more detail than the WCPO report I included in the previous installment.

The plane took off the next morning, as shown by meanwiddlekid's video: Solar Impulse departs Cincinnati - June 15, 2013.

After an unscheduled stop at Cincinnati, Ohio during its Across America flight, the Solar Impulse takes off from Lunken Field runway 21L. The morning departure had been delayed due to moisture problems that developed after the overnight stay in Cincinnati. The Solar Impulse took to the air at approximately 10:10 am EDT. The destination for this leg of the flight - Washington DC (Dulles).
The audio is not your imagination; an electric plane is just as quiet as an electric car.

Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian completes the story, for now, with Solar-powered plane flying across US lands in Washington DC.
It took nine minutes from the time the Solar Impulse first appeared in the midnight sky, lit up along the entire elegant swoop of its Airbus-size wings, to the moment the plane glided slowly and almost silently to a stop on the runway of Dulles airport in Washington.

At 00:23 on Sunday, Bertrand Piccard clambered out of the cockpit after a 14-hour flight fuelled by nothing but the sun and the photovoltaic cells along that vast wingspan. But as Piccard admitted, the technical demands of his improbable journey – in the first solar-powered aircraft to fly by night as well as day – made for a strange picture. "I was flipping the landing lights here and there to make you believe it was a UFO," he joked.

That spectacle of the Solar Impulse comes to a much broader audience on Sunday as the plane goes on limited display at the Smithsonian's Steven F Udvar-Hazy air and space museum.

For the Swiss team of Piccard and André Borschberg, who take turns flying solo, the exhibit is a chance to showcase the potential of clean energy technology. It also offers a brief pause before the final leg of their American journey Рthe relatively short hop to JFK airport in New York.

Borschberg is already plotting how to line up the plane with the Statue of Liberty for photographs.
That's right.  The journey is not over, even though the plane has traveled from coast-to-coast.  Time to repeat my wish for a successful final leg of the flight.

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