Last December, the team at Switzerland’s Solar Impulse announced that they were planning on flying their record-breaking HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft across the United States this spring. Today, the details of that project were revealed to the public.
The aircraft is already in the U.S. It was first disassembled at its home base in Payerne, Switzerland, then loaded aboard a Boeing 747 cargo plane on February 20th. That 747 landed at Moffett Airfield in San Francisco the following day, where the HB-SIA is now being carefully reassembled. Test flights will be conducted around the San Francisco area next month.
The schedule of the Solar Impulse Across America mission is as follows:
- Beginning May 1st/First leg: San Francisco/Moffett Airfield - Phoenix/Sky Harbor
- Mid May/Second leg: Phoenix/Sky Harbor - Dallas/Fort Worth
- End May - early June/Third leg: Dallas/Fort Worth - stopover city (Atlanta, Georgia or St. Louis, Missouri – to be determined)
- Mid June/Fourth leg: stopover city - Washington DC/Dulles
- Early July/Fifth and last leg: Washington DC/Dulles - New York/JFK
According to Solar Impulse, “It will be the first time that an airplane, capable of flying 24 hours non-stop day and night powered exclusively by solar energy, will fly across America.” It won’t be the first time that a solar-powered aircraft of any type has crossed the country, as the Sunseeker I flew from Southern California to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1990.
More information on the Across America mission is available in the video below.
Source: Solar Impulse