Solar aeroplane Si2 makes first stop on round-the-world trip

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The solar aeroplane Solar Impulse 2 is currently in Phoenix, after it took off from the Moffett Airfield yesterday morning. Together with their team and partners, Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, are attempting the first round-the-world solar flight with no fuel to show that the world can be run on clean technologies.

After Bertrand Piccard’s three day and two night flight from Hawaii, including an iconic moment captured over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, André Borschberg took off at the controls of Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) from the Moffett Airfield on 2 May at 5:03am local time (UTC-7).

He headed towards the Phoenix Goodyear Airport where he landed on the same day around 9:00pm local time (UTC-7) after a 16 hour and 720 mile flight. From now on, the two Swiss pioneers will be relaying each other at the controls of Si2 with the objective to reach New York City as soon as possible.

The team is examining a wide range of potential destinations in the mainland to leave a maximum flexibility for route planning. This adaptability is made possible by an inflatable mobile hangar, conceived and designed to shelter the aircraft anywhere with rapid deployment, and thanks to the support and openness of the various airports authorities Solar Impulse is dealing with.

Before setting off, André Borschberg, co-founder and CEO, said:We will be heading off from the Silicon Valley, the cradle of innovation, technology and entrepreneurial spirit, a world of pioneers.

“We have had many discussions here to see how to best leverage all the technologies and know-how developed at Solar Impulse over the past ten years.

Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman, added: “We are now continuing the adventure across the United States, with the ambition to show everyone along the way, that if an aeroplane can fly day and night without fuel, we could all use these same clean technologies on the ground to develop new industrial markets and stimulate economic growth, while also protecting the environment.”

Thanks to Google’s Planetary Ventures and NASA’s Ames Research Center who made the use of the airfield available, Solar Impulse was able to run efficient and smooth operations and welcome Main and Official Partners, as well as other key stakeholders, during more than a week in the Silicon Valley.

After New York City, Si2 will continue its journey across the Atlantic before reaching Europe or North Africa and Abu Dhabi where the adventure started in March 2015.

Watch the flight live on here and follow the experience in real time thanks to the 5 on-board cameras.