Severe Weather Forecast In The Midwest Causes Strategy Shift
In order to overcome challenging weather and keep to its cross-continent flight schedule, the solar powered aircraft of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will briefly touch down in Cincinnati to change pilots in a new strategy for its fourth Across America leg scheduled to begin Friday June 14 from St. Louis.
The flight will be split in two because strong cross and head winds may slow the aircraft and make it impossible for the pilot to reach the nation’s capital nonstop in less than 24 hours, which is the limit set for the pilot in the cramped single-seat cockpit. André Borschberg will pilot the first half of the flight from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport. After a short stopover in Cincinnati Bertrand Piccard will do the second half of the leg to land at Washington D.C. Dulles International Airport on Sunday, June 16, sometime after midnight.
Among the challenges they will encounter are strong cross winds, that will make the aircraft drift sideways for much of the flight, heavy air traffic, and crossing the Appalachian mountains, with peaks of up to 6,562 ft.
On Monday, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will greet the Solar Impulse crew during an energy roundtable and press conference, while on Sunday the public will be able to view the plane at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Washington D.C. is a strategic choice in spreading the Solar Impulse message about the importance of promoting clean technologies. Solar Impulse will present Clean Generation, its latest initiative for the global adoption of clean technologies to key decision makers. Clean Generation is a global movement supported by thousands of people and more names are added at every stopover onto a USB stick and symbolically carried in the cockpit of the airplane as virtual passengers.
While in Washington, the Solar Impulse pilots will do a live Hang-Out in the Air with Google Science Fair which will be shown a couple of hours after take-off, during the live streaming of the flight.
Other events planned include an open house, with public visits organized on Sunday, June 16 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm local time; a roundtable and press conference with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz as special guest on Monday, June 17 at noon; and several private Solar Impulse partners events throughout the week June 17 – 23.
(Images provided by Solar Impulse)