If you’ve been tracking Solar Impulse’s quest to fly around the world without using fuel, you may have a chance to see it up close and personal next summer. The Swiss company is planning a trip in HB-SIA, the first prototype of the all-solar-powered airplane, from the West Coast to the East Coast next year.
The journey has not yet been finalized, but Solar Impulse says it is “on the right track.” However, should the cross-country trip go as planned, it will begin in California and end in New York City with a stop in Washington, D.C. Aside from that, no details have been released regarding the possible flight route.
The founders of Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, and the company’s head of marketing and communications Gregory Blatt are in the U.S. this week, discussing the project with government officials and agencies. The Swiss government has recognized the value in the developing project and has aided the company in building important relationships that may help make the U.S cross-country flight a reality.
While many obstacles still need to be surpassed for the company to achieve its ultimate goal, Solar Impulse has already achieved some success. Earlier this year, HB-SIA, which is capable of flying at night, completed a 17-hour, 20-minute flight over Morocco, a journey that covered 369 nautical miles.