Solar Impulse Continues Flight Across U.S.

Si2 lands in Phoenix as plans for a public tour across America fall into place.

Solar Impulse Si2 Phoenix
The Si2 approaches its landing at Phoenix Goodyear Airport.Flickr/Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse cofounder and CEO André Borschberg took flight yesterday in the all-solar-powered Si2, beginning the journey across the contiguous United States. Borschberg flew from Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, California, to the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear, Arizona, at the western edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Solar Impulse Si2 Phoenix
Pilots and cofounders André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard after the Si2 successfully landed in Arizona.Flickr/Solar Impulse

As far as an Si2 flight goes, this was a short one at only 15 hours and 52 minutes. Particularly for Borschberg, whose last segment of the round-the-world flight was a record-breaking leg from Japan to Hawaii that added up to five days and nights. The average speed for the 647 nm flight was just over 43 mph, and Borschberg climbed as high as 22,000 feet.

The flight went smoothly, and Borschberg made a terrific landing at Goodyear. However, there were some winds on the ground that made the slow process of bringing the airplane from the runway to the parking area extra challenging. Around 15 to 20 people are needed to help “taxi” the airplane, a feat completed by manpower through pulling on ropes and posts attached to various points on the airplane.

Solar Impulse Si2 Phoenix
Onlookers take in the Si2's landing at Goodyear.Flickr/Solar Impulse

Si2 had been on the ground in Mountain View for just over one week after Bertrand Piccard landed there close to midnight PST on April 23. At this point there is no set date of departure from Goodyear and no specific destination; however, the team has a few options in mind. Ultimately the timing and route of the next leg, and the legs to follow as the Si2 tours America, will be determined by the weather.

Take a closer look at the Si2 with these photos taken when Flying caught up with the Solar Impulse team in Mountain View, California. Photo Gallery