Solar Impulse Takes Off on Transatlantic Flight

Historic round-the-world flight continues from the U.S. mainland to Europe.

Solar Impulse Transatlantic
Solar Impulse is in the midst of its flight from New York to Europe.Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse cofounder Bertrand Piccard took off early yesterday morning from New York following in the historic tracks of Charles Lindbergh over the Atlantic Ocean. If successful, Piccard’s transatlantic flight will go down in history as the first conducted without the use of any fuel. Piccard is at the controls of the all-solar-powered Si2.

“Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight marked a new area in aviation and contributed to the progress of air transport on a large scale,” Piccard said. “With Solar Impulse, our aim is to encourage the deployment of clean technologies everywhere. If an airplane can fly day and night without fuel, everybody could use these same efficient solutions in their daily lives.”

Piccard, however, will not land in Paris as Lindbergh did. Instead his current flight path has a final target of Sevilla, Spain. The destination could change if the weather in Sevilla changes in the next couple of days. The flight is expected to take somewhere between 90 and 110 hours. At this point, Piccard has successfully completed about 40 percent of the challenging flight.

The Si2 will continue on to Abu Dhabi, where the round-the-world journey began in March of last year. In July, Solar Impulse cofounder and CEO André Borschberg completed the longest solo flight in history when he flew the Si2 across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii, a flight that lasted five days and nights.