Solar Impulse flies to Phoenix

Co-founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg celebrate completion of the first leg of the solar-powered composite aircraft's trip across the U.S., part of the Clean Generation initiative.

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Solar Impulse, the solar airplane created by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, successfully launched the “Clean Generation” initiative by completing the first leg of the 2013 Across America mission – the first crossing of the United States by a solar-powered airplane capable of flying day and night.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard took off from Moffett Airfield at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California at 06:12 AM PDT (UTC-7) and, after an 18-hour flight over the Mojave Desert and into Arizona, he landed the prototype solar aircraft just after midnight at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. This is the first of five legs that will lead the project’s co-founders, Piccard and Borschberg, to alternately fly the solar airplane to New York.

By crossing the United States the two men are launching the “Clean Generation” initiative – a global awareness-raising movement advocating for greater investment in innovative technologies for sustainable energy production and use. Thousands of supporters worldwide have joined the movement and their names will be virtually brought by the pilots across America by means of a USB key – and with every stopover more will be added.

“We’ve been dreaming about crossing the United States for years, the land of scientific research, innovation and aviation pioneers, and it’s hard to believe it’s really happening.” says Borschberg. “We are thrilled to have safely and successfully completed this first leg and we weren’t alone: thousands of names of our supporters virtually accompanied us. With them, we launched the  initiative promoting clean technologies.”

A number of events will be organized during the Phoenix stopover including visits open to the public on Sunday May 5th and Tuesday May 7th. Because the solar airplane will be in a secured airport zone, the spaces available will be limited in accordance with airport security rules. People have to register in advance for Tuesday 7th May through http://solarimpulseatphoenixontuesday.eventbrite.com/