Swiss Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg Accomplished the Second Stop Over in China Before Embarking on the Historic Pacific Crossing
Nanjing (China), April 21, 2015 – Solar Impulse 2 (“Si2”), the world’s most advanced solar-powered airplane and the first to fly day and night without fuel, landed successfully in Nanjing, People’s Republic of China, following a 20 day stay in Chongqing. With Bertrand Piccard at the controls, ...
Nanjing (China), April 21, 2015 – Solar Impulse 2 (“Si2”), the world’s most advanced solar-powered airplane and the first to fly day and night without fuel, landed successfully in Nanjing, People’s Republic of China, following a 20 day stay in Chongqing. With Bertrand Piccard at the controls, the solar airplane concluded the sixth leg of the historic trip around the world this evening at 11:28 pm local time China (3:28 pm GMT).
“My job as a pilot was relatively easy. The preparatory measures however proved challenging for our team of weather specialists and engineers from Si’s Partner Altran at the Monaco Control Center. We simulated all possible trajectories and exhausted all different strategies to get Solar Impulse 2 in the air; from defining pit-stops at airports along the route, to different speeds, altitudes and holding patterns. Throughout the entire process, the Chinese authorities have been unfailingly helpful and open to our ideas. We are amazed by the spirit of our team and the willingness of our partners to help us achieve our goal: The first Round-The-World flight without fuel” said Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Initiator and Chairman.
This journey was also essential from a technical perspective as it was used to verify and fine-tune final elements in the preparation of the Pacific Ocean crossing scheduled for early May, pending favorable weather conditions. This last leg is bringing Solar Impulse one step closer to an aviation first – the next part of the circumnavigation will require flying five consecutive days and nights in a solar-powered aircraft to cross the Pacific, a feat that has never been accomplished before.
Commenting on the arrival in Nanjing André Borschberg said:
“Nanjing represents a turning point in the entire mission; this is where everything comes together for us as pilots after initiating the project 12 years ago. This is the moment of truth where all the technical and human challenges will have to be overcome. We now have less than a month to mentally and physically prepare for what will be Solar Impulse’s longest flight to date: a five day and five night journey across the Pacific Ocean from Nanjing to Hawaii.”
Solar Impulse heads for Nanjing before crossing Pacific Ocean on its Round-The-World Flight
Chongqing (China) – April 21, 2015: Solar Impulse departed for its sixth flight from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport at 06:06 am (10:06 pm GMT [April 20th]), heading toward Nanjing Lukou International Airport in the People's Republic of China. Bertrand Piccard is flying the ...
Chongqing (China) – April 21, 2015: Solar Impulse departed for its sixth flight from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport at 06:06 am (10:06 pm GMT [April 20th]), heading toward Nanjing Lukou International Airport in the People's Republic of China. Bertrand Piccard is flying the solar powered airplane for an expected 14 hours across the country before arriving in Nanjing. Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) has been waiting patiently in Chongqing during the past three weeks for a suitable weather window to open - cloudy weather conditions and excessive crosswinds prevented an earlier take-off.
During the previous weeks, Solar Impulse meteorologists and simulation teams have battled with unfavourable weather circumstances to find solutions allowing a departure from Chongqing sooner rather than later. Strategies explored included alternative routes, possible pit stops and flying at various altitudes. While considering several possibilities, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) was very supportive, collaborative and flexible, for which Solar Impulse is grateful.
Si2 departed from Chongqing, heading East toward the city of Fuling, located in the province of Sichuan. Bertrand Piccard will fly over the mountainous region just outside Fuling between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm local at a cruising altitude of 3,700 meters (12,140 feet). Piccard will continue Easterly, crossing the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze River, after which flying North Easterly toward the city of Wuhan. The solar powered aircraft will pass over Chaohu Lake, one of the largest lakes in China at roughly 8:00 am local time. Piccard is expected to arrive in Nanjing at 8:00 pm (12:00 am GMT).
Si2 will remain in Nanjing for approximately 10 days, depending on favorable weather conditions, as a thorough check of the airplane is required before departing Nanjing to Hawaii (USA) for the Pacific Crossing which will last 5 days and 5 nights.