Landing is prelude to first transatlantic flight without fuel and end of trans-global mission in Abu Dhabi
Circumnavigating the globe on solar energy alone, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is scheduled to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, weather permitting, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Abu Dhabi on the final leg of its round-the-world journey.
Solar Impulse 2 and its predecessor Solar Impulse I has set world records as the first solar airplane to fly through the night, between two continents and across the United States. Now, it is attempting to become the first around-the-world solar flight.
“We are delighted to welcome Solar Impulse 2 back to JFK Airport. The clean technology exemplified by Si2 demonstrates clearly that renewable energy sources are reliable and capable of helping reduce fossil fuels in air travel,’’ said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “This innovative aircraft is proving that continuous flight without fossil fuel is possible. Our agency applauds the work of Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg and the Si2 team.”
Si2, an experimental aircraft, boasts a 236-foot wingspan – greater than that of a Boeing 747. It weighs 2.3 tons, and makes use of 17,248 solar cells. Si2 has achieved a maximum of 117 hours and 52 minutes of flight time with zero fuel consumption, according to its founder.
During the first Solar Impulse journey in 2013, the plane completed its pioneering tour as the first solar-powered aircraft to fly coast to coast, beginning in San Francisco and hopscotching across the nation before landing at JFK.
Piccard and Borschberg began their current journey in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March 2015, and its return to Abu Dhabi will mark the culmination of the first solar-powered flight around the world. In 2015, Si2 traveled to Abu Dhabi, India, Myanmar, China and Japan. By June 2015, Si2 had completed the longest leg of its trip from Japan to Hawaii by flying shifts in the single-seat cockpit, before the journey was halted for aircraft repairs and battery replacement.
In April 2016, the Solar Impulse team resumed the flight from Hawaii and then across the continental United States, with JFK scheduled as its final leg in the United States before departure for Europe and Abu Dhabi. In coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane’s landing is scheduled for 4 a.m. at JFK during non-peak travel hours to minimize inconvenience to commercial passengers.
The Si2 landing and press conference is open to registered media only. Register for the landing via http://info.solarimpulse.com/events/s/landing_jfk and/or the press conference at http://info.solarimpulse.com/events/s/pc_jfk. Detailed instructions will be given upon registration.