Unprecedented flight strategy to reach Washington D.C. on time

Strong winds force Solar Impulse to make unforeseen pit stop in Cincinnati

ST. LOUIS, June 13, 2013 – In order to overcome challenging weather and keep to its cross-continent flight schedule, the solar powered aircraft of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will briefly touch down in Cincinnati to change pilots in a new strategy for its fourth Across America leg scheduled to begin Friday June 14 from St. Louis.


The flight will be split in two because strong cross and head winds would slow the aircraft and make it impossible for the pilot to reach the nation's capital in one go in less than 24 hours which is the limit set for the pilot in the cramped single-seater cockpit. André Borschberg will pilot the first half of the flight from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport. After a short stopover in Cincinnati Bertrand Piccard will do the second half of the leg to land at Washington D.C. Dulles International Airport on Sunday, June 16, sometime after midnight.

Among the challenges they will encounter are strong cross winds, that will make the aircraft drift sideways for much of the flight, heavy air traffic and crossing the Appalachian mountains, with peaks of up to 6562 ft. (2000 m).

On Monday, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will greet the Solar Impulse crew during an energy roundtable and press conference, while on Sunday the public will be able to view the plane at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Washington D.C. is a strategic choice in spreading the Solar Impulse message about the importance of promoting clean technologies. Solar Impulse will present Clean Generation, its latest initiative for the global adoption of clean technologies to key decision makers. Clean Generation is a global movement supported by thousands of people and more names are added at every stopover onto a USB stick and symbolically carried in the cockpit of the airplane as virtual passengers. All those interested in being part of this movement can sign up here: http://www.solarimpulse.com/join_us/.

The Solar Impulse Across America mission is made in partnership with Solvay, Schindler, Bayer Material Science, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Sunpower and the Swiss Confederation.

About Solar Impulse

Swiss pioneers Dr Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and the driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane that can fly day and night without fuel. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure that aims to bring emotions back at the heart of scientific exploration, a flying laboratory to find innovative technological solutions for today's challenges and a vision to inspire each of us to be pioneers in our everyday lives.

This revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. A plane so big and light has never been built before. The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10HP electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881 lb lithium batteries which allow the plane to fly at night.

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