June 2, 2013
Across America 2013: Solar Impulse Scheduled For Leg Three Flight On Monday
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Leg three of the Across America 2013 project is scheduled to take off on June 3 with Bertrand Piccard returning to the helm of the HB-SIA zero-fuel airplane. The Solar Impulse team of Piccard and Andre Borschberg will continue on from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Monday, weather permitting.According to an emailed statement, the team said a positive weather window is opening up for the team to continue on its mission. The flight path will take Piccard over areas of the tornado-ravaged south central US. The area is often fraught with high turbulence and strong winds and could make this stage of the flight the most difficult. It has been a challenge for the team to find the appropriate window of opportunity to schedule the next flight.
If the weather holds clear, the take-off is scheduled for 4:30 a.m. central on Monday, with a scheduled landing in St. Louis sometime after midnight, the following day.
This leg of the Across America 2013 project will see the Solar Impulse team following in the footsteps of aviation pioneers, with St. Louis being the hub of early flights. St. Louis was a key destination for Charles Lindbergh, who delivered air mail between there and Chicago regularly. His historic airplane is even named after the city: “Spirit of St. Louis.”
Though the plane was actually built in San Diego, it was businessmen and entrepreneurs from the St. Louis area that financed Lindbergh´s adventures, including the history-making transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, France in 1927.
The Solar Impulse team is working hard to organize an Open House in St. Louis for the public to come see the zero-fuel airplane once it lands. While an event is not yet confirmed, people are encouraged to sign up to get their name on the waitlist. Those who are on the list will be informed of the date and time of the Open House when it becomes known.
The flight schedule is not yet set in stone and could be delayed if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Borschberg, who was at the controls for leg two of the Across America 2013 mission, made history when he broke the world record for longest flight in a zero-fuel airplane, flying 832 nautical miles non-stop. He broke the previous record of 602 nautical miles, which he also set in a flight from Switzerland to Spain in 2012.