Fuel-free Solar Impulse touches down in New York City

By Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston and Christine Luiggi, Communications Manager

On June 11, the world’s largest solar airplane, Solar Impulse 2, completed its 14th leg, landing at JFK International Airport in New York City. 

Solar Impulse 2, SI2 for short, is an idea born in Switzerland - hence the popular (if lengthy) companion hashtag #AnIdeaBorninSwitzerland. The plane has been making its way around the world, one leg at a time. It is piloted by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, assisted by a team of over 70 people, according to their team photo:

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Following the landing was a special welcome event. swissnex Boston and the swissnex New York Outpost team were present, and joined the rapt crowd in listening to pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg as they described the plane’s mission and some of the challenges they’ve faced. This NYC stopover capped off their US tour, and was the last stop before their upcoming Atlantic crossing

Above. Beltran Piccard talks to the audience at JFK International Airport

Above. Beltran Piccard talks to the audience at JFK International Airport

Above, left to right: Steven Hoch, advisor to swissnex Boston, Michele Piccard, Head of Corporate Identity for SI2 and wife of Bertrand, and Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston

Above, left to right: Steven Hoch, advisor to swissnex Boston, Michele Piccard, Head of Corporate Identity for SI2 and wife of Bertrand, and Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston

Above: the New York Outpost team, left to right: Oliver Jutzi, Oliver Haugen, and Felix Moesner

Above: the New York Outpost team, left to right: Oliver Jutzi, Oliver Haugen, and Felix Moesner

During the Atlantic crossing flight, pilot André Borschberg spoke by live video chat with Olivier L. de Weck, MIT Professor for Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems. André Borschberg, an MIT alum, spoke of his time at the school and answered several questions from Prof. de Weck and his students.

Above: screenshot of pilot André Borschberg in live conversation with MIT Prof. Olivier L. de Weck. See the video here.

Above: screenshot of pilot André Borschberg in live conversation with MIT Prof. Olivier L. de Weck. See the video here.

SI2 left NYC on June 20, and landed in Seville, Spain on June 23 after close to three days of non-stop flight. Congrats to pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg and their team on this incredible feat!


About the Adventure

2015 saw the start of the attempt of the first round-the-world, fuel-free, solar powered flight. The first leg was from Abu Dhabi to Hawaii, achieving the longest ever solo solar flight in aviation history. The SI team overcame technical, human, and operational challenges that have never before been faced. 

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the two pilots and founders, will continue to fly around the world with no fuel in 2016. With their solar aircraft - a flying laboratory full of clean technologies - they will continue to promote the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency on the ground, for a better quality of life. Visit www.solarimpulse.com to stay up to date!