Solar Impulse lands in Ohio

Solar Impulse 2 landed on Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, the home of aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright.

The solar-powered plane took off from Tulsa, Oklahoma on the third leg of its journey across the United States on Saturday afternoon.

Pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard have been taking turns flying the aircraft since the mission began in Abu Dhabi in March 2015.

Borschberg has been at the controls in this latest leg.

“Amazing to have landed in #Dayton after being in the sky for 17 hours,” he tweeted.

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The 1,113 kilometre flight took 16 hours 34 minutes, at an average speed of 67.2 kph and at a maximum altitude of 6,401metres.

Stephen and Amanda Wright, descendants of the Wright brothers, were at the landing site in Dayton to welcome the plane’s arrival.

Borschberg, paid tribute to the Wright Brothers, who, in 1903, took the first powered aircraft into the air.

He said: “To develop their wing wrapping concept, the two inventors used their intuition and observation of nature to think out of the box. They defied current knowledge at a time where all experts said it would be impossible.”

He said their achievement “marked the beginning of modern aviation” and that the Solar Impulse 2 pilots were following in their footsteps “rejecting all dogmas to fly an airplane around the world without a drop of fuel”.

He added: “This flight reunites explorers who defied the impossible to give the world hope – audacious men who believed in their dream enough to make it a reality.”

The Masdar-sponsored project is part of the attempt to achieve the first round-the-world flight powered only by the Sun.

As soon as possible, weather permitting, Piccard will pilot Solar Impulse 2 to the next stop in Pennsylvania before flying on to New York, the plane’s final US destination.

Thanks to an inflatable mobile hangar, which can be transported, the plane can be sheltered at a variety of locations.

The aircraft was grounded in July when its batteries were damaged halfway through its 35,000-kilometre circumnavigation of the globe.

The crew took several months to repair the damage caused by high tropical temperatures during the 6,437-km flight between Nagoya, Japan, and Hawaii.

* Agence France-Presse

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