Solar Impulse 2 lands in Oklahoma
Tulsa, we have a landing.
Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in the Oklahoma city shortly around 12:15 a.m. ET Thursday, completing an 18-hour, 975-mile flight with no fuel.
“After spending just over a week in Phoenix, Arizona, our mission engineers at the Mission Control Center found a weather opening that would give way to a flight to a slightly unexpected destination: Tulsa, Oklahoma,” the Solar Impulse 2 team said in a statement.
The team originally planned to fly from Phoenix to Kansas City, Mo., but the tornado risk prompted them to head to The Sooner State instead, according to a blog post on the team’s website.
Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. presented a certificate of recognition to Piccard and André Borschberg, who alternates flying duties.
Solar Impulse 2 took off from the Phoenix Goodyear Airport with Swiss adventurer Piccard at the controls, at 3:05 a.m. local time. It is the plane’s second flight across the North American continent in the team’s trip to circumnavigate the globe.The first leg was from San Francisco to Phoenix.
Landing in Tulsa is “symbolic” because it lies at the heart of the United States near the iconic Route 66, the team wrote on its website.
Piccard and Borschberg started their attempt to navigate the globe with the solar-powered airplane last year, starting with a March 9, 2015, takeoff from Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia. That journey was disrupted after a record-breaking flight from Japan to Hawaii — the world’s longest non-stop solo flight at four days and 21-hours — damaged the plane’s battery.
“We have been extremely lucky with the weather and with great collaboration between the mission engineers in Monaco and the Air Traffic Control in the United States, we have been able to fly consistently since mid-April,” the team wrote on its website.
Next stop: New York City. The team hopes to reach the East Coast soon so they can prepare for a smooth trip across the Atlantic.
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