Aircraft

Solar Impulse 2 completes short hop to Pennsylvania

Solar Impulse 2 completes shor...
Solar Impulse 2 coming into land at LeHigh Valley
Solar Impulse 2 coming into land at LeHigh Valley
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Solar Impulse 2 taking off from Dayton, Ohio
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Solar Impulse 2 taking off from Dayton, Ohio
Solar Impulse 2's flight plan
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Solar Impulse 2's flight plan
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschbergn before Wednesday's takeoff
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Bertrand Piccard and André Borschbergn before Wednesday's takeoff
Bertrand Piccard at the controls of Solar Impulse 2
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Bertrand Piccard at the controls of Solar Impulse 2
Solar Impulse 2 and its bespoke inflatable hangar
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Solar Impulse 2 and its bespoke inflatable hangar
Cockpit view of Solar Impulse 2 landing
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Cockpit view of Solar Impulse 2 landing
Solar Impulse 2 coming into land at LeHigh Valley
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Solar Impulse 2 coming into land at LeHigh Valley

Solar Impulse 2 has completed the 13th leg of its solar-powered around the world flight, touching down at LeHigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania. With Bertrand Piccard piloting, the single-seater aircraft reached its destination at 8:49 pm CDT after a near 17-hour flight from Dayton, Ohio.

Today's flight came a day after the announcement by Solar Impulse that the leg faced postponement due to an accident caused by a power failure in the bespoke inflatable hangar used to house the aircraft caused it to partly collapse. The fabric of the hangar briefly touched plane's wings and fuselage. Due to the fragile nature of the lightweight craft, engineers feared that some damage may have occurred.

According to Solar impulse, the aircraft subsequently passed a safety inspection and was cleared to take off at 4:02 am CDT. The 1,032 km (641 mi) flight passed without incident and the night landing came about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Cockpit view of Solar Impulse 2 landing
Cockpit view of Solar Impulse 2 landing

Solar Impulse 2 started its around the world attempt in Abu Dhabi in Mark 2015. After being grounded in Hawaii for several months due to battery damage caused by overheating, the aircraft completed a record-breaking Pacific Ocean crossing last month after a 62-hour flight.

Weather permitting, Solar Impulse 2 will continue on to New York's JFK International Airport, followed by a transatlantic crossing to Europe or North Africa before returning to its starting point.

Source: Solar Impulse

2 comments
Jim Shilliday
If anyone knows....? The flight from Dayton to Lehigh Valley didn't need all of those 17 hours -- looking at the track, the plane spent hours noodling around near the Susquehanna River and over Allentown's northern suburbs. I wonder why. I suppose you can't just insert a 30 mph plane into the traffic pattern at a busy commercial airport, so maybe that had something do do with it? Or maybe they like night landings for the spectacle of it?
BartyLobethal
It may be that following the Pacific leg and re-build in Hawaii they want to maximise their air-time before tackling the Atlantic.