Photo of Solar Impulse aircraft taking off from Dayton International Airport in darkness with moon in distance.

Solar Impulse reflects Wright spirit

In NAHA News /

DAYTON, Ohio—The Solar Impulse 2 team reflected the Wright spirit during its brief stop here on its   mission to circle the earth on solar power alone.

The airplane resumed its voyage early Wednesday, May 25, when it lifted off from Dayton International Airport with Bertrand Piccard at the controls.

The pioneering pilot and the entire Swiss-based Solar Impulse team departed as they arrived, paying tribute to the inspiring memory of Dayton’s most famous citizens.

“Goodbye #Dayton and the #WrightBrothers! We have really enjoyed our stay, see you soon,” the team tweeted as the long-winged airplane soared gracefully away.

The goal of the Solar Impulse project is to promote the use of clean energy by flying around the world without the use of traditional fuels—something that seems almost as impossible today as heavier-than-air flight did at the time Wilbur and Orville achieved it more than a century ago.

The lightweight airplane carries only one person, so Piccard has been taking turns flying it with André Borschberg, who flew it to Dayton from Tulsa on Saturday, May 21. Their goal is to reach Abu Dhabi by July. It’s where their epic flight began in March 2015.

Throughout their time in Dayton, the pilots compared their own trailblazing experience with that of the Wright brothers, who lived in Dayton and built their first airplanes in their West Third Street Bicycle Shop.

Picard and Borschberg made time in their hectic schedule to inspect the original 1905 Wright Flyer III at Carillon Historical Park and Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family mansion in Oakwood. The Solar Impulse media team produced a short video by the flyer.

Piccard was headed for Lehigh Valley Airport in Pennsylvania. As it happens, the flight connects two of America’s 49 National Heritage Areas—the National Aviation Heritage Area here and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.