Wright brothers family descendent greets Solar Impulse pilots in Cincinnati

In NAHA News Release /

For immediate release
Saturday, June 15, 2013

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CINCINNATI, Ohio—A descendent of the Wright brothers’ family was on hand to greet the pilot of the sunlight-powered Solar Impulse airplane when it landed Friday evening at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati.

Stephen Wright, great-grandnephew of airplane inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, welcomed pilot and Solar Impulse co-founder André Borschberg shortly after he touched down for the airplane’s only landing in Ohio.

Wright, who lives in the Dayton area, greeted Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, fellow pilot and co-founder, as a representative of the Wright family and an ambassador of Dayton’s and Ohio’s aviation heritage. Wilbur and Orville Wright lived in Dayton and invented the airplane in their West Third Street bicycle shop.

Solar Impulse is a project to demonstrate advanced solar power technology with a long-range airplane powered only by sunlight. The airplane is making the first coast-to-coast flight from California to New York. A more advanced airplane for an around-the-world flight is in development.

Solar Impulse originally planned to fly nonstop from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., but changing weather patterns dictated an overnight stop in Ohio. Piccard took off Saturday morning, June 15, to continue the flight to Washington.

Earlier Friday, Wright called Borschberg as he was en route to Lunken Airport. Solar Impulse broadcast the conversation live on its website, solarimpulse.com.

“I’d like to be the first to welcome you to Ohio… even though you’re not in Ohio yet,” said Wright, who lives in the Dayton area. He said the spindly, single-seat, sunlight-powered airplane “quite a beautiful machine.”

Wright said his great-granduncles would have been fascinated by a solar-powered airplane. “I wish they could be here to see your machine because they would have never anticipated that an airplane could fly on the power of sunlight,” Wright said. “If they could be there, they would be under the cowling in a few minutes and you would have to answer a whole lot of questions.”

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