With it’s landing in Tusla, Oklahoma, Solar Impulse 2 is now more than halfway across north America and well on it’s way to achieve the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight.
(Title Insert) “Solar Impulse 2 Lands in Tulsa, Oklahoma”
Bertrand Piccard, piloted the solar powered aircraft during the 18-hour trip from Phoenix Arizona, but hid his exhaustion with a triumphant greeting at Tulsa International Airport late Thursday night.
NAT: “Hello Tulsa!”
Piccard was greeted with an equal dose of excitement as Tulsa’s mayor and some eager locals gathered to celebrate another successful part of the journey.
SOT(Mayor) 0:26 “When we heard that this was going to happen, I just, I have to be here.” 0:32 SOT 2 (Boy) 1:14 “I’ve been excited ever since I heard that this was gonna be here.” 1:19
This completes the 11th leg of plane’s mission to circumnavigate the globe without using a drop of fuel.
And, like any effort to break a world record, it hasn’t been easy.
The team originally planned to fly from Phoenix to Kansas City Missouri, but a tornado risk forced them to rethink their plans.
SOT (Piccard): 1:57 “Yesterday morning we had no idea where we could go. And the flight was theoretically cancelled because there was too much cross wind, tornados, and thunderstorms everywhere. And suddenly somebody had the idea of Tulsa…It was a surprise for us, it was a surprise for the people of Tulsa, and it was really magic.” 2:28
Weather has not been the only obstacle since Piccard and fellow pilot André Borschberg began the journey back in March of 2015 in Abu Dhabi.
The team experienced some technical difficulties with the plane’s recharging system during a flight from Japan to Hawaii last year. The aircraft remained grounded for another 8 months while the crew waited for good weather.
With the journey now back on track, the team is concentrating on the next step.
SOT (Piccard) 2:58 “All day we’ll fly probably to Dayton, hopefully next week and maybe in another two weeks we’re in New York so cross fingers.”