The Solar Impulse solar energy-powered aircraft made its inaugural international flight, landing safely in Brussels at 9:39pm on May 13 after completing a 12 hour, 59 minute journey.
Flown by project CEO and former Swiss fighter pilot André Borschberg, the Solar Impulse left Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland at 8:40am before crossing France’s Alsace region toward Nancy and Metz, over-flying Luxembourg and finally arriving in Belgium to land on Runway 02 at Brussels Airport (Zaventem).
“It’s a spectacular flight. The takeoff was a little challenging because we had to rush due to air traffic activity, consequently I needed a little bit of time to get everything in order before I could become serene. It was little bit northeast wind during takeoff, however this was not a major problem,” Borschberg said.
“It’s unbelievably exciting to land here in Brussels, at the heart of Europe, after flying across France and Luxembourg. And to fly without fuel, noise or pollution, making practically no negative impact, is a great source of satisfaction,” he said.
The landmark flight was the fifth flight overall for the Solar Impulse. A larger prototype planned to make a non-stop round-the-world flight in 2013.