After a 21 hour flight, the revolutionary aircraft Solar Impulse touched down at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport helping to make aviation history again in St. Louis early Tuesday, June 4.
The plane, on a "Across America" tour, departed Dallas-Fort Worth for St. Louis on the third leg of its journey and touched down at 1:30 a.m.
Solar Impulse is using an inflatable mobile hangar for the first time in real time mission conditions during part of its stay at Lambert, which will include private and public events over the coming days. The revolutionary structure was conceived and designed by Solar Impulse for the around-the-world mission in 2015, but will now provide a shelter after last weekend’s storm that severely damaged the hangar reserved for Solar Impulse at Lambert.
“We brought the inflatable hangar to the USA for testing purposes and in fact it allowed the mission to stay on schedule. This exercise is now a proof of concept: rather than taking the airplane to a hangar, we have taken the hangar to the airplane,” said André Borschberg, Co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse.
Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Co-Pilot of Solar Impulse, commanded the cockpit for this leg of the journey, his longest flight in the single-seat cockpit to date. Co-founder, CEO and Co-Pilot Andre Borschberg greeted Piccard at the landing and then both greeted a VIP crowd who watched the early morning historic landing.
The choice of St. Louis as the Solar Impulse Midwest stop pays homage to aviation history here with the city's deep connections to Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh was a chief pilot for the Chicago to St. Louis U.S. Mail Route in the mid '20s. The city’s business leaders, including the namesake of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Albert Bond Lambert, supported Lindbergh in his bid to make the first trans-Atlantic flight between New York and Paris in 1927 in the “Spirit of St. Louis.”
“It was particularly important for me to come to St. Louis because I was so inspired when I met Charles Lindbergh at Cape Canaveral during a launch of the Apollo when I was eleven years old. I’m truly moved to be able to land here today with Solar Impulse,” said Bertrand Piccard.
The public viewing of the plane is set for Thursday and Friday morning through a free registration process but availabilty will be limited. Visit http://www.solarimpulse.com/ for more info.
Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.