ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – It was a significant solar landing early this morning at Lambert airport.
“It's a plane that is extremely wide like a jumbo jet but it has the weight of a small car,” says
Co-pilot Bertrand Piccard.
It's called Solar Impulse, an airplane powered solely by the sun.
“This is why this airplane is big, light, and flies slowly,” says Piccard. “Can you imagine it has the average power of a small motorcycle?”
It's fitting the French pilots of this Swiss airplane would capture the Spirit of St. Louis, after all it was this city and Charles Lindbergh who paved the way and pioneered air travel.
“So I think our exploration now is to find new ways to do what you do instead of discovering what has not been discovered yet,” says co-pilot Andre Borschberg.
“Not only did the team have to deal with the logistics of the air and Mother Nature, but what to do with that airplane when it landed,” says Patrick Clark.
“The hanger on the airport of Lambert airport was badly damaged,” says Piccard. “So we had nowhere to put our airplane.”
So instead of fretting and being tense, they put up some tents.
“What we have here is a new type of mobile hanger,” says Borschberg. “It's an inflatable structure which we have never used before in operation so it's a real first for us.”
And the last thing they need to worry about.
Their solar plane can still power up even under the tent and they can continue the first steps towards a self sufficient jumbo jet.
“The technology today doesn't exist for 200 passengers but when Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic the technology also didn't exist to transport 200 passengers across the Atlantic and never the less we are doing it now,” says Piccard.
Who knows, maybe they'll invent the future through some solar innovation.
The first public viewing is scheduled on Thursday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to noon, and a second viewing session will be offered on Friday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Anyone wishing to view the plane must register at http://solarimpulseatstlouisonthursday.eventbrite.com/ for Thursday and http://solarimpulseatstlouisonfriday.eventbrite.com/ for Friday.
The Yolos Mexican food truck will have food available for purchase on Thursday. Depending on the length of stay in St Louis, which is weather dependent, additional viewings may be scheduled.