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Solar Impulse visits Wright Brothers’ hometown

Solar Impuse landing
Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard holds up a model of the Wright Flyer as the Solar Impulse 2 airplane descends toward its landing in Dayton with its lights on. (Credit: Solar Impulse)

The Swiss-built Solar Impulse 2 airplane continued its fuel-free, round-the-world odyssey today with a nearly 17-hour flight from Oklahoma to Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers.

The solar-powered plane took off from Tulsa International Airport before sunrise at 4:23 a.m. CT (2:23 a.m. PT), and landed after dark at Dayton International Airport at 9:56 p.m. ET (6:56 p.m. PT).. In between, Solar Impulse 2 swept over a wide swath of America’s heartland, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

After landing, pilot Andre Borschberg was met by two relatives of the Wright Brothers, great-grandnephew Stephen Wright and great-grandniece Amanda Wright Lane. They gave models of the Wright Flyer to Borschberg and Solar Impulse’s other co-founder, Swiss psychiatrist-adventurer Bertrand Piccard.

“It’s a dream to come here, and we made it,” Borschberg told the Wrights.

Piccard noted that Dayton served as the base for Orville and Wilbur Wright’s airplane-building operation more than a century ago. “People told the Wright Brothers, and us, what we wanted to achieve was impossible,” he said. “They were wrong.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

2 replies on “Solar Impulse visits Wright Brothers’ hometown”

The entire myth of the Wright brothers’ 1903 first flight is based on an article written by them and published in Dayton on January 6, 1904 (see: http://wrightbrothers.altervista.org/WB/1904/1904-WB-Art/1904-01-06–Wright-Flyer–Dayton-Press–Ohio-US–Scrapbook-Library-Congress.htm ). The text does not mention any witness name and states clearly that the Wrights would not publish any picture or detailed description of their plane. And they kept their word till August 8, 1908 when W. Wright was seen flying in France, well inside the aviation age, which started in 1906 without any contribution from the part of the two brothers.

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