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.”