Thursday , 30 July 2015
Latest Si2 news

The Solar Airplane, Solar Impulse Pilots at the White House

The Solar Impulse pilots, Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have been warmly welcomed to our nation’s capital in Washington D.C.. They met with the United States Secretary Of Energy, Ernest Moniz, they were given the highest award the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) presents, and they were invited to visit the White House.

solar impulse

White House, Washington D.C. | Credit:  Glyn Lowe Photoworks | | flickr

Solar Impulse Pilots Are Looking To the Future Surrounded By History

On Thursday June 20th Solar Impulse Co-Founders and Pilots André and Bertrand were invited to the White House by Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, reports Solar Impulse.

Dr Holdren expressed his enthusiasm for the project and affirmed that Solar Impulse’s objectives of promoting clean technologies are perfectly in line with the policies of the Obama administration.  Dr Holdren himself an astronautics engineer recognized the pioneering nature of Solar Impulse, “ten years ago no one could have imagined what you are doing now would be possible and we are all inspired by your accomplishments.” Dr Holdren went on to point out that Solar Impulse is an excellent example of how technology can increase energy efficiency.

This inspirational visit set the stage for the rest of the day. A client event hosted by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, the project’s insurance provider, Official Partner and Partner for the Across America mission illustrated the company’s leading innovative approach to providing comprehensive insurance and risk management solutions. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions came on board last summer just prior to the mission flights to North Africa, putting into place insurance coverage for the airplane in less than one week.

solar impulse

Across America 2013, 4th leg Lambert St. Louis to Washington Dulles, André Borschberg watching and waiting as Solar Impulse touches down at Washington Dulles Airport, 2013.06.16 | © Solar Impulse | Revillard |

Another highlight of an exciting densely packed day was an evening event hosted by the Swiss Confederation at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington DC. Surrounded by aviation history’s most significant aircrafts, such as the Vin Fiz and the Spirit of St. Louis, an illustrious group of senior government officials including FFA Administrator Michael Huerta, members of Washington leading think-tanks, industry associations and key influencers from the media gathered together to hear inspirational speeches by pilots André and Bertrand, General John R. Dailey, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, and his Excellency Manuel Sager, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States.

solar impulse Breitling_Orbiter_3_aloft flat3-5The event was also marked by some good natured humor. Ambassador Sager mentioned the first time he met Bertrand, was in 1999, when the Breitling Orbiter 3 became part of the Museum’s collection. Ambassador Sager, then Head of Communications at the Embassy of Switzerland, was keen to show the city to the man who had just completed the world’s first around-the-world balloon flight. Having showed him Washington D.C. back then, he now welcomes him once again but… with a significant upgrade: “Now that’s a promotion, from Embassy driver to Ambassador in just 14 years!”

A copy of the balloon “Breitling Orbiter 3″ shot during the 2007 Chateau d’Oex meeting. | Credit: Jide | Wikipedia Commons


  • Next Open House will be organized this Tuesday, June 25th, from 1PM to 5PM.
  • The entrance is free and the parking is $15 before 4PM. Just go to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center; for directions click here.

By Amber Archangel

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