Solar Impulse, the solar plane is currently preparing to depart from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. They have been entertaining the curious public as well as other renewable energy supporters. The team is waiting for the right conditions to continue on their mission which is scheduled to happen on Monday the 3rd of June. This leg will take them to Lambert – St. Louis International Airport in St Louis, Missouri. By Amber Archangel
Sir Richard Branson Visits the Solar Impulse and Becomes a New Patron
While they were still at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California, Richard Branson visited the Solar Impulse team. You may remember his aviation adventures which include his hot air balloon ”Virgin Atlantic Flyer” crossing the Atlantic in 1987. It is said that a new venture of his will offer a revolutionary, cheaper fuel for automobiles and, in the near future, aircraft. Seems a great fit with the solar plane, Solar Impulse. This is what the Solar Impulse team had to say:
Welcome Sir Richard Branson! Our new Patron
AcrossAmerica, Richard Branson visits Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg and Richard Branson discussing in front of the Solar Impulse, Moffett Field hangar in Mountain View, CA, USA, 01.05.2013 | © Solar Impulse | Ackermann | Rezo.ch
Last month, the Solar Impulse team at Moffett was presented with an unusual visit. Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group, British business tycoon and entrepreneur, showed up at Moffett Airfield. Although it might have appeared as a surprise, the parallels between Solar Impulse and Richard are all too evident for it to be a simple coincidence.
Richard and Bertrand have a relationship that stretches back to their ballooning days. In fact, Richard, with Per Lindstrand, were the first to cross the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon in 1991. Seven years later, in 1999, Bertrand, with Brian Jones, were the first to circumnavigate the globe beating Richard, Linstrand and Fossett’s similar attempt in 1998. “I doff my cap to him” Richard said elegantly when asked about the potential rivalry this might have caused.
Richard was extremely enthusiastic and impressed at the sight of Solar Impulse, to the point that he jokingly added, “I just need to find a way to smuggle that plane out in my pocket!” Richard is also looking at ways to harness solar power by using it to tow aircraft onto the runway in the near future.
One could feel the camaraderie between André, Bertrand and Richard as the pilots showed off their engineering jewel to the Englishman. He even recognized, in HB-SIA’s sleek silhouette, a great communication tool – a message carrier, a “weapon” to showcase the potential of clean techs and innovation – values Richard also shares.
Richard didn’t hesitate to become Solar Impulse’s Patron and, as he was leaving for another engagement in his busy schedule, he gave big thumbs up with his trademark smile “I always set myself challenges that might seem impossible…” Wait, haven’t I heard that somewhere already? André? Bertrand? I think we found our project’s new soul mate!
For more coverage of Solar Impulse visit: www.solarimpulse.com