The Embassy of Switzerland in the United States and the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York welcomed the Solar Impulse 2 to New York City on Sat. June, 11 on the last leg of the Swiss solar airplane's flight across the United States.
As part of its around-the-world journey, the Solar Impulse 2 flew by the Statue of Liberty and landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Led by Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Solar Impulse 2 team organized several activities in New York, inspiring audiences with their innovations in clean technology while preparing for their next crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
Before landing at JFK Airport, the Swiss solar aircraft completed a fly-by of the Statue of Liberty, one of the most iconic symbols of hope, freedom and pioneering spirit for people around the world.
After a break during the winter months, on April 21, the Solar Impulse 2 resumed its flight from Honolulu, determined to finish its world tour. Bertrand Piccard piloted the airplane across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California, flying three days and nights without fuel, landing at Moffett Federal Airfield near San Francisco. The aircraft then made its way across the United States, landing in several American cities for planned events with partners in Phoenix, Tulsa, Dayton, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, and finally New York City.
Speaking on behalf of the Swiss Confederation, Ambassador André Schaller, Consul General of Switzerland in New York, stated: “We congratulate the two Swiss pilots. They are more than record-breakers and modern-day heroes. Their solar plane does not carry passengers, but inspiration. If you can fly around the world without a single drop of fuel, the sky’s the limit for solar power and clean technology. They also show us that we can make change happen with the pioneering spirit of enterprise. The picture of the Swiss solar plane circling round the Statue of Liberty in New York speaks louder than a thousand words.”
Throughout their stay in New York, the pilots met with the press and the public at several activities organized with partners. The events provided the opportunity to present the human endeavours involved in flying day and night without a drop of fuel and also promote the messages of sustainability, innovation and clean tech that the Solar Impulse 2 is carrying around the world.
With the support of the Department of Education of the City of New York, the United Nations Environment Program, Covestro and the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, the Solar Impulse 2 engaged with 500 students from five different schools representing the five boroughs of New York City on Wednesday, June 15. Inspiring the next generation is one of the main goals of the Solar Impulse 2, which has devoted several communication tools especially to youth engagement.
“If only just one of the students from one of the five schools representing all five boroughs of New York City will get inspired by this unbelievable project and in so doing he or she will get a better chance of success in his or her life, we will have achieved a lot,” stated Eric Goldstein, chief executive of the Office of School Support Services, who is responsible for managing over a million meals a day for students at NYC schools and more than 8,000 school buses in New York City. The Office of School Support Services organizes the transportation to JFK for the 500 students.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is also an important partner of the Solar Impulse 2 and Bertrand Piccard is a UNEP Ambassador. At the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016 (Earth Day), the Solar Impulse 2 took part in the official ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York.
From the cockpit of SI-HB in flight, Bertrand Piccard called UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Swiss Vice President Doris Leuthard for a livestreamed conversation during a side event at the U.N.. Both politicians compared the Solar Impulse 2 endeavour to the first flight to the moon.
U.N. Environment Program Executive Director Achim Steiner stated, “Bertrand, André and the entire Solar Impulse team continue to awe and inspire the world with their record-breaking flight. They are showing us with every leg flown that the clean technologies and renewable energy systems we need for a sustainable tomorrow already exist today. Their pioneering journey has significance for the future of everyone on the planet. Even for those New Yorkers who have seen everything, the arrival of a plane that has circled the world powered only by the sun will impress.”
The Solar Impulse 2 is the Swiss ambassador for clean technologies and innovation. Having assembled the most advanced technologies for developing and constructing a solar airplane, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg join a series of companies from Switzerland, Europe and the United States that are addressing environmental challenges through renewable energy. The Solar Impulse 2 believes in a future that is clean, reflecting the Swiss Confederation’s support for innovative, new, clean technologies that can create a more sustainable future for generations to come.