Takeoff for Leg #9!Posted: April 23, 2016
Harald and I sketched Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) at its departure last Thursday morning. Arriving at 4:00 a.m., we witnessed final preparations, as well as camera crews getting a pre-launch interview with pilot Bertrand Piccard. Shortly after, the plane was rolled out of the hangar and onto the airfield. Incredibly, only a handful of people are needed to push the plane. Soon all we could see in the distance were the flashing lights of the support vehicles and the dark silhouette of the plane, as the team waited for the breeze to die down.
The takeoff at sunrise was amazing. Within seconds Si2 was off the ground and gliding through the air above us, the propellers spinning so slowly that one would almost expect them to be pedal-powered. The plane had looked visibly fragile on the ground as it was moved to the runway, but once in the air it was as graceful as a giant albatross. Swinging around to face the open sea, Si2 continued to rise slowly into the morning sky, before disappearing from view on its three-day journey to California.
Check the Si2 blog, for updates on this amazing journey. They will be landing in Mountain View, California soon!