Solar Impulse 2 lands in New York City

Early Saturday morning, pilot André Borschberg landed the Solar Impulse 2 at New York’s John F Kennedy Airport. This was the completion of a flight that began the previous evening in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania included a flyover of the iconic Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.

As part of the Solar Impulse’s stay in New York, the plane and the team were visited by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today. Additionally, 500 students representing the five boroughs of New York City will visit the plane on Wednesday.

Solar Impulse’s round-the-world flight began in Abu Dhabi in 2015. The journey suffered an eight-month delay last fall and winter due to the need to replace its lithium-ion batteries, which overheated on the five-day flight from Japan to Hawaii last July. During this leg of the trip, Borschberg set a world record for the longest manned flight with a single pilot, at three hours short of five days.

The denomination "2" in the plane’s name clarifies that this is the second iteration of a solar-powered plane to be operated by the Solar Impulse team. The Solar Impulse 2 is designed to be able to fly for longer distances, with an additional 9 meters of wingspan, more PV cells, and nearly double the battery capacity.

From here, the Solar Impulse 2 plans to fly to either Western Europe or North Africa, with potential destinations in Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain or Morocco, on its way to Abu Dhabi. The team has also not given a time when it plans to depart.