Solar Impulse, the record-setting solar-electric aircraft built by Bertrand Piccard and his team in Switzerland, will visit the U.S. next year, according to a 60 Minutesreport that aired on Sunday. The aircraft will launch from California and fly across the country to Virginia. No details have been released about the planned itinerary or public displays. Piccard's team is on track to attempt an around-the-world solar-powered flight in 2015, according to the report. That flight will take 20 days and 20 nights, in a new second-generation aircraft now under construction.
Solar Impulse flew about 1,500 miles from Switzerland to Morocco in June, and in 2011 the aircraft visited the Paris Air Show. Sunday's 60 Minutes report, hosted by correspondent Bob Simon, stumbled over aviation minutiae in the opening remarks. As all AVweb readers surely know, Charles Lindbergh was not "the first to fly over the Atlantic." Many also would dispute the statement that "the Wright brothers [were] the first men to fly," since that overlooks more than 100 years of lighter-than-air flights.