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A new world
01/07 - 2016

A new world

The urge to succeed becomes an obsession, but thousands of kilometers and waves still lie ahead of me. At times, I am overwhelmed by bursts of emotion, quickly suppressed by my concentration in the present moment. Solar Impulse 2 needs to be steered with extreme precision. I need to circumvent a bad weather front, jump over a threatening barrier of clouds, cross an area of turbulence, and repair a software problem that is disconnecting my autopilot and preventing me from resting. It is a tactical flight, very different from the royal pathway I was offered over the Pacific between Hawaii and San Francisco. There had been neither clouds, nor turbulences. This leg is a completely different experience. The first transatlantic solar flight will have to be earned. Nothing is yet won and it is too early to rejoice.

The Atlantic – the ocean of all explorers – saw many sea and air navigators competing in the race to modernity. When Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris, it was to promote commercial air transport. Then, he spent the rest of his life opening up airways and airports. For me, the symbol is the same, but the goal is different. I want to pave the way to a widespread use of modern clean technologies. This is what I have been dedicating my life to for 15 years and this mythical ocean may well allow me to do it.

The landing in Seville is approaching. The same city Christopher Columbus set off from to discover the New World. But today, the "Old" and the "New" Worlds are no longer geographical continents, they are states of mind: the old state of mind of fossil energy, pollution and depletion of the Earth’s resources; the new state of mind of renewables, cleantechs and respect for the environment. When I look at my propellers, turning days and nights on end, activated solely by the sun, I feel like in a science fiction movie. Yet, it is today’s reality; the one I want to promote. I can see the old world awaiting me around the corner, but fortunately I am going straight!

The arrival is magical. I am welcomed by the Swiss and Iberian colored smoke of the Spanish Air Force Team. After the landing, the press reports: historic first transatlantic flight of a solar airplane. However, this flight will really become historic if it contributes to opening the way to more clean technologies and renewable energies in our world. And this, only the future will tell…

This blog was originally posted here.

Published in partnership with Caran d'Ache

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