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Cocoa Over the Pacific: Si2 sur les traces de Amelia Earhart
22/04 - 2016

Cocoa Over the Pacific: Si2 sur les traces de Amelia Earhart

In the hours before Amelia Earhart took off to attempt the first-ever solo flight between Hawaii and California, she stood on a wet runway, next to a wet airplane, looking out at a weather window that was frustratingly perfect.

In her own words, written in an article for National Geographic magazine: “Unless I took off, despite the local meteorological upset, I might be held indefinitely.” Not unlike Solar Impulse 2 and Bertrand Piccard, though in the case of Solar Impulse, it was wind, not rain!

There are other similarities of course. Earhart took of from Wheeler Army Airfield, on the island of O’ahu, just 16 miles from Kalaeloa Airport where Solar Impulse 2 began its journey yesterday. The world’s press was watching; Earhart connected on a two-way radio telephone using the call sign KHABQ to radio stations in Honoloulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles, while Bertrand has responded to emails and done live interviews with journalists from around the world. And then of course, there were all the same concerns about weight, food, and safety.

During the 18 hours she was in the air, Earhart ate a boiled egg, drank tomato juice and enjoyed “the most memorable cup of hot chocolate I’ve ever had.” Bertrand will need a bit more nourishment over the three days it will take him to reach Moffett Airfield, but will certainly share the same view that made Earhart’s cocoa so spectacular.

But perhaps the most important parallels are the desire to explore the unknown, to push technology to it’s limits and a belief that what’s impossible today, might just become normal tomorrow.

“To me it seems that regular air transport across both oceans is inevitable, and will probably come about sooner than most people suspect,” Earhart wrote in May 1935.

Imagine what she would have said if someone had told her that not only commercial jets, but a plane powered only by the sun, would be following in her footsteps 81 years later.


This blog post has been originally published here.