Written by Elaine Paniszczyn
Solar Impulse lands at DFW, setting distance world record
A pioneer of solar power hovered over the runway at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport shortly after midnight, May 23. Unlike earlier pioneers' vehicles, the Wright brothers' plane or Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Solar Impulse filled the night sky with light. At its previous stop in Phoenix, its long, lighted wingspan prompted calls to police and the FAA about UFO sightings. For this arrival, Public Affairs at DFW Airport notified local media asking them to blitz their audiences ahead of time to prevent a UFO scare.
“At DFW Airport we have about 650,000 airport operations, but there is nothing like the operation we had last night after midnight when Solar Impulse landed at DFW Airport,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. “Normally, we charge our airlines about $2.65 per thousand pounds of landed weight. Since this plane weighs slightly over 3,000 pounds, we believe they owe us $7.95, but since they only used about 800 feet of runway, we’re going to waive their landing fees, so everything is free.
“The message that this provides is one that is very near and dear to our hearts,” Fegan said. “It’s about renewed efforts on clean and renewable sources of energy and technologies that reduce our planet’s dependence on fossil fuels. The Solar Impulse team represents the spirit of innovation.”