Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

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Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby sn26567 » 14 May 2011, 10:03

Together with 45 journalists of the international press (all Belgian television channels, Reuters, AFP, Japanese, German, Spanish television crews, etc.), I had been invited to attend the landing of the world's first solar aeroplane in Brussels after its first trip outside of Switzerland.

Two buses took us to a place on the apron next to the tanking trucks parking, at the intersection of runways 02 and 25R, an ideal view for landing on Rwy 02.
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The press buses leave the parking

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The press prepares for the arrival of the Solar Impulse

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I am somewhere behind Chiara Feist, the daughter of Brussels Airport CEO

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Jan Van der Cruysse, spokesman of Brussels Airport, gives an interview to RTBF


While waiting, several planes passed by. It was a busy period at Brussels Airport. Among them, OO-DJT, an Avro RJ85 to Oslo where Bart (Luchtzak) was the purser and his wife Emmy the stewardess. It must have been a nice flight...
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Luchtzak at work here


After a long wait, the runway for landing was suddenly changed from 02 to 25R. Everybody ran to the buses, which started promptly to bring us close to hangar 117. We had not yet arrived there that the runway was changed again to 02. AT above the allowed speed limit, the buses went back to the initial spot.

Immediately thereafter, the Solar Impulse appeared to the North, still pretty high in the sky, accompanied by a helicopter.

The sun was disappearing over the horizon, and suddenly the pilot switched on all the lights on the wing. Superb view. Thanks to the LED technology this consumes only 100 watt.
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Lights are switched on


The plane passed slowly over the airport, then made a large circle to find the alignment of runway 02.
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Passing above the airport


The traffic at the airport was brought to a standstill 5 minutes before the landing, until 3 minutes after the landing. Passengers of an Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 standing on the taxiway next to 02 were very privileged to observe the landing from very close.

When the Solar Impulse started landing, darkness had fallen over the airport. My amateur equipment didn't allow me to take decent pictures, and I therefore borrow tow photographs from Reuters.
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Landing at Brussels!
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Landing at Brussels!
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At 21:39, the Solar Impulse had landed on Runway 02 of Brussels Airport, marking the end of its first international flight.

The journalists packed up, took the buses and went to hangar 117. Several guests were waiting there, invited by the airport authorities. Among them, 40 Facebook fans and 15 Twitter fans of Brussels Airport. A cocktail had been served, and a new long wait started: the plane had to be pushed by persons on foot from Rwy 02 to the hangar.
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Entrance on hangar 117


In the meantime, the journalists could interview Bertrand Piccard, who was at the origin of the whole project. A little bit later, the pilot André Borschberg arrived in a car of the Airport Security and he was immediately surrounded by throngs of journalists. His interview by Pascale Bollekens was broadcast live in the 22:30 news of RTBF.
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Interview of Bertrand Piccard (left) and André Borschberg (right)


At 23:00 the Solar Impulse finally arrived in front of Hangar 117. It was pushed from the side into the hangar.
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Solar Impulse pushed inside hangar 117

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Engine

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Wing

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Cockpit


A special guest was present: Prince Philip of Belgium, seen here with Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.
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Prince Philip of Belgium between Bertrand Piccard and pilot André Borschberg

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Prince Philip of Belgium

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Prince Philip of Belgium


The speeches could start. CEO Arnaud Feist of Brussels Airport said it was a great honour for Brussels Airport to be the first international destination of the Solar Impulse. He mentioned the patronage of the Brussels based European Commission and the sponsorship of a large Belgian chemical company.
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Speech of Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport


André Borschberg spent 13 hours in the plane on the 13th of May. It was his lucky number.
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Speech of pilot André Borschberg


Bertrand Piccard was proud of his project, a concentrate of modern technology, and pleaded for a larger use of renewable energy.
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Speech of initiator of the project Bertrand Piccard


He thanked his whole team, part of which was in Brussels.
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The Solar Impulse team


After the speeches, Prince Philip was shown the cockpit and given explanations.
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Prince Philip near the cockpit


It was well past midnight when the party was over.

Copyright: text and pictures: André Orban
With sincere thanks to Reuters for the two pictures of the landing and to Jan Van der Cruysse for the three first pictures of the press
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby sn26567 » 14 May 2011, 13:36

Solar Impulse successfully landed at Brussels Airport

The solar energy powered experimental airplane landed on runway 02 at Brussels Airport at 9:38 pm. The Solar Impulse team as well as Belgocontrol, that ensured the safety of the solar airplane within the Belgian airspace and during the delicate landing phase, succeeded to meet this big challenge.

Belgocontrol, 13/05/2011
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Comet » 14 May 2011, 18:07

Brilliant report and photos Andre. You are so lucky to have been invited to that event!
Sabena, Sobelair and VLM - gone but never forgotten.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby luchtzak » 14 May 2011, 18:09

Nice report André! Lucky you! ;-)
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby turbopilot » 14 May 2011, 21:03

Nice report André...
I am lucky enough to live at the treshold of rwy 02 and watched this amazing plane land so slowly.
A great moment of aviation history for sure !

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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby jan_olieslagers » 14 May 2011, 22:49

Any idea when this nice bird is departing? I was working when she arrived, but should be glad of another opportunity to see her airborne.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby sn26567 » 15 May 2011, 10:28

Its departure should again depend on the atmospheric conditions.

First, there will be a series of events in Brussels during at least two weeks, which encompass the EU Green Week.

By the end of the month or early June, the plane will depart to Paris Le Bourget, where it will a gust of honour for the Air Show.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby galaxy » 15 May 2011, 11:14

What will the Solar Impulse do after Le Bourget ? Back home ?
Nice report André. Thanks for the nice pics.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Devon Rex » 18 May 2011, 12:15

Any idea where exactly you will be able to visit the Solar Impulse at EBBR? Will it stay in the hangar 117? Or will it be moved to a more convenient place?
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby galaxy » 19 May 2011, 10:50

Devon Rex wrote:Any idea where exactly you will be able to visit the Solar Impulse at EBBR? Will it stay in the hangar 117? Or will it be moved to a more convenient place?

' The Solar Impulse area will be open to the public on Saturday 28 May. From Friday, you can fill in a registration form, after which you will receive confirmation by e-mail. Register quickly with the Supporters Program and be the first to know when the form comes on line.'
You will find the link for registration here :
http://www.solarimpulse.com/blog/2011/0 ... -business/
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby sergioboeing » 19 May 2011, 13:05

By the way, do you know if the hangar 117 is an interesting spotting place ;)
Best regards,
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Airbus A330 » 19 May 2011, 19:07

Will there be additional De Lijn or other busses running between the terminal (or from another place) to Hangar 117 for the event ?
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby luchtzak » 19 May 2011, 19:47

Airbus A330 wrote:Will there be additional De Lijn or other busses running between the terminal (or from another place) to Hangar 117 for the event ?


You have enough busses of "De Lijn" that will drop you of near Delhaize Melsbroek and it's for free!
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Airbus A330 » 19 May 2011, 22:42

luchtzak wrote:
Airbus A330 wrote:Will there be additional De Lijn or other busses running between the terminal (or from another place) to Hangar 117 for the event ?


You have enough busses of "De Lijn" that will drop you of near Delhaize Melsbroek and it's for free!


Thanks ;)
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Lyulka » 20 May 2011, 21:02

The registration form is available now.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby hvs89 » 20 May 2011, 21:50

SOLAR IMPULSE – SUPPORTERS PROGRAM – MAY 20, 2011

As supporters and friends of Solar Impulse, you are always the first to get the latest news.
Brussels, the first international stop for the solar plane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

For the occasion, Solar Impulse and the Deutsche Bank will be opening the doors of Hangar 117 at Zaventem Airport, letting you come and have a look at the prototype on Saturday, 28 May, 15:00 – 21:00.

You will have the opportunity of getting close up to the zero-fuel plane and meeting a number of project members.

You need to register to take part – via the link below. This open afternoon will be at Zaventem Airport, Hangar No. 117 in B-1930 Melsbroek. All practical information will be mailed to you before 28 May.

Embark on the adventure by filling out the form : http://solarimpulse.com/europeanFlights ... d_2805.php

We look forward to meeting you in Brussels.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby arianne » 21 May 2011, 22:52

My shot of the arrival made it to A.net:
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Solar-Im ... 1923060/L/

Looking forward to seeing it from close by.
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Re: Arrival of the Solar Impulse at Brussels Airport

Postby Established02 » 27 May 2011, 21:24

HB-SIA
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