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Solar Boat Team Gets VIP Treatment

by Ryan Bower, Assistant Director of Public Relations

Cedarville University’s solar boat team got a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most innovative vehicles when Solar Impulse 2, an experimental solar-powered aircraft, landed at Dayton International Airport on May 21.

Although the plane was not made available for public viewing, the solar boat team was granted special access at the request of Dayton mayor Nan Whaley. In addition to getting a tour of the aircraft, the solar boat team was also able to meet the crew of Solar Impulse 2 and ask questions about the plane.

The visit also gave students the opportunity to tell the Solar Impulse 2 team about their work on a solar boat that will compete at the Dutch Solar Challenger in Amsterdam in July. The students provided the crew with T-shirts and posters for the annual Solar Splash competition, slated for June 15-19 in Dayton.

“We really want to thank Mayor Whaley and Linda Hughes (Air Service Manager at Dayton International) for arranging this for us,” said Tim Dewhurst, Ph.D., senior professor of mechanical engineering. “Our students were fascinated to see that this aircraft and our solar boat have so much technology in common.”

Solar Impulse 2, which has a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747, is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The aircraft has an average airspeed of 46 mph and a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

The aircraft is currently in the midst of a circumnavigation of the Earth, which began in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on March 9, 2015. The next leg of the journey for Solar Impulse 2 will take it to Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and then on to New York City before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. 

“It was an incredible experience,” said Dewhurst. “Gregory Blatt and Vanja Mégevand from the Solar Impulse marketing team were gracious hosts and gave us a wonderful hourlong tour of the aircraft.”

Cedarville University will host Solar Splash, the world championship of intercollegiate solar/electric boating, at Eastwood MetroPark in Dayton from June 15-19.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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