October 1, 2023

Solar Impulse 2 sets record with five-day solar-powered flight

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AP_658399291149BY MEGAN SPECIA From Mashable

After a five-day flight across the Pacific Ocean, the Solar Impulse 2 arrived in Hawaii on Friday, breaking the world record for longest nonstop solo flight.

Powered entirely by the sun, its journey from Japan to Hawaii was the longest leg of the solar powered plane’s planned trip, and took more than 120 hours to complete. The Solar Impulse 2’s round-the-world trip began in March from Abu Dhabi, and is expected to end some time this summer in the same city.

Two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, have taken turns piloting the single-seat airplane. Borschberg was the one manning the controls for the Pacific leg of their journey, as the Solar Impulse 2 can only carry one person at a time (Piccard was waiting in Hawaii for his arrival). This part was the riskiest leg of the trip because the plane had nowhere to land in an emergency.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 12.32.25 PMIn addition, throughout the five-day flight, Borschberg took 20-minutes naps to keep the Solar Impulse 2 on course.

Borschberg’s solo flight surpassed the previous record for longest solo endurance flight, set Steve Fossett, who flew for 76 hours and 45 minutes in 2006.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed at a small airport outside Honolulu, just after 6 a.m. HST Friday.

The plane is the first of its kind, and is attempting the round-the-world trip after 12 years of research, tests and development.

After the Hawaii leg of its journey, the Solar Impulse 2 will fly across the continental United States, with stops in Phoenix, an undetermined location in the Midwest that’s dependent on weather conditions and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to its official website.

The plane will then cross the Atlantic, and stop over in southern Europe or north Africa, before ending its trip in Abu Dhabi.

By embarking on their trip, Borschberg and Piccard aim to raise awareness about replacing fossil fuels with clean technologies. The Solar Impulse 2’s wings have more than 17,000 solar cells.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

Photo taken June 24, 2015 shows the sun-powered Solar Impulse 2 plane at Nagoya airport in central Japan.IMAGE: KYODO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

For more on this story go to: http://mashable.com/2015/07/03/solar-impulse-2-record/?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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