Solar Impulse 2 lands in Hawaii, breaks flight record

Swiss explorer flying five consecutive days and nights without fuel, finishes Pacific crossing

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A solar powered plane under Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg landed in Hawaii on Friday, after setting a five-day non-stop solo flight record by flying across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

"Andre, what you did is unbelievable," head of conceptual design and aerodynamics Peter Frei said. "I can't even imagine what it takes to be five days up there, with so little sleep and such a complex and crippled aircraft."

The Solar Impulse 2 became the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel and Pilot Borschberg now owns the nonstop flight record with the 120-hour journey.

The plane aiming to circle the globe with only solar power has a symbolic goal to show what clean and renewable energies are capable of.

"Our airplane has not been built to carry passengers but to convey a message," said Piccard.

"Nobody now can say that renewable energies cannot do the impossible," Borschberg affirmed.

On March 9, Swiss explorers Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard began their journey around the globe from Abu Dhabi with the Solar Impulse 2, which carries 17,000 solar cells across its wings and on-board rechargeable lithium batteries.

The journey, expected to last 25 days, was broken into 12 legs at speeds from 50 km/h to 100 km/h.

After completing the flight from Honolulu to Phoenix, Borschberg and Piccard will fly together across the Atlantic back to Abu Dhabi.

Although its wingspan is longer than that of the largest passenger jet, Solar Impulse 2 weighs only 2.3 tones, about the weight of a family sedan.

TRTWorld and agencies