Solar Impulse 2, a solar powered plane, has broken the world record for longest non-stop solo flight, and has almost completed its crossing of the Pacific in its unprecedented bid to circle the planet without using combustible fuel.
The plane, which took off from Japan on Monday, is expected to land in Hawaii’s Kalaeola Airport on Friday at 16:00 GMT. By 02:00 GMT, the aircraft had completed 91 percent of the journey.
“After the longest and most tiring night of this flight, bringing the pilot and aircraft to the limits, Andre is now back under the oceanic sunlight,” the organisers said.
On March 9, Swiss explorers Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard began their journey around the globe from Abu Dhabi with Solar Impulse 2, which carries 17,000 solar cells across its wings and on-board rechargeable lithium batteries.
— André Borschberg (@andreborschberg) July 2, 2015
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.
Solar Impulse 2 is the first plane to fly both day and night with the energy captured from the sun.