Wednesday 7 December 2016

Solar powered plane lands in Hawaii after a record-breaking flight across the Pacific

Published 03/07/2015 | 18:32

Bertrand Piccard (L) celebrates with Andre Borschberg after the Solar Impulse 2 airplane, piloted by Borschberg, landed at Kalaeloa airport after flying non-stop from Nagoya, Japan, in Kapolei, Hawaii
Bertrand Piccard (L) celebrates with Andre Borschberg after the Solar Impulse 2 airplane, piloted by Borschberg, landed at Kalaeloa airport after flying non-stop from Nagoya, Japan, in Kapolei, Hawaii
The Solar Impulse 2 airplane, piloted by Andre Borschberg, lands at Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei, Hawaii, after flying non-stop from Nagoya, Japan
Bertrand Piccard (L) celebrates with Andre Borschberg after the Solar Impulse 2 airplane, piloted by Borschberg, landed at Kalaeloa airport after flying non-stop from Nagoya, Japan, in Kapolei, Hawaii
The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, lands at the Kalaeloa Airport

A solar powered plane has landed in Hawaii after a record-breaking flight across the Pacific.

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The zero-fuel Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Hawaii after a gruelling four day and 22 hour flight from Nagoya in Japan, powered only by the solar panels on its vast wing span, having already broken distance and duration records for solar aviation.

The flight is the longest leg of a round-the-world bid to raise awareness of clean technology and encourage governments to make the switch away from fossil fuels to a greener, low carbon future.

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg, flying alone in the plane which has a 72 metre (236 ft) wing span covered in more than 17,000 solar cells, but only a tiny unpressurised cockpit, had to face "difficult" conditions as the plane made its way over the Pacific.

The team at mission control in Monaco were joined by supporter Prince Albert of Monaco for the landing and they and the team on the ground in Hawaii broke into applause as the plane touched down.

Before the landing Bertrand Piccard, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse, said: "This is not just a historic first in aviation, it's a historic first in energy and it's a historic first in clean technology."

And he said: "Our airplane has not been built to carry passengers but to convey a message.

"Global implementation of clean technology similar to those which are used in Solar Impulse 2, would already today allow to divide by two the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions of our world, thanks to energy efficiency in ground mobility, buildings, industrial processes, as well as in lighting, cooling and heating systems.

"These solutions are profitable and would create jobs, revenue streams and support economical growth while also protecting the environment."

After he landed at Kalaleoa Airport Mr Borschberg, who had earlier broken the endurance record for the longest solo flight without refuelling, tweeted that for he and his fellow Swiss explorer Mr Piccard: "It's a dream coming true."

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