Solar Impulse 2, piloted by André Borschberg has successfully completed its first solar powered flight from Japan to Hawaii using only the power of the sun. The plane landed at 5:55 am local time, and was met with a traditional Hawaiian welcome reception. With this landing, the team from Solar Impulse, based in Switzerland, has shown that air transport is possible only with solar energy that powers its electric motors, with zero fossil fuel.
The plane can fly during the day powered by the solar panels that cover its wings, while also charging the batteries that allow it to stay in the air at night, giving it almost unlimited autonomy.
The experimental solar plane landed at Kalaeloa Airport near Honolulu, Hawaii, after five consecutive days in the air. Yesterday, the Solar Impulse 2 broke the world record for the longest solo flight, when Borschberg logged more than 80 hours in the air. The previous record was held by American adventurer Steve Fossett, who piloted a Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer in 2006 for 76 consecutive hours, also in his attempt to go around the world. Upon landing, Borschberg logged 118 hours of solo flight and 8,874 kilometers (5,514 miles).
Borschberg slept in 20-minute periods on autopilot. After 5 days sitting, Borschberg had to slowly recondition his body to get back on his feet.