Solar plane flies longest hour in history
The solar-powered plane, known as Solar Impulse 2 has cleared the most dangerous leg of its voyage around the world, landing safely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The plane had taken off from Nagoya, Japan, last Sunday and travelled on a long stretched five days journey.
Solar Impulse 2 has a 72 meter wingspan, larger than that of the Boeing 747 and weighs 2,300 kilograms around the same as a car. The wings have 7,000 solar cells built in which power four electric motors. The plane, which doesn’t use any fuel, charges while flying during the day so that it can fly at night.
After several weeks of delays and two aborted attempts, Swiss pilot André Borschberg was finally able to complete what he called “probably the flight of my life.”
The gruelling 116-hour voyage over nearly five days allowed the solo pilot only about three hours of rest per day, broken up into 20-minute sessions while the craft was flown by autopilot.
This latest accomplishment proves that “energy efficiency, solar power, and modern technology can achieve the impossible,” Solar Impulse co-founder and alternating pilot Bertrand Piccard tweeted.
On this leg the Solar Impulse crossed more than 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometres) of ocean, the same desolate region where Amelia Earhart disappeared 77 years ago.