4,000 miles later, the odyssey of solar-powered Solar Impulse is finally over as it returned home to where the adventure began – right in neutral Switzerland. This is an epic journey for the record, where it is the first of its kind to complete a solar-powered intercontinental round-trip air journey. Making its way between Europe and Africa, the Solar Impulse experimental solar airplane finally touched down in Payerne, Switzerland at 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET) earlier this morning.
The entire odyssey took two months to complete – on May 24th to be exact. The whole idea of this particular exercise is not to figure out just how fast this plane is able to fly through the cross-continental trip and back again, but rather, to assess the endurance and reliability of its engineering as a whole. Not only that, I am quite sure that this particular project has done its bit to raise public awareness concerning energy issues.
The total flight time for Tuesday’s 382-mile (615-kilometer) trip from Toulouse, France, to Payerne clocked up 13 hours and 29 minutes, sporting an average air speed of 28 mph (46 kilometers per hour).