We’ve been following Solar Impulse since 2010 when the HB-SIA solar powered plane was being put through various tests to ensure that it could survive an “around the world” trip of sorts only on solar power. In 2011 the plane took off for its first international flight from Switzerland to Belgium and became the start of an epic journey that spans continents. Its record breaking solar flight from Japan to Hawaii landed last week after five nights and days airborne without any fuel burnt.
It was as much a test for physical endurance as it was to prove that solar energy can play a part in the aviation sector, pilot André Borschberg did the solo flight from Japan to Hawaii and was on the controls for some 117 hours and 52 minutes over the Pacific Ocean.
The Solar Impulse 2 touched down at the Kalaeloa Airport after traveling a distance of roughly 4,480 miles (7,200 km). André Borschberg broke the world records for distance and duration for solar aviation in the process, and even the world record for the longest solo flight ever.
“This successfully validates the vision that my partner Bertrand Piccard had after his round-the-world balloon flight to reach unlimited endurance in an airplane without fuel,” said André Borschberg.
For the next trip of this Round-The-World attempt Bertrand Piccard is going to fly to Phoenix before continuing onward to New York, Europe and Abu Dhabi, where the journey first began.