Solar-Powered Plane In Record Five-Day Flight
A PLANE powered by the sun’s rays has touched down in Hawaii after a record-breaking, five-day journey.
Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg landed his single-seat aircraft on Friday at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu.
He took off from Nagoya, Japan, about 120 hours ago, which would be the world’s longest nonstop solo flight in an aircraft.
The previous record of 76 hours was set in 2006 by US adventurer Steve Fossett in a specially designed jet.
Solar Impulse 2, which uses no fuel, is on a round-the-world journey which started in Abu Dhabi in March.
It has since touched down in Oman, India, Burma, China and Japan.
Bertrand Piccard, the aircraft’s other pilot, said in a statement: “Can you imagine that a solar-powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane?
“This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals.”
The carbon-fibre aircraft has a 236ft (72 metre) wingspan – larger than a Boeing 747.
But it weighs just 5,000lb (2,300kg), around the same as a car – and travels at about the same speed.
Solar Impulse 2’s wings have 17,000 solar cells, which power four electric motors.
The plane charges while flying during the day so that it can stay in the air at night.
It soars to about 28,000ft during the day to recharge and dips to below 10,000ft at night to save energy.
The $100m (£64m) project, which began in 2002, aims to highlight the value of renewable energy. SkyNews.com