Today (July 3) Solar Impulse continued its record-breaking journey, breaking two records for the longest solo flight in human history. The plane landed safely at Kalaeloa Airport in Hawaii after being airborne five consecutive days and nights, fueled only by the sun.
The plane and its pilot, André Borschberg, broke the solo records for distance and duration. After taking off from Japan on Monday Borschberg flew the solar-powered plane roughly 4,480 miles over 117 hours and 52 minutes. The records will be ratified by the International Aeronautical Federation.
“I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey. I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest,” Borschberg said. "This success fully 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.”
During the flight Borshberg had to wear an oxygen mask for long durations during high altitude parts of the flight. The ascents allowed the plane to take advantage of the sun at its peak, flying higher, then descend when it was cloudy or night, minimizing use of its batteries as much as possible.
“The team at the Mission Control Center in Monaco (MCC) was my eyes and my ears,” Borschberg said. He added that they allowed him to rest and sent him the trajectories and flight strategies that maximized the plane’s energy use.
"What André has achieved is extraordinary from the perspective of a pilot. But furthermore, he has also led the technical team during the construction of this revolutionary prototype. It is not only a historic first in aviation it is also a historic first for renewable energies.", said Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse founder, chairman and pilot.
The pilots and flight crew will now prepare for the next leg of the journey from Hawaii to Arizona. Piccard will pilot that segment. From there the plane will continue on to New York, then Europe and will end its round-the-world attempt in Abu Dhabi where it took off earlier this year.Tweet