The first solar airplane capable of flying day and night without using a drop of fuel – left Hawaii and landed at the Moffett Airfield on 23 April, completing the crossing of the Pacific Ocean with several world records.
This first solar flight around the world attempt is pushing back the boundaries of the possible – and taking on a project deemed impossible by industry experts. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg want to support concrete actions for “sustainability” and show that the world can be run on clean technologies.
Piloting the Si2, Bertrand Piccard touched down at the Moffett Airfield, home to NASA’s Ames Research Center and to Google’s Planetary Ventures, after a flight of three days and two nights and 2’810 miles (4’523 km) arriving from Hawaii and completing the crossing of the Pacific Ocean, while breaking several world records (pending FAI approval). They include distance, speed, duration and altitude in the electric airplane category and altitude (gain of height) in the solar airplane category. The first part of the Pacific was accomplished by André Borschberg in a world record flight of five days and five nights from Japan to Hawaii last July. A tandem achievement without a single drop of fuel.
Adventure pilot Bertrand Piccard initiated Solar Impulse to attractively promote a pioneering and innovative spirit, particularly in the fields of renewable energy and clean technologies.
“Solar Impulse showcases that today exploration is no longer about conquering new territories, because even the moon has already been conquered, but about exploring new ways to have a better quality of life on earth,” said Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the project. “It is more than an airplane: it is a concentration of clean technologies, a genuine flying laboratory, and illustrates that solutions exist today to meet the major challenges facing our society.”