The first solar-powered airplane made an official landing in California after taking a three-day test flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its trip around the world. This three-day journey was termed “risky” as this would be the first test of this plane at that height and in that condition.
The Solar Impulse 2 was flown by pilot Bertrand Piccard and he finally landed here in the Silicon Valley at 11.45pm after he had flown the plane non-stop for 62hours without fuel. The plane ran into a huge tent that was erected on Moffett airfield where the project’s team were seen greeting Piccard for successfully flying the plane and landing it in the USA.
Swiss pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard have been taking turns flying the plane around the world since they took off in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates back in March 2015. The Solar Impulse 2 had made stops in Hawaii, China, Japan, Oman and even Myanmar.
The aircraft’s flight over the pacific happens to be the riskiest phase of the airplane’s global flight so far as there are no emergency landing sites, and according to the pilot, the aircraft had some bumps along the way, and I can imagine how these pilots felt in this dire situation.
It made a stop in Hawaii back in July 2015 because of the heat damage that the battery had sustained during its flight from Japan and it had to be repaired and prepared for another round of flights. The team also recorded delays in Asia as the team faced an unfavorable weather accompanied by a damaged wing while flying from China to Hawaii, and this made them divert to Japan again to make the necessary repairs and wait for the weather to be ok.
Well, we would have thought that the weather conditions will be fine in few days, but it didn’t, and the team had to wait for a month to continue their flight again. The team finally departed from Japan for Hawaii in August 2015.
The plane flies at an idle 28mph, and if you recall that this is a solar-powered airplane, you wouldn’t be too surprised. The speed can double when the sun rays are really strong during the day. Made from carbon fiber, this aircraft weighs 5,000 pounds, and that’s close to the size of a midsize truck.