Solar Impulse plane lands in California after successfully crossing Pacific

Following a long 9-month delay in Hawaii, the Solar Impulse 2, a small solar-powered aircraft, finally departed on Thursday to continue its trip across the Pacific Ocean, just a single leg in its flight around the world. The project's team has revealed that the plane successfully completed its flight to California, landing south of San Francisco in Mountain View at around 11:45 PM on April 23rd.

The 3-day trip saw pilot Bertrand Piccard flying non-stop for 62 hours, over a distance of 2,717 miles. The Solar Impulse craft uses no fuel, instead relying on only sunlight and batteries for energy, while the pilot is permitted to take naps no longer than 20 minutes.

While the Hawaii to California flight wasn't like a walk in the park, Piccard had it easy compared to the project's other pilot, André Borschberg, who had to fly from Japan to Hawaii back in July. That trip took just over 4 days and 21 hours, and in turn set a world record for the longest solo flight.

It was that flight that saw the Solar Impulse hit with irreversible damage to the batteries due to severe overheating. While the plane landed safely in Hawaii, it was grounded while repairs and test flights were carried out over the next 9 months.

Three legs remain in the project's journey, which aims to prove that green energy and technology can be combined to do something incredible, such as carry a plane around the world. The next trip will see Solar Impulse fly to New York sometime in early June, followed by another by another difficult 3,566-mile flight over the Atlantic to Europe. From there the last stop will be in Abu Dhabi, where the aircraft departed from in March 2015.

SOURCE Solar Impulse blog