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Solar Impulse 2 to land at dawn, arrives in Honolulu

The solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2 (SI2), has arrived early on Friday morning in Honolulu, the capital city of the US's island state of Hawaii, and will land at dawn.


Solar Impulse 2 to land at dawn, arrives in Honolulu
Solar Impulse/Twitter

Honolulu: The solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2 (SI2), has arrived early on Friday morning in Honolulu, the capital city of the US's island state of Hawaii, and will land at dawn.

The Solar Impulse 2 has finished the 8,200-km non-stop solo flight from Nagoya in Japan at 2 am local time (1200 GMT). The solar-powered plane will land at Hawaii's Kalaeloa airport at 6 am local time (1600 GMT), as reported by Xinhua news agency.

The plane has its batteries at around half of their full energy level, even after flying around 2,000 metres above Hawaii and would support it for the next couple of hours, media reported.

Hawaii is the eighth leg of the plane's 35,000-km journey around the world, which started from Abu Dhabi on March 9. It is piloted solo alternatively by Swiss explorers Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.

During the trip from Japan to Hawaii, Borschberg piloted alone for 114 hours - five days and nights -- in an unheated and unpressurszed cockpit, sleeping in bursts of 20 minutes while on autopilot.

Three records were set during the trip -- the longest distance of non-stop flying, the longest solo flight and the longest solar-powered flight without any fuel.

Borshberg is in good health, though very tired, media reports said.

"Can you imagine that a solar-powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plan?" Piccard said in a statement, "This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals."

The plane weighs about as much as a family sedan and has 17,000 solar cells across its wingspan.

The round-the-world trip is expected to take some 25 flight days, broken up into 12 legs at speeds between 50 and 100 km per hour. On the way to Hawaii, its average speed was around 70 km per hour.

The SI2 initially left Nanjing, the capital of east China's Jiangsu province, on May 31 for Hawaii, but was forced to land in the central Japanese city of Nagoya due to "a wall of clouds" forming over the Pacific.

The next leg of the flight will be from Honolulu to Phoenix in the US state of Arizona, before Borschberg and Piccard fly together across the Atlantic on a return path to Abu Dhabi.

It took 12 years to build this solar plane and the first version in 2009 broke records for heights and distances travelled by a manned solar plane.

(With IANS inputs)

From Zee News

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