Solar Impulse 2

Flying Close to the Sun

solar1
Solar Impulse 2 has space for only one person.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Solar Impulse 2 project was designed to demonstrate the potential of solar-powered transport and could mark the beginning of a new era of flight.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Solar Impulse 2 flight totalled 43,041 kilometers (26,744 miles) and 558 hours in the air over 16 months.
    • Mr. Borschberg piloted the aircraft across the Pacific on a trip that lasted more than four days, the longest uninterrupted flight on record.
    • The plane was grounded for nine months in Hawaii after the battery system failed.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Swiss businessman and pilot André Borschberg, along with colleague and compatriot Bertrand Piccard, completed an epic quest this week — flying around the world in an aircraft powered only by the sun.

Their journey started 16 months earlier, in March 2015. Their plane, Solar Impulse 2, took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and, as the pilots took it in turns to fly the single-seated giant, made its way across India and China.

From Japan, Mr. Borschberg then piloted the plane across the Pacific on a trip that lasted more than four days, the longest uninterrupted flight on record.

But when it landed in Hawaii, the plane was grounded for nine months because of a defective battery. With the project on the verge of failure, repairs were finally made and the epic journey continued across the United States and then on to Europe, North Africa and back to Abu Dhabi.

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