Originally published on 1Sun4All.
BREAKING NEWS from Solar Impulse 2 (Si2): The airplane of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempting the first round-the-world solar flight has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km / 3,519 miles).
At the controls, André Borschberg has also broken the record for the longest solo flight ever. By remaining airborne 3 consecutive days and nights, producing its own power with solar energy, Solar Impulse 2 has proven that Bertrand Piccard’s vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a crazy dream.
By flying above the Pacific Ocean for over 80 hours, André Borschberg — cofounder, CEO, and pilot of Solar Impulse — is currently also achieving the longest nonstop solo flight without refueling between Nagoya, Japan, and Hawaii in terms of duration. This is an accomplishment exceeding the American adventurer Steve Fossett’s flight onboard Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. Fossett, in 2006, realized a 76-hour nonstop flight to circumnavigate the globe. Solar Impulse 2 has so far accomplished 73% of its flight to Hawaii and is intended to fly approximately 120 hours in total before landing in Honolulu.
“Can you imagine that a solar powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane!”, said Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse. “This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals!”
André Borschberg is still enduring human, technical, and operational challenges, navigating the high-tech flying laboratory alone in an unheated and unpressurized 3.8 cubic meter cockpit.
The first 24 hours were very technical, but the second day was really getting me into the mission. It took me a while to create a relationship of trust with the airplane, which allows me to rest and eventually sleep by periods of 20 minutes with the autopilot. The experience of flight is so intense that I can only focus on the present moment and discover how to deal with my own energy and mindset. —André Borschberg
If André’s flight is successful, Bertrand will then continue this epic ocean crossing to Phoenix, Arizona. The journey will then take the 2 explorers, flying alternatively in the single-seater cockpit, across the USA, the Atlantic, and back to Abu Dhabi where the journey started on March 9.
Join the Movement: FutureIsClean.org #FutureIsClean
The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for FutureisClean.org, an initiative aiming to encourage governments to replace old polluting devices with new clean technology, in order to save energy, save natural resources, and decrease CO2 emissions in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.
Would you like to meet the Si2 team? Check out the new website team page!
Photo Credit: Picture from André Borschberg while flying over Japan ©Solar Impulse via Revillard, Rezo.ch | Video and Cartoon Credit: Solar Impulse