Originally published on 1Sun4All.
The longest and most difficult leg of the round-the-world solar flight attempted since last March by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg ended successfully in Hawaii. At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 117 hours and 52 minutes over the Pacific Ocean from Japan, powered only by the sun (well, + the technologies that turn it into electricity).
A historic landing took place in Hawaii after a perilous nonstop flight for 5 days and 5 nights. With the sun rising this morning at 5:55 am local time Hawaii (15:55 GMT), Solar Impulse 2 touched down at the Kalaeloa Airport after traveling a distance of roughly 7,200 km (4,480 miles).
Pilot André Borschberg, also cofounder of Solar Impulse with Bertrand Piccard, broke the world records of distance and duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (117 hours and 52 minutes — around 7,200 km, 4,474 miles). These world records will be ratified after the landing by the International Aeronautical Federation.
André endured many challenges requiring him to carefully maintain a balance between wearing an oxygen mask for long stretches of time during high altitude, getting enough rest, and maximizing the energy levels of the plane, particularly during turbulent weather conditions. Successfully accomplishing this 8th leg by remaining airborne for 5 consecutive days and nights has now proven that the airplane’s critical components perform exceptionally and that Solar Impulse’s vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel, using solely the power of the sun, was not only a dream: perpetual flight is a reality.
Solar Impulse’s bold mission of building a solar plane was created to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation, and clean technologies can change the world, and to encourage people to save energy and promote the use of clean technologies globally. Departing from Abu Dhabi in March, the explorers are not on this endeavor for the sake of it, as mankind is facing a much bigger problem with pollution, depletion of natural resources, and climate change.
For Bertrand Piccard, the unprecedented accomplishment is to demonstrate that if technological solutions exist to fly a plane day and night without fuel — which has been successfully proven — then there is potential for these same efficient technologies to be used in our daily lives, and to achieve energy savings to reduce CO2 emissions.
Join the Movement: FutureIsClean.org #FutureIsClean
During a typical 24-hour flight cycle, the pilot rests 8 times, averaging between 5 and 20 minutes per session. Borschberg also performed yoga 30 to 45 minutes a day to stay fit and prevent any potential negative effects of immobility.
The pilot’s daily intake is 2.4 kg (5.2 lbs) of food, 2.5 liter (84.5 oz, 0.66 US gallon, almost 3 US quarts) of water, and 1 liter (33.8 oz, 0.26 US gallon, 1 US quart) of sports drink per day. His meals include a breakfast, a lunch prepared to be as similar as possible to homemade meals, and snacks including dried fruits and chocolate. The nutritional composition of the food fluctuates with respect to altitudes and temperatures because the pilots require more energy when flying at higher altitudes – in spite of decreased appetites due to increased elevation.
Information on Flight 8: Nagoya (Japan) to Hawaii (USA)
Pilot: André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-Founder and CEO
When: Take-off at 3:03 am local time Japan on June 29nd, 2015 (6:03 pm GMT on June 28th, 2015)
Landed at 05:55 am local time Hawaii on July 3rd, 2015 (3:55 pm GMT on July 3rd, 2015)
Flight time: 117:52 hours
Maximum altitude: 8,634 m (28,000 ft)
Average speed: 61.19 km/h, 38 mi/hr
Flight plan distance: 7,212 km, 4,481 mi
Bertrand Piccard will fly to Phoenix (estimated distance: 4,707 km, or 2,925 miles; estimated time: 3 days) for the next leg of the Round-The-World attempt before the mission continues onward to New York, Europe, and Abu Dhabi where it all started.
FYI: For those of you who live on the West Coast of the North America, there is talk of landing in San Francisco and Moffett Airfield in Mountain View due to weather.
Would you like to meet the Si2 team? Check out the new website team page!
Photo Credit: Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are reunited in Hawaii and celebrate together the world record for longest solo flight ever flown by the latter, 2015.07.03 | Revillard ©Solar Impulse | Raul Urbina | Video and Cartoon Credits: Solar Impulse