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Solar Impulse 2 Lands in Hawaii After Record-Breaking, Historic Flight

First Posted: Jul 07, 2015 08:27 AM EDT

A record-breaking solar flight has reached Hawaii. At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, pilot Andrew Broschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 117 hours and 52 minutes over the Pacific Ocean from Japan powered not by fuel, but by the sun.

The historic landing occurred at the Kalaeloa Airport after five days and five nights of flying. This broke the world record of distance and duration of solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever.

The pilot, Andre, had to endure wearing an oxygen mask for long stretches during high altitude and had to make sure he received enough rest while at the same time maximizing the energy levels of the plane, particularly during turbulent weather conditions. In this case, he accomplished the eight leg of his flight by remaining airborne for five consecutive days and nights; this proved 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; in fact, perpetual flight is a reality.

"I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey," said Andre. "I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest. The team at the Mission Control Center in Monaco (MCC) was my eyes and my ears-the MCC was battling to give me the possibility to rest and recover, but also maximizing the aircraft's energy levels and sending me trajectories and flight strategies simulated by computer. This success fully validates the vision that my partner Bertrand Piccard had after his round-the-world balloon flight to reach unlimited endurance in an airplane without fuel."

Solar Impulse's mission, with Andre and Piccard, was to bring a solar plane around the world. The plane departed from Abu Dhabi in March and since then has travelled globally. The recent accomplishment of the most difficult leg of the flight has brought attention to the plane and may reveal that it may be possible to fly plane that can reduce CO2 emissions.

Now, Bertrand Piccard will fly to Phoenix for the next leg of the Round-The-World attempt before the mission continues onward to New York, Europe and then Abu Dhabi where it all started.

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