The solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 has just completed a record-breaking journey from Japan to Hawaii, travelling 8,000km over a period of five days.
— Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) July 3, 2015
Pilot Andre Borschberg has set a number of world records including the longest solo un-refuelled flight in history. Of course the time spent and distance covered are also world records for solar-powered manned aircraft.
Borschberg will now spend the next few days adjusting back to land having spent five days unable to move. The five day flight has understandably been both a physical and mental strain on Borschberg and the entire Solar Impulse team.
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) July 3, 2015
The flight isn't just a milestone in terms of technical achievement, it also required precision work from meteorologists who had to find the perfect flight window for the plane.
It took them over a month to find the perfect balance between cloudy weather and clear skies so the sun-reliant aircraft could make the journey in one single trip.
Solar Impulse's batteries might be state-of-the-art but the plane still needs to be 100 per cent charged by the end of each day for it to fly through the night.
Typically the plane reaches the morning with between 7 and 10 per cent of battery power, a tiny window within which to work when you account for the unpredictability of the weather as well.
The aircraft will now spend a few days being examined by the technical teams before Borschberg's counterpart Bertrand Piccard will take Solar Impulse 2 from Hawaii to Phoenix, Arizona.