The Solar Impulse 2 is just one leg away from completing its round-the-world flight, after the plane was successfully piloted across the Atlantic Ocean. It was an arduous journey, manned by Bertrand Piccard, that was completed in just 71 hours, almost 20 hours less than expected.
The Solar Impulse 2 mission started back in March 2015, with the aim of flying around the world in a fuel-free aircraft, powered exclusively by solar energy, to demonstrate the capabilities of PV technology. It has had its ups and downs, but the journey is almost over.
Bertrand Piccard and his co-pilot André Borschberg have taken turns to fly the plane, equipped with 17,000 PV cells and four lithium-ion batteries. Piccard took the reigns during the Atlantic crossing, leaving from New York City on Monday morning.
The flight had been expected to take 90 hours, with the original destination planned for Paris. However, forecasts of a storm over France inspired the team to change its destination to Seville in the south of Spain. The journey only took 71 hours, flying over whales on the way, but still represented Piccard’s longest flight in the Solar Impulse.
The final leg of the mission is to Abu Dhabi, where the journey all began 15 months ago. It will be a great occasion for celebration, for the two Swiss pilots and the entire Solar Impulse team, who have shown the world the immense possibilities of solar energy.
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