The airplane of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, attempting the first round the world solar flight, has now broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hour and 5663 km).
Borschberg has also broken the world record for the longest solo flight ever. By remaining airborne for three 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.”
]Borschberg, co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse, has now achieved the longest non-stop solo flight without refuelling, beating American Adventurer Steve Fossett’s flight on board Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, who, in 2006, realised a 76 hours non stop flight to circumnavigate the globe.
Solar Impulse 2 is three quarters through its flight from Nagoya to Hawaii and will fly approximately 120 hours in total before landing in Honolulu, although there is a chance it may extend its flight to avoid a cold weather front.
“Can you imagine that a solar powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane!”, Piccard said in a statement. “This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals!”
Borschberg is navigating the high tech flying laboratory alone in an unheated and unpressurized 3,8 cubic meter cockpit.
“The first 24 hours were very technical”, said André Borschberg, “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.”
Should this flight be successful, Picard will set off to continue the journey 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 in March this year.
The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for www.FutureisClean.org, an initiative aiming to encourage governments to replace old polluting devices by new clean technology, in order to save energy, natural resources and decrease CO2 emissions in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.