The Swiss pilot who broke a world record with a five-day nonstop solo flight across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii says he has fulfilled a childhood dream, and that they have proven solar powered technology works.
KAPOLEI, HAWAII, UNITED STATES (JULY 03, 2015) (REUTERS) – A Swiss man attempting to circumnavigate the globe with an aircraft powered only by the sun’s energy landed in Hawaii on Friday (July 3), after a record-breaking five-day nonstop solo flight across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.
The Solar Impulse 2 is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel. Pilot André Borschberg’s 120-hour voyage shattered the 76-hour record for nonstop flight by late American adventurer Steve Fossett in 2006 on the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.
Borschberg says this flight proves that solar technology can be an option for future travel.”
“The demonstration that of technology works. That you can fly almost forever with the sun.
“But it was also something very personal. In some ways. You know, a dream from my childhood, which I could realize thanks to this gentleman I met 12 years ago,” said Borschberg referring to his fellow countryman and partner Bertrand Piccard, who also piloted the plane, alternatively, as they set off on its 22,000-mile (35,000-km) journey around the world from Abu Dhabi on March 9.
“Very often renewable energies are presented as a break, as an obstacle for development. And we want to show the opposite. We want to show that renewable energies, and clean technology can achieve the impossible,” said Piccard. “That it’s a fantastic solution to grow, to create jobs, to make profit, but also to protect the environment.”
Borschberg, who took off from Nagoya, Japan, on Monday on the seventh leg of the journey, landed at 5:55 a.m. (1555 GMT) on Friday in Kalaeloa after five days and nights.
The next leg would be from Honolulu to Phoenix, Arizona, and then Borschberg and Piccard will fly together across the Atlantic on a return path to Abu Dhabi.
Borschberg will navigate alone in an unheated and unpressurized cockpit, sleeping in bursts of 20 minutes while on autopilot. He says he will rely on the same method he’s been using on previous flights to get him out of any difficult situation.
“What I also did here, is to practice yoga. Which I’m practicing since 20 years. And yoga teaches you, in fact, to become an observer of yourself. And there’s nothing best that when you are under pressure, when you have a problem, to take some distance and observe the way you are the way you react,” said Borschberg,
Studies, design and construction took 12 years and a first version of the plane rolled out in 2009 and broke records for heights and distances traveled by a manned solar plane.
The plane was created in order to encourage governments to replace vehicles that pollute with clean technology.