HAWAII, July 3rd, 2015. Solar impulse, the 100% solar powered Swiss plane and pilot, landed in Hawaii completing the longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight. Pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 117 hours and 52 minutes over the Pacific Ocean from Japan powered only by the sun. The non-stop flight took 5 days and 5 nights.
With the sun rising at 5:55 am local time in Hawaii (15:55 GMT), Solar Impulse 2 touched down at the Kalaeloa Airport after traveling a distance of around 4,480 miles (7,200 km). Pilot André Borschberg, has broken the world records for distance and duration in solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (117 hours and 52 minutes). These world records will be ratified by the International Aeronautical Federation.
André endured many challenges on the flight. He had to carefully maintain a balance between wearing an oxygen mask for long stretches of time at high altitude, getting enough rest and maximizing the energy levels of the plane, particularly difficult during turbulent weather conditions.
“I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey. I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest. The team at the Mission Control Centre 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”, said André Borschberg, “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”, he added.
“What André has achieved is extraordinary from the perspective of a pilot. But furthermore, he has also led the technical team during the construction of this revolutionary prototype. It is not only a historic first in aviation it is also a historic first for renewable energies.”, said Bertrand Piccard, initiator of Solar Impulse, chairman and pilot.
During a typical 24-hour flight cycle, the pilot rests eight times per day for an average period of between 5 and 20 minutes. Resting is only possible at lower altitudes when the oxygen mask is not required. The pilot’s daily food intake is 2.4 kg (5.2 lbs), 2.5 l (84.5 oz) of water, and 1 l (33.8 oz) of sports drink. His meals include a breakfast, a lunch and snacks including dried fruits and chocolate. The nutritional composition of the food fluctuates with altitude and temperature because the pilots require more energy when flying at higher altitudes despite losing their appetite when flying high. Borschberg performed yoga for 30 to 45 minutes a day to stay fit and mobile.
Bertrand Piccard will fly the next leg to Phoenix, Arizona in the US.