Solar Impulse completes Pacific Ocean crossing

Bertrand Piccard successfully landed Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) at the Moffett Airfield on 23 April after taking off from Hawaii, 2810 miles away, on 21 April, completing the crossing of the Pacific Ocean after a nine month halt after its batteries overheated.

The Si2 team has also picked up several world records including distance, speed, duration and altitude in the electric airplane category and altitude (gain of height) in the solar airplane category. The first part of the Pacific was accomplished by André Borschberg in a world record flight of five days and five nights from Japan to Hawaii last July.

On 22 April, Earth Day, Piccard spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 175 heads of states, directly from the cockpit of Si2, during a video conference with the United Nations in New York for the signature of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“Solar Impulse showcases that today exploration is no longer about conquering new territories, because even the moon has already been conquered, but about exploring new ways to have a better quality of life on earth,” said Piccard. “It is more than an airplane: it is a concentration of clean technologies, a genuine flying laboratory, and illustrates that solutions exist today to meet the major challenges facing our society.”

The flight from Hawaii to California was the ninth leg of the Round-The-World Solar Flight that will continue onward to New York, Europe or North Africa and Abu Dhabi where Si2 started out from in March 2015.