The experimental solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 made history early this morning when it touched down in Seville, Spain after a three-day nonstop flight from New York City. The landing marks the first-ever solar, electric, and zero-emission crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The culmination of a partnership between Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Solar Impulse 2 is sure to snag another world record for this accomplishment, the latest in a series of firsts in the plane’s round-the-world journey.
Piccard endured three days and three nights (71 hours and 8 minutes) in the one-man aircraft, covering 4,203 miles without fuel. The all-electric airplane draws all of its power through solar panels, which charge the plane’s batteries during the day to power its nighttime flying. Piccard landed Solar Impulse 2 successfully at the Seville Airport at 7:38am local time, ending the epic ocean crossing. Ground crews have already set to work evaluating the aircraft’s performance and checking for failures to ensure that everything is in good condition before Borschberg takes off on the next leg of the journey.
Last year, Borschberg was at the helm when Solar Impulse 2 successfully flew across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii, and each leg of the historic journey seems to deepen the pilots’ conviction about the power of clean energy and its significance on a global scale. Following his landing in Spain this morning, Piccard waxed poetic about the cross-Atlantic flight. “The Atlantic has always revealed the transitions between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ worlds,” he said. “But while theses worlds used to be geographical continents, today they are states of mind. The ‘old’ world is the world of inefficient polluting devices, depleting the Earth’s resources. The ‘new’ world is the world of modern clean technologies that can halve our global energy consumption, save natural resources and improve our quality of life. With this transatlantic flight our aim is to inspire the adoption of clean technologies everywhere.”
This marked the 15th leg of the experimental solar-powered aircraft’s round-the-world journey, which began in Abu Dhabi last March. The team expects at least two more flights to complete the global adventure.
Images via Solar Impulse