The Swiss solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 successfully completed its transatlantic flight from New York to Seville. The historic round-the-world journey will now continue onward to Abu Dhabi.
The flight covered a distance of 6,765 kilometres, making it the “first ever electric, solar and emission-free transatlantic flight”. It took pilot Bertrand Piccard 71 hours to cross the Atlantic Ocean, flying at an average speed of 95.10 kilometres per hour at a maximum altitude of 8,534 metres.
The Solar Impulse team said that the flight broke several world records, including distance and altitude in an electric airplane as well as distance in the solar airplane category.
“The Atlantic has always revealed the transitions between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ worlds,” said Piccard. “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.”
Co-founder of the project André Borschberg was in the cockpit of the solar-powered airplane as it crossed the Pacific Ocean. That flight, which took five days and nights flight, proved that it is theoretically possible to fly perpetually.
Solar Impulse called the now-completed transatlantic flight a first in the history of renewable energy. “Solar Impulse is a demonstration of energy efficiency and smart energy management, similar to a flying smart grid,” emphasised Borschberg. He said that the transatlantic flight once again proved that “change is possible when we have the right mindset and are not afraid to push back our own limits”.