Home Science & Technology Solar Impulse Pacific Crossing: Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Silicon Valley

Solar Impulse Pacific Crossing: Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Silicon Valley


Solar Impulse has landed in California after a three-day flight over the Pacific Ocean.

High winds delayed the solar-powered plane’s landing at Moffett Airfield, Mountain View, as pilot Bertrand Piccard flew in a holding pattern off the coast.

Solar Impulse left Hawaii on April 21, after eight months of repairs following battery damage on a flight from Japan.

This is the ninth leg of Solar Impulse’s attempt to fly round the world.

Solar Impulse started its journey last March in Abu Dhabi. The trip has involved two different pilots flying separate legs.

The plane gets all its energy from the sun, and has 17,000 photovoltaic cells on its top surfaces.

These power Solar Impulse’s propellers during the day but also charge batteries that the vehicle’s motors can then call on during the night.

The distance on this leg was 2,200 nautical miles.

Starting in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in March, Solar Impulse crossed Oman, India, Myanmar, and China.Solar Impulse 2 solo flight record

The plane then flew to Japan, before undertaking a 8,924km passage to Hawaii. That five-day, five-night crossing set a record for the longest ever non-stop solo plane journey.

However, Solar Impulse’s batteries overheated during the trip, forcing the project to stop on the Pacific archipelago while repairs were conducted.

A further 20 million euros ($23 million) had to be raised from supporters during the winter to keep the project going for another year.

Bertrand Piccard shares flying duties with his business partner, Andre Borschberg.

It was Andre Borschberg who flew into Kalaeloa in July 2015, and he will take the controls on the next leg across the US mainland.

Bertrand Piccard and Ande Borschberg’s intention is to reach New York by the start of June, to begin preparations for an Atlantic crossing.

Assuming this is completed successfully, it should then be a relatively straightforward run back to the “finish line” in Abu Dhabi.

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have been working on the Solar Impulse project for more than a decade.