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The longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight attempted since last March by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg ended successfully in Hawaii.
At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, 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.A historic landing took place in Hawaii after a perilous nonstop flight for 5 days and 5 nights. With the sun rising this morning at 5:55 am local time Hawaii (15:55 GMT), Solar Impulse 2 touched down at the Kalaeloa Airport after traveling a distance of roughly 4480 miles (7'200 km). Pilot André Borschberg, also co-founder of Solar Impulse with Bertrand Piccard, broke the world records of distance and duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever, (117: 52 hours and around 7'200 km. These world records will be ratified upon landing by the International Aeronautical Federation.André endured many challenges requiring him to carefully maintain a balance between wearing an oxygen mask for long stretches of time during high altitude, getting enough rest and maximizing the energy levels of the plane, particularly during turbulent weather conditions. Successfully accomplishing this 8th leg by remaining airborne for 5 consecutive days and nights has now proven that the airplane’s critical components perform exceptionally and that Solar Impulse’s vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel, using solely the power of the sun, was not only a dream: perpetual flight is a reality.“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 Center 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 adds."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.More information: www.solarimpulse.com