Solar plane skips across Atlantic, powers toward round-the-world goal
by Laura Leon, The Associated Press
Matching Lindbergh's feat fuel-free, Solar Impulse 2 touches down in Spain
SEVILLE, Spain—An experimental solar-powered airplane landed in Spain June 23, completing an unprecedented three-day flight across the Atlantic in the latest leg of its globe-circling voyage.
The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Seville in southern Spain Thursday morning, ending a 71-hour, eight-minute flight which began from New York City on June 20. It was the first time a solar-powered plane has made such a journey using zero fuel and zero emissions, organizers said.
Organizers said the aircraft had flown 6,765 kilometres (4,204 miles) at a maximum height of 8,534 metres (28,000 feet) and average speed of 95 kph (59 mph).
It was the 15th leg of a planned around-the-world flight which began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The wings of Solar Impulse 2, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.
The flight was piloted by Swiss men Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.
“Initially the aviation industry told us it was impossible to build such an airplane, but we believed we could do it thanks to all our partners’ technologies,” Borschberg said in a statement.
The organizers said the mission will continue onward to Abu Dhabi.
It said the project showed that “exploration and pioneering are no longer about conquering new territories, but about exploring new ways to have a better quality of life on earth.”