Today at 5:38am UTC, Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Seville, after completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a solar-powered aircraft (1).
The four-day crossing marks the latest part of the Solar Impulse team’s challenge to complete the world’s first circumnavigation by solar-powered aircraft (1).
Swiss adventurers, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, set off from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015 with the aim of demonstrating to the world that ‘clean technologies can achieve impossible goals’ (1).
Solar Impulse 2 has already achieved many firsts during its voyage to date, including the longest solar-powered flight, both by distance and time – 8,924km from Japan to Hawaii (3).
The round-the-world trip has faced several challenges en route. Cross winds in China caused weeks of delays, and the plane was grounded during the winter of 2015, due to overheating of its batteries following the record-breaking crossing from Japan to Hawaii (2).
Piccard, who piloted the aircraft during the Atlantic crossing, said: “It is symbolic, because all means of transportation have tried to cross the Atlantic – the first steamboats, the first aeroplane, the first balloons, the first airships and, today, it is the first solar-powered aeroplane. But the goal is not to change aviation, as Charles Lindbergh did, but to inspire people to use [renewable] technologies, and show people they can use these technologies every day to have a better quality of life” (2).
- (1) – Completing the Atlantic Crossing: more than an aviation first! – Solar Impulse Blog
- (2) – Solar Impulse 2 completes first ever Atlantic crossing by solar plane – The Guardian
- (3) – Solar Impulse sets off on 90-hour Atlantic crossing – BBC