Solar Impulse Completes Risky Pacific Leg, Lands in Calif.
Plane has landed safely in Mountain View after 62-hour flight
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Suggested by JoeQ
Posted Apr 24, 2016 6:23 AM CDT
Solar Impulse 2 flies over San Francisco, Saturday, April 23, 2016. The solar-powered airplane, which is attempting to circumnavigate the globe to promote clean energy and the spirit of innovation, arrived...   (Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – A solar-powered airplane landed in California on Saturday, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its journey around the world. Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, south of San Francisco, at 11:45pm following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where Piccard was greeted by project's team, reports the AP. "You know there was a moment in the night, I was watching the reflection of the moon on the ocean and I was thinking 'I'm completely alone in this tiny cockpit and I feel completely confident.' And I was really thankful to life for bringing me this experience," Piccard said. "It's maybe this is one of the most fantastic experiences of life I've had." The landing came several hours after the Piccard performed a fly-by over the Golden Gate Bridge as spectators watched the narrow aircraft with extra wide wings from below.

Piccard and fellow Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi in March 2015. It made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China, Japan, and Hawaii. The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane's global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites. The plane's ideal flight speed is about 28mph, though that can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a midsize truck. Solar Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa. "The adventure continues," Piccard said. "The story is not finished."
 

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