Solar Impulse 2 in Spain after 3-day Atlantic crossing
23 June 2016
Solar Impulse 2, the airplane powered solely by the sun, landed safely in Seville in Spain early today following an almost three-day flight across the Atlantic from New York in one of the longest legs of the first ever fuel-less flight around the world.
The single-seat Solar Impulse 2 landed shortly after 7.30 am local time in Seville after leaving John F Kennedy International Airport at about 2.30 am EDT on 20 June.
The landing marked the completion of the 15th leg of the round-the-world journey by the plane by Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who took turns piloting the aircraft.
71 hours was the 15th leg of the round-the-world journey by the plane piloted in turns by Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.
"Oh-la-la, absolutely perfect," Piccard said, Reuters reported, after landing, ending 71 hours of flying, thanking his engineering crew for their efforts.
The aircraft which has over 17,000 solar cells built in to wings with a span bigger than that of a Boeing 747, has a cruising speed of around 70 kilometers an hour (43 miles per hour), similar to an average car.
On the flight from New York, pilot Piccard spotted whales breaching the waters beneath and an iceberg that had floated south from the Arctic. The circumnavigation is aimed at showcasing the capabilities of clean, renewable energy.
''The Atlantic is the symbolic part of the flight,'' said Piccard, speaking to The Guardian from the cockpit a few hours before landing. ''It is symbolic because all the means of transportation have always 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,'' he said.