25 Apr Solar-powered plane safely lands in the US
The Solar Impulse 2 (SI2), an experimental plane flying on the sun’s energy has safely landed in California after completing its ninth of 13 legs in a circumnavigation journey that began in the UAE last year.
The aim of the flight was to encourage the use of renewable energy with an airplane powered by 17,000 solar cells.
The aircraft’s wingspan is wider than a jumbo jet’s, but weighs about the same as a car’s due to its light construction.
The Swiss pilot, Bertrand Piccard said the flight was delayed by over two hours because of a technical challenge. Crossing the Pacific Ocean is the most dangerous due to lack of landing areas in an emergency.
Piccard said he believes electric-powered planes carrying up to 50 passengers for short distances would be possible within 10 years, but wouldn’t be practical for commercial aviation.
The Swiss pilot said he could not sleep more than 20 minutes at a time “because after 20 minutes you have to wake up and control everything and if everything goes well then you can go back to sleep.”
The SI2 was grounded last year after its batteries experienced problems halfway through its 35,000km trip.
The plane is now anticipated to cross the US, stopping in New York before its trans-Atlantic journey to Europe and will finally finish the trip by landing the UAE.