Pi­lots con­tinue on epic jour­ney

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

A so­lar-pow­ered aero­plane has landed in sub­ur­ban Phoenix af­ter a day-long flight from Cal­i­for­nia - the lat­est leg in its around-theworld jour­ney us­ing only en­ergy from the sun.

The Swiss-made So­lar Im­pulse 2 ar­rived in the sub­urb of Goodyear, just to the south­west of Phoenix, shortly be­fore 9pm lo­cal time on Mon­day. Pi­lot An­dre Borschberg called the 16-hour trip “a beau­ti­ful flight”, af­ter step­ping from the cock­pit.

“It was a special flight; not a long flight,” he added.

The air­craft took off from Moun­tain View in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia shortly af­ter 5am.

It be­gan its globe­cir­cling jour­ney last year in Abu Dhabi and flew from Hawaii to the Sil­i­con Val­ley last week.

Af­ter Phoenix, the plane will make two more stops in the US be­fore cross­ing the At­lantic Ocean to Europe or north­ern Africa, ac­cord­ing to the web­site doc­u­ment­ing the jour­ney.

For sev­eral min­utes af­ter ar­riv­ing, Borschberg re­mained aboard as pow­er­ful winds buf­feted the air­craft, forc­ing the ground crew to hold it down with straps.

“Some­times it is more dif­fi­cult to han­dle the aero­planes on the ground than in flight,” he told re­porters later.

Video from cam­eras aboard the air­craft as well as on the ground at the Goodyear air­port showed the So­lar Im­pulse as it flew through the night sky on route to its safe touch down south­west of Phoenix.

Hours ear­lier, shortly af­ter take­off, Borschberg used his phone to snap pho­tos of the sun com­ing up along the hori­zon. Then he pre­pared for me­dia in­ter­views and made break­fast plans.

“I’m heat­ing up wa­ter for cof­fee,” Borschberg told his ground crew. “A nice Nescafe.”

His co-pi­lot, Ber­trand Pic­card, also from Switzer­land, made the three-day trip from Hawaii to the heart of Sil­i­con Val­ley, where he landed last week.

The two legs to cross the Pa­cific were the riski­est part of the plane’s trav­els due to the lack of emer­gency land­ing sites. “We have demon­strated it is fea­si­ble to fly many days, many nights, that the tech­nol­ogy works,” said Borschberg, 63, who pi­loted the plane dur­ing a five-day trip from Ja­pan to Hawaii and who kept him­self alert by do­ing yoga poses and med­i­ta­tion.

The crew was forced to stay in Oahu for nine months af­ter the plane’s bat­tery sys­tem sus­tained heat dam­age on its trip from Ja­pan.

The lay­overs will give the pi­lots a chance to swap places and en­gage with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties along the way so they can ex­plain the project, which is es­ti­mated to cost more than $100 mil­lion and be­gan in 2002 to high­light the im­por­tance of re­new­able en­ergy and the spirit of in­no­va­tion.

LANDED: An­dre Borschberg, left, and Ber­trand Pic­card

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