Solar Impulse 2 has finally touched down in Chongqing, China just after 17.30 yesterday. This was the completion of the fifth leg in the solar flights landmark circumnavigation in the first fuel free flight around the globe.
The Swiss experimental solar-powered aircraft is made up of 17,000 solar cells, and can fly day and night without stopping. It has been described as an airplane of perpetual endurance but even it needs to stop to allow its pilots some refueling.
The plane was piloted by Betrand Piccard, who also co-piloted the first balloon flight around the world non-stop. He planned only to stop briefly in Chongqing but weather issues have made it impossible so they will stay south instead of heading straight on east to Nanjing and wait for conditions to improve.
Solar Powered Record Breaker
Solar Impulse 2 is the second of these flights, the first taking place in the solar impulse prototype, the project again being piloted by Piccard and led by Andre Borschberg. The first ever solar impulse flight was in fact all the way back in December 2009 and flew for 26 hours straight in June 2010! The plane broke 8 world records, it being the first to fly through the night, across continents and across the United states!
This new leg of the journey began in Myanmar and covered a distance of 1,375Km. The Solar impulse 2 flight began its legacy in Abu Dhabi and went onto Muscat, Oman, Ahmedebad and Varanasi, before moving onto India, stopping at Mandalay and Myanmar, before the incredibly long leg to Chongqing. The plans are to move on from China to Hawaii across the pacific, and onto the United States. The rest of the journey will depend on the weather but it will end its flight back in Abu Dhabi in August.
Meteorologists have been analyzing the weather for 9 years to make this possible, it has taken prototypes, hours and completely un-enecountered problems, but these things are all to be expected when creating the first of something as incredible as this aircraft and once it has broken yet another world record Solar Impulse 2 will hopefully be the start of a new, fuel free way to travel.