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Technology

Solar-Powered Flight Sets Records, Grounds Plane

Solar Impulse 2 flies for almost 118 hours on a risky trans-Pacific route.

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Project co-founder Bertrand Piccard (left) greets pilot and co-founder André Borschbergin in Hawaii. | Solar Impulse/Jean Revillard/rezo.ch

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After almost five days in the air, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Honolulu. | Solar Impulse/Jean Revillard/rezo.ch

Powered by nothing but the sun, the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft set several records — including longest solar aviation flight and longest solo flight. Pilot and project co-founder André Borschberg landed the plane in Hawaii on July 3 after nearly 118 hours in the air. With no emergency landing sites on the trans-Pacific route from Japan, this was the riskiest leg of a round-the-globe expedition designed to showcase the promise of clean, renewable energy. Unfortunately, the plane’s batteries severely overheated during the flight, grounding the remainder of the voyage until 2016.

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