After months of delays and 5 straight days of flying, the first solar-powered airline, the Solar Impulse 2, has finished crossing the Pacific.
The sunlight-powered aircraft arrived in San Francisco Bay on the night of April 23rd and touched down on Moffet ground this morning. This is the ninth leg of its attempt to fly round the world.
Solar Impulse 2 started the journey last March in Abu Dhabi, UAE and crossed Oman, India, Myanmar, and China. The plane took off from Hawaii on Thursday, where it had undergone repairs after its batteries were damaged during a flight from Japan.
Pilot Bertrand Piccard had to travel 2,717 miles between Hawaii and San Francisco, with only short naps allowed during the 3-day expedition. Because the prop-driven craft moves so slowly, mission legs can take several days and nights of continuous flight.
“I crossed the bridge. I am officially in America,” said pilot Bertrand Piccard as he flew above San Francisco Bay.
Solar Impulse gets all its energy from the sun – through the 17,000 photovoltaic cells that cover the top surfaces of the craft.
See how it compares with an average Boeing below:
Solar Impulse 2 is meant to show that green energy can accomplish as spectacular a feat as flying across the planet. If the flight encourages anyone to embrace clean power, it accomplishes its goal. And, this is in line with the recent drive all over the world to migrates towards environment-friendly technology.
Recall that a Nigerian student, Segun Oyeyiola invented a solar-powered vehicle after he spent a year retrofitting a Volkswagen Beetle into a wind and solar-powered car.
Similarly, the world is set to witness a deluge of solar-powered tricycles after India made the discovery some months ago and is on the brink of producing on a large scale.
The world is certainly gravitating towards cleaner energy. Nigeria with her overdependent on refined fossil fuel and attendant scarcity thereof might be better for it.
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