Solar-powered aircraft lands in Silicon Valley

Solar Impulse 2 is flying around the world without using a single drop of fuel

Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered aircraft that's circumnavigating the globe without using a single drop of fuel, arrived in Silicon Valley on Saturday evening.

The aircraft had taken off from Hawaii just under 63 hours earlier to complete its journey across the Pacific.

"Good morning California," pilot Bertrand Piccard shouted as he stepped out of the aircraft at just after midnight on Sunday morning to cheers. Around 100 people had been invited to the airfield to watch the plane land, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Solar Impulse 2 can carry a single passenger and is a sleek, lightweight craft powered entirely by the sun. Thousands of solar panels on its wings power up four batteries, which provide enough energy to keep it flying all night before the recharging starts again the next morning.

A problem with that recharging system ground the aircraft in Hawaii and then the team had to wait eight months for better weather, but now things are back on track.

A few hours before touchdown, Piccard took in the sights of nearby San Francisco, giving residents a chance to see the unique carbon-fiber plane which has a wingspan greater than a Boeing 747.

2016 04 23 landing moffet10 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse 2 flies above San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on April 23, 2016.

Solar Impulse 2 is being piloted by Piccard and André Borschberg, who are flying alternate legs of the journey. Piccard conceived the round-the-world journey to highlight what's possible with modern technology and renewable energy.

"Today, if we were to replace to old polluting devices with modern clean technology, we could divide by two the CO2 emissions and at the same time we would create jobs and make a profit," he told IDG News Service in an interview. "So we have to explain that today, protecting the environment is profitable and it was not the case in the past."

The aircraft took off from Abu Dhabi in July last year. It will now cross the U.S. before heading across the Atlantic to southern Europe or northern Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?