The Solar Impulse 2 has already set records at the tail end of the eighth leg of a thirteen leg flight around the world. After the first four days, the pilot, Andre Borschberg, and his plane achieved the longest solo flight and longest solar-powered flight, with much of the trip still left.
The Solar Impulse 2 took off early Monday, June 29th, from Japan on its journey around the globe. As it flies, it must be exposed to as much clear skies as possible to receive solar energy. At night, the plane runs on batteries that are fueled from the sun during the day. To conserve energy, the plane must descend to a lower altitude and fly at a slower speed.
The plane is not the only thing that needs to conserve energy. Borschberg must focus intently on the mission because a great number of factors can affect the flight. The cockpit is cramped, the weather is imperative, and the solar panels only work when powered under good weather. Borschberg has only really rested at short intervals, and has to be ever vigilant of technical functions.
This flight is a record-breaker, but more than that, it is proof that clean technologies exist and can be utilized in even the most unbelievable ways. Flying on solar power longer than a jet plane can fly on fuel, the Solar Impulse 2 is truly revolutionary.