Solar-Powered Planes: Prepare for Takeoff

In aeronautics, taking a risk could mean risking your life. Fortunately, this was not the case for Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg, who successfully completed an 8-leg, record-setting trip aboard a solar-powered airplane.

The plane – the Solar Impulse II – landed in Hawaii after a grueling 5-days (5,100 miles) in-flight without a drop of fuel. Throughout the flight, the plane’s team tweeted about its journey, sharing updates on aircraft maintenance and solar energy-related news.

While the eighth leg of the Solar Impulse II’s journey from Japan to Hawaii was the most dangerous, the solar voyage dates back to March, when the Solar Impulse II took off from Abu Dhabi.

To successfully complete its journey, it’s critical that the Solar Impulse II team take full advantage of daylight flight time – according to a CNN profile on the plane, its wings and fuselage are covered in over 17,000 solar cells that absorb the sun’s rays. The next leg of Borschberg and Piccard’s excursion will take them to Phoenix, and weather withstanding, the team hopes to complete its voyage and return to Abu Dhabi before the end of 2016.  

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