In silence, without using a drop of fuel, but with much wonder in the eyes of hundreds of enchanted supporters, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) took off on 21 April to complete a crossing of the Pacific.

Si2, the solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, capable of flying day and night powered only by the energy of the sun, was airborne during Earth Day – a powerful symbol. The flight, took three days and was another challenging leg of the Round-The-World Solar Flight.

Bertrand Piccard took off from Hawaii to North America – a journey similar to the one of American aviator Amelia  Earhart, who set off from Honolulu for the first solo flight to California. Despite the many parallels between these flights, one significant difference remains: while Earhart’s airplane took off carrying more than 500 gallons of gasoline, Si2 flies  with no fuel. Across the main wing, fuselage and horizontal stabilizer, 17’248 solar cells power the four lithium  batteries, which in turn power the four motors and propellers, allowing Si2 to fly through the night towards the next  dawn.

(From left to right) AndrÈ Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO and Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman beside the cockpit of Solar Impulse 2.

(From left to right) André Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO and Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman beside the cockpit of Solar Impulse 2. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

“During my round the world balloon flight in 1999, the seven days I spent over the Pacific were the most nerve- wrecking and thrilling,” said Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of Solar Impulse, currently at the controls of the solar airplane. “With Solar Impulse the flight should last for three days, but this time I am alone in the cockpit, so the intensity is no less important. Every morning you have the suspense of knowing how much energy is left in your batteries. Then, with the sunrise comes the virtuous circle of perpetual flight.”

solar pulse journey

After his record breaking non-stop balloon flight around the world, Bertrand Piccard, a medical doctor and explorer at heart, decided that the next time he would circumnavigate the globe it would be with no fuel. He teamed up with André Borschberg, an innovation savvy entrepreneur and expert aviator. It was Borschberg who in July 2015, landed Si2 in Hawaii after a record breaking flight of five days and nights and around 8’900km from Japan. With the completion of the Pacific crossing by Bertrand Piccard, Si2 will not only be marking a first in the history of aviation, but also in the history of renewable energy.

The Solar Impulse team. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

The Solar Impulse team. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

“Last year we demonstrated that Solar Impulse is capable of flying five days and five nights non-stop: the airplane, the technologies, the human being,” commented André Borschberg, CEO and Pilot of Solar Impulse. “Now what we want to do is continue our flight around the world and demonstrate that these technologies can be used, not only in an airplane, but on the ground. That is why Bertrand initiated the project and I am moved that he will be experiencing full day and night cycles without any fuel.”

A 72 hours non-stop flight simulation. The is to make the pilot as “sustainable” as the aircraft.

A 72 hours non-stop flight simulation. The goal is to make the pilot as “sustainable” as the aircraft. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Both men take turns piloting Si2 around the world, but have different respective roles within the project – while Piccard outlines the project’s vision, philosophy and political reach and brings together the partners to fund this adventure, Borschberg pulled together the team that designed and constructed Si2 and drives the airplane’s technological innovations into new engineering solutions. Together the two Swiss pioneers are attempting the first Round-The-World Solar Flight with no fuel, to support concrete actions for sustainability and demonstrate that the world can be run on clean technologies.

Mountain View, USA, April 23rd 2016: Solar Impulse landed at Moffett Airfield, completing the pacific crossing. Departed from Abu Dhabi on march 9th 2015, the Round-the-World Solar Flight will take 500 flight hours and cover 35í000 km. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

Flying over the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Bertrand Piccard spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon directly from the cockpit of Solar Impulse 2 while flying over the Pacific Ocean during a video conference on Friday April 22 from the United Nations in New York where 175 nations had just signed the Paris Agreement on ClimateChange.

“You know, Mr Secretary-General, what you are doing today in New York by signing the Paris Agreement is more than protecting the environment – it is the launch of the clean revolution,” said Piccard. He urged Ban Ki-moon and the delegates to keep working hard to overcome resistance to fighting climate change.

“If an airplane like Solar Impulse 2 can fly day and night without fuel, the world can be much cleaner.”

“I am inspired by your pioneering spirit,” the Secretary-General said after telling Piccard he looked like an astronaut flying to the moon. “While you are making history flying around the world, we also are making history today. More than 175 countries signed the Climate Change Agreement. Thank you for your leadership and inspiration. We wish you a smooth flight. You are leading us into a new era. Bon voyage!”

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Cockpit Equipment laid out for the journey. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Hawaii, USA, April 9th 2016: The Mission Control Center in Monaco is working hard to ensure that Bertrand Piccardís last training flight is well accomplished. Departed from Abu Dhabi on march 9th 2015, the Round-the-World Solar Flight will take 500 flight hours and cover 35í000 km. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

The Mission Control Center in Monaco. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities. © Solar Impulse | Ottenwaelter | Rezo.ch

Nagoya, Japan, June 28, 2015: Solar Impusle 2 takes-off from Nagoya with AndrÈ Borschberg at the controls. The First Round-the-World Solar Flight will take 500 flight hours and cover 35í000 km, over five months. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

Takes-off from Nagoya, Japan. André Borschberg’s wife wishes him good luck. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Muscat, Oman, March 10, 2015: Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg launch their attempt at flying Round-The-World in a solar-powered airplane. Their experimental aircraft, Solar Impulse 2 took-off from Abu Dhabi (UAE) with AndrÈ Borschberg at the controls direction Muscat (Oman) where the plane made a pit stop of several hours in order to change pilot before continuing its route towards Ahmedabad (India) with Bertrand Piccard at the controls. The First Round-the-World Solar Flight will take 500 flight hours and cover 35í000 km, taking five months to complete. Swiss founders and pilots, hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

Flying over Muscat, Oman. © Solar Impulse | Stefatou | Rezo.ch

Payerne, Switzerland: Solar Impulse 2, the second single-seater solar aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg designed to take up the challenge of the first round-the-world solar flight, without any fuel in 2015, is currently being tested at Payerne airfield. Today the team performed ground tests. They tested the 4 propellers, did some new ground crew maneuvers and made a magnetic mapping of the flight instruments. Solar Impulse 2 test flights are due to take place from end of May, followed by training flights of Bertrand Piccard and AndrÈ Borschberg over Switzerland. The attempt to make the first round-the-world solar-powered flight is scheduled to start in March 2015 from Gulf area. Solar Impulse will fly, in order, over the Arabian Sea, India, Burma, China, the Pacific Ocean, the United States, the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe or Northern Africa before closing the loop by returning to the departure point. Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

Solar Impulse 2, the single-seater solar aircraft is designed to take up the challenge of the first round-the-world solar flight, without any fuel. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

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A wing of Solar Impulse 2, showing the solar panels. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Solar Impulse, test flight Pilot equipement in Moffett CA Bertrand Piccard

Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard with his equipment in Moffatt, CA. © Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

The mobile hangar that can be moved and used around the world.

A mobile hangar can be inflated and deflated, allowing it to move around the world. © Solar Impulse | Ackermann | Rezo.ch