THE solar-powered aeroplane on a globe-circling voyage that began more than a year ago in the UAE reached a milestone on Saturday, completing a trip across the US with a Statue of Liberty fly-by before landing in New York.
The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 4am after a 4-hour 41-minute flight of about 165 miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania. Its trip across the US began on April 24, when Solar Impulse landed in San Francisco from Hawaii.
“Si2 is now safe in New York, JFK airport … Our new home is Hangar 19 in John F. Kennedy International Airport!” the pilots’ logbook read.
Pilots Andre Borschberg, who flew the plane to New York, and Bertrand Piccard, who will start the next leg of the journey, expect to leave “soon” to cross the Atlantic Ocean for Europe or South Africa on their way to completing an aviation engineering feat to advance environmentally compatible technology.
The Solar Impulse 2’s wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries.
The plane runs on stored energy at night. The trip began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.