MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 25 (UPI) — In an effort to show “clean technology could do the impossible,” Swiss explorer and psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard successfully landed an experimental plane in California Sunday without using a single drop of fossil fuels.
The solar powered plane arrived in Mountain View California just before midnight after a two and a half day flight across the Pacific Ocean, CNN reported.
“It’s a new era. It’s not science fiction. It’s today,” Piccard said from California after his successful voyage. “It exists and clean technologies can do the impossible.”
Images of the elegant Solar Impulse 2, with the wingspan of a Boeing 747 but only weighing about as much as an SUV, flew over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay marking a significant achievement. The project has been beset with problems and setbacks during its pioneering airborne circumnavigation.
“The Pacific is done, my friend. I love it, but it’s done,” a relieved Piccard said, after piloting the plane from Hawaii to California, ABC reported.
The plane’s arrival at Moffett Airfield marked the completion of the ninth of 13 legs in the journey that started last year in the United Arab Emirates.
Piccard, 58, has been alternating the long solo flights with team-mate Andre Borschberg. Piccard flew the challenging mission from the central Pacific to the Silicon Valley town southeast of San Francisco.
The goal of the solar flight is to promote the use of renewable energy with an aircraft powered by 17,000 solar cells.