solar_impuls.jpg
Photograph: solarimpulse.com

Solar Impulse 2, the single-seat solar-powered plane on a round-the-world flight, landed late Saturday in California after a three-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii.

Swiss aviator Bertrand Piccard piloted the plane to a landing strip in Mountain View, a city south of San Francisco that is home to tech giants such as Google, shortly before midnight (0700 GMT Sunday).

Solar Impulse circled the San Francisco Bay area before landing, passing over the Golden Gate Bridge on its way.

The project to promote fuel-free flight and clean-energy technology was co-founded by Piccard and Andre Borschberg. They switch off flying the plane on each leg of the journey.

The 4,500-kilometre-long flight to California continues a route that began in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi and took the experimental aircraft to India, Myanmar, China and Japan on the first half of its global circumnavigation.

From Mountain View, which was the 9th leg of the flight, the journey is planned to continue across the United States, then over the Atlantic to Europe and back to Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse 2 set a record for the longest solar-powered flight on the last leg of its journey, flying nearly 8,300 kilometers non-stop in July from Nagoya, Japan, to Hawaii.

Powered by four propellers with more than 17,000 solar cells installed on its wings, the plane is expected to make a total of 13 stops during its flight around the world, spending about 25 days in the air over the course of five months.

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