Solar plane arrives in Arizona on latest leg of global trip

An plane powered only by sunlight has arrived in a Phoenix suburb after completing the latest leg of its global trip. The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 landed shortly before 9 p.m. on Monday at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, after a 16-hour flight from Mountain View, California. Pilot Andre Borschberg said it was “a beautiful flight” after stepping from the cockpit. Solar Impulse 2 began its globe-circling journey last year, and flew from Hawaii to the Silicon Valley last week.

It was a special flight; not a long flight.

Pilot Andre Borschberg

For several minutes after arriving, Mr Borschberg remained aboard as powerful winds buffeted the aircraft, forcing the ground crew to hold down it down with straps. After Phoenix, the plane will make two more stops in the U.S. before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey. 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 two legs to cross the Pacific were the riskiest part of the plane’s travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

Sometimes it is more difficult to handle the airplane on the ground than in flight.

Pilot Andre Borschberg