He Made It ! Borschberg Flies Solar Impulse Across the Pacific Ocean

solarimpulselandinghawaiiTo have flown the zero-fuel aircraft, Solar Impulse, for five days and five nights alone across the Pacific Ocean: this is the historic exploit Swiss pilot André Borschberg achieved today at 15:55 UTC (05:55 local time) as he landed in Hawaii, USA, to the cheers of the assembled crowd.

His epic journey started in Nagoya, Japan, on Sunday 28 June at 18:03 UTC (03:03 local time). After 117 hours 52 min in the sky he finally touched down in Hawaii, USA, having flown a staggering distance of 6449.8 km – all that without using a drop of fuel.

solarimpulselandinghawaii-2The performance was monitored by FAI Official Observers Jakob Burkard and Werner Maag to ensure that it was made according to the Sporting Code of the Federation. The full record file is still to be examined, and when it is ratified by FAI, Borschberg will smash the solar-powered duration and distance records that he and Solar Impulse co-founder Piccard established in 2010 and 2013 using a previous model of the aircraft, and this year during the flights from Muscat, Oman, to Ahmedabad, India (10 March 2015), and from Nanjing, China, to Nagoya (1 June 2015) - see below for the details of the performance notifications received by FAI.

solarimpulse-cockpit2Beyond the outstanding technological exploit, what does it take for a man to make such an achievement? Extraordinary mental and physical abilities, certainly. Flying such a long distance inevitably induces a series of extreme difficulties in terms of vigilance and endurance: how to stay alert for the entire flight, how to cope with the low temperatures and high altitudes, how to bear the cramped conditions of the tiny cockpit for five days in a row, to name just a few.

To face these challenges, Borschberg could count on the help of Solar Impulse co-founder and FAI Honorary Patron Bertrand Piccard, as well as of a whole team of skillful engineers, meteorologists, scientists, technicians and many more. They are already busy preparing for the next leg of the Round-the-World Mission which will see Solar Impulse fly from Hawaii to the American continent with a planned landing in Phoenix, Arizona (USA).

solarimpulse-cockpit1The Mission started in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 9 March 2015. Solar Impulse, with Borschberg and Piccard alternately at the controls, then flew to Muscat (Oman), Ahmedabad (India), Varanasi (India), Mandalay (Myanmar), Chongqing (China), and Nanjing (China). It then made an unplanned stop in Nagoya (Japan) after bad weather conditions hindered Borschberg from flying directly from China to Hawaii.

All the Solar Impulse flights can be seen - and relived - on Youtube.

The FAI congratulates André Borschberg and the whole Solar Impulse team on this splendid achievement.

Nagoya-Hawaii flight - notifications received by FAI

Sub-ClassType of RecordPerformanceDateClaimant
CS Straight distance 6449.8 km 2015-07-03 André Borschberg (SUI)
CS Duration 117 hours 52 min 2015-07-03 André Borschberg (SUI)

* Class CS – Solar-powered Aeroplanes

(photo credit: Solar Impulse)