​Solar-powered plane sets solo flight world record

Reuters / Stringer
A Swiss man has broken the world non-stop flight record while crossing the Pacific on a plane powered solely by solar energy.

Andre Borschbergwas at the helm of his plane, the Solar Impulse 2, when its flight from Japan to Hawaii passed the 76 hour mark, a previous world record. He, along with fellow explorerBertrand Piccard, is trying to circumnavigate the globe on a plane powered by over 17,000 photovoltaic cells located on its wings and tail, which provide the energy for its four propellers and recharge the plane’s batteries by day.

However, this part of the journey was conducted solo by Borschberg, who sleeps in batches of 20 minutes while on autopilot.

He manages the plane from an unheated and unpressurized 3.8 cubic meter cockpit. The plane itself is the size of a small sedan.

“The experience of flight is so intense that I can only focus on the present moment and discover how to deal with my own energy and mindset,” Borschberg said in a statement.

The man left Japan on June 1 and is expected to reach Hawaii on the weekend. He will then fly to Phoenix, Arizona before crossing the Atlantic with Piccard on the last leg of the journey to Abu Dhabi, from where the trip started on March 9.

READ MORE: Record-breaking Solar Impulse 2 starts riskiest leg of longest ever solo flight