When Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg landed his aircraft in Hawaii on July 3 after flying it across the Pacific from Japan, he had already broken a world record.

Borschberg flew Solar Impulse 2, an aircraft fueled solely by solar energy, across 5,000 miles in five-day non-stop journey — the longest solo flight ever. 

That trip was part of a planned 12-leg odyssey that Borschberg and his co-pilot, Bertrand Piccard, had envisioned for their iconic plane. But the final legs of the trip haven't yet happened; the  journey across the Pacific damaged the aircraft's batteries so badly that the plane is grounded in Hawaii until 2016.

Theoretically, the plane can fly forever, using nothing more than the sun to keep it aloft.

Here's how the Solar Impulse 2 saga unfolded.        

Equipped with 17,000 solar cells mounted on its massive wings, Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi in March in the hope of flying nearly 22,000 miles around the world.

The plan was to make a round-the-world trip in 12 legs.

Solar Impulse landed in Muscat after the first 12-hour stint of its journey.

It went on to touch down in India, Myanmar and China, before setting off for Hawaii.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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