Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Spain

LAURA LEON, Associated Press

SEVILLE, Spain — An experimental solar-powered airplane landed in Spain Thursday, completing an unprecedented three-day flight across the Atlantic in the latest leg of its globe-circling voyage.

ABB‘s Solar Impulse 2 landed in Seville in southern Spain at 0540 GMT on Thursday, ending a 71-hour, 8-minute flight which began from New York City on Monday. It was the first time a solar-powered plane has made such a journey using zero fuel and zero emissions, organizers said.

photo credit: SOLAR IMPULSE

The Spanish air force salutes Solar Impulse on its approach to Seville.

The airplane relies on the newest generation of solar cells, batteries and lightweight composites to accomplish the once seemingly impossible task of flying around the globe without consuming any fossil fuels.

Organizers said the aircraft had flown 6,765 kilometers (4,204 miles) at a maximum height of 8,534 meters (28,000 feet) and average speed of 95 kph (59 mph).

It was the 15th leg of a planned around-the-world flight which began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The wings of Solar Impulse 2, 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 flight was piloted by Swiss men Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

“Initially the aviation industry told us it was impossible to build such an airplane, but we believed we could do it thanks to all our partners’ technologies,” Borschberg said in a statement.

The project’s other pilot, Bertrand Piccard, who is Solar Impulse’s initiator and chairman, said, “The world could be much more efficient if all of these technologies were implemented on a wide scale. This is exactly what our partners at ABB are doing – applying these innovations in a way that the entire world can use them.”

The organizers said the mission will continue onward to Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse represents just the opening stage of a new golden age of environmentally friendly transportation. “We are seeing huge new opportunities in the field of sustainable transport,” commented ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Recent technological developments are opening the way to major advances in energy efficiency and productivity. We are only just beginning to realize the full potential of these changes.”

Watch Solar Impulse’s journey around the world on

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press. Pilots Bertrand Piccard, left, and Andre Borschberg, right, celebrate the landing of a solar-powered plane at San Pablo airport in Seville, Spain on Thursday, June 23, 2016. An experimental solar-powered airplane Thursday completed an unprecedented three-day flight across the Atlantic in the latest leg of its globe-circling voyage. (AP Photo/Laura Leon)


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