Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Spain After Trans-Atlantic Voyage

Image: Solar Impulse 2 is secured in the hangar after arrival in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Solar Impulse 2 is secured in the hangar after arrival in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania after the latest leg in the round the globe flight on May 25.Solar Impulse via Reuters

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By Associated Press

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.

The 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.

Organizers said the aircraft had flown 4,204 miles at a maximum height of 28,000 feet and average speed of 59 mph.

Read More: Solar Impulse Plane Begins Trans-Atlantic Leg of Global Voyage

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.

Read More: Solar Impulse 2 Lands in California After Risky 3-Day Flight

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

It said the project showed that "exploration and pioneering are no longer about conquering new territories, but about exploring new ways to have a better quality of life on earth."

The Aero-Club of Switzerland is responsible for validating records of the flight.