Plane completes first solar-powered cross-Atlantic flight

SEVILLE, Spain, June 23 (UPI) — The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Spain on Thursday, completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a solar-powered airplane.

The clean-energy aircraft left New York City for Seville, Spain, four days ago after previously crossing the Pacific, flying non-stop from Hawaii to San Francisco before embarking on a cross-continental journey that took the plane to Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania before finally landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

“Proud to have landed in Spain after a 72-hour-long flight above the Atlantic!” Solar Impulse said in a tweet.

The plane’s journey is scheduled to end in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where it first took off in 2015 to showcase the possibility of global circumnavigation on clean energy. The plane, which is powered by 17,000 solar cells on its wide wings, flies at an average speed of 28 mph and runs on stored energy at night.

“The Atlantic is the symbolic part of the flight,” Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard told The Guardian shortly before landing. “It is symbolic because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic, the first steamboats, the first airplane, the first balloons, the first airships and, today, it is the first solar-powered airplane.”

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