Nearly 90 years after Charles Lindbergh, pilot Bertrand Piccard flew across the Atlantic Ocean. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, as this is an occurrence that happens daily in today’s world. But this flight was different and still somehow pioneering after all these years.
Piccard’s flight, which took more than twice as long as Lindbergh’s, was done without a single drop of fuel. It is the first flight across the Atlantic done completely on solar power. The flight took Piccard nearly three full days. It was the last major hurdle in Solar Impulse’s mission to circumnavigate the globe and spread its clean energy initiative.
“The Atlantic has always been this symbol of going from the Old World to the New,” Piccard told the crowd after landing. “Everybody has tried to cross the Atlantic, with sailboats, steamboats, airships, aeroplanes, even rowing boats and kitesurfs. Today, it’s a solar-powered aeroplane for the first time ever, flying electric with no fuel and no pollution.”
Originally planning to land in Paris, Piccard diverted to Seville, Spain, as storms were predicted in France. Solar Impulse 2 needs nearly perfect conditions to fly.
The Solar Impulse mission released a highlight video of this leg of the journey; it can be viewed here. The crew’s next step was to plot a course back to Abu Dhabi, where the mission began.
The Solar Impulse mission journey started over a year ago. Beyond returning to Abu Dhabi, the ultimate goal of the flight is to foster concrete actions and solutions to achieve a clean future. This is possible through the #FutureIsClean campaign. If the clean technologies used on the airplane were used on the ground, the world could reduce half of its energy consumption. The campaign eventually hopes to replace old, polluting devices with clean technologies.