Round-the-world solar plane lands in California

Image: Solar Impulse 2 plane and Golden Gate Bridge
Solar Impulse 2 flies over San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. (Credit: Solar Impulse)

Two and a half days after setting out from Hawaii, pilot Bertrand Piccard made a picture-postcard arrival in California tonight aboard the fuel-free Solar Impulse 2 airplane.

“Thank you for your welcome!” he told well-wishers who gathered at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, Calif.

The landing at 11:45 p.m. PT was marked by a bit of turbulence, but nothing Piccard couldn’t handle. “The touchdown is a little bit stronger than I would have expected,” he acknowledged.

This week’s 2,400-mile nonstop trek was the second-longest leg of what’s expected to be a 22,000-mile round-the-world flight, the first ever done with a solar-powered aircraft.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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