A solar-powered ultralight airplane called Solar Impulse 2 landed in Phoenix tonight after a nearly 16-hour flight from California’s Silicon Valley, finishing up another leg of its environmentally friendly round-the-world odyssey.
The odyssey has been proceeding for more than a year, with occasionally lengthy stopovers. But making time is not the point: If Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg wanted to get to Phoenix quickly, he could have taken a commercial jet flight from San Jose in less than two hours.
Instead, Borschberg lifted off from Moffett Airfield, near San Francisco, at 5:03 a.m. PT. He landed at Phoenix Goodyear Airport at 8:55 p.m. PT (MST) amid gusty winds. The plane was quickly brought inside its hangar for protection.
“It’s more difficult to handle the airplane on the ground than in flight,” Borschberg said jokingly to the crowd that turned out to greet him at the airport. “That’s the reason why we stay so long up there.”