ABU DHABI // Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard has flown a third of the way across the Atlantic, describing the sight of icebergs and whales in the waters below.
The plane took off on Monday morning from New York, bound for Seville, Spain, as part of its fossil fuel-free attempt to circumnavigate the Earth.
Thirty hours into the 15th leg of the trip, the solar-powered plane had covered 2,400 kilometres.
The flight is expected to last 90 hours, making it the longest flight since last year’s record-breaking flight across the Pacific, from Nagoya in Japan to Hawaii.
Just over 24 hours after taking off, the Solar Impulse 2 team tweeted that the plane’s batteries were charged up to 50 per cent of their total power, with one hour to go until sunrise.
Hours later, the plane was cruising in “perpetual flight” – meaning it was retrieving enough energy from the Sun to fly without having to drain its batteries.
On Monday, Piccard saw whales cavorting in the waters far below and a full moon in the night sky.
At one point yesterday, while cruising at 4,000 feet, Piccard told mission control in Monaco he saw an iceberg.
Mission control notified Piccard that he was flying at a position 300 nautical miles north of where the liner Titanic sank in 1912.
“It’s an interesting morning,” he said. “Oceans are never boring.”
In a question-and-answer session with members of the public who are following the Solar Impulse 2 journey online, Piccard said he managed roughly two-and-half hours of sleep during his first night over the Atlantic, which he achieved in 20 minute spurts between the hours of 11am and 5am.
He dined on fruit, juice and cereal for breakfast, later indulging in a mushroom risotto.
Solar Impulse 2 is expected to arrive in Seville on Thursday, taking it a step closer to completing its round-the-world journey, which is sponsored by Masdar and started in Abu Dhabi last year.
Source: uae news