Solar Impulse breaks non-stop solo flight record, inches closer to Hawaii


The Solar Impulse (Si2) solar-powered aircraft has broken the world endurance record for solo flight as it inches closer to its destination of Hawaii following an arduous journey across the Pacific in conditions described by the pilot, Andre Borschberg, as "difficult".

Borschberg has been at the controls non-stop for more than 100 hours, having taken off from Nagoya in Japan at the weekend and steering the aircraft day and night above the vast ocean. If all goes to plan, the Swiss pilot will touch down on Friday, having already completed more than 90% of the journey – some 4,642 miles.

"After the longest and most tiring night of this flight, bringing the pilot and aircraft to the limits, Andre is now back under the oceanic sunlight," said the mission organizers from their base in Monaco. Solar Impulse’s twitter feed added: "Andre Borschberg is extremely tired and needs to rest before the landing" having earlier tweeted in caps lock that the "SITUATION IS DIFFICULT".

However, it appears that the final hurdles have now be safely traversed and the aircraft – fitted with 17,000 solar cells from SunPower – will likely touch down around 1600 GMT later today.