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Photo via Solar Impulse 2 landing in Oahu, Hawaii
Photo via Solar Impulse 2 landing in Oahu, Hawaii

On Friday, as most Americans were getting into their Fourth of July celebrations, the Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Hawaii after an arduous Pacific Ocean crossing to set a new world record for the longest solar-powered flight ever — nearly 118 hours and almost 4,500 miles.

The Solar Impulse departed Japan on June 28, landing in Hawaii on July 3 — five full grueling days and nights of flight for pilot André Borschberg. The team reports the trip’s stats on site, Borschberg traveling the distance at an average speed of just over 61 km/h (38 mph) and reaching a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

The team celebrated the momentous journey as Borschberg landed the SI2 in Oahu, rightly so, as the Pacific crossing had been postponed for about a month in Japan with tricky weather patterns, making them wonder if they’d ever get an open window to cross.

How did Borschberg survive the nearly 118-hour leg? He napped in short 20 minute increments throughout the day and was even on oxygen at times: “Human energy / Fatigue management on a 5 days and nights is crucial, I’ve climbed the altitude of Mount Everest 5 times… without resting much,” he reported on July 3 on the Solar Impulse 2 site.

With the hardest part of the journey now over, next up is Phoenix, as they continue the around-the-world journey to finish in Abu Dhabi in the fall.

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