They did it! Solar Impulse team makes non-stop flight from Japan to Hawaii

Solar-powered plane sets new endurance record while completing toughest leg of round-the-world journey.

Touching down in Kalaeloa
Source: Solar Impulse 
Now here's good news for a Friday afternoon: The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane outfitted with QNX technology, has landed safely in Kalaeloa, Hawaii, after completing the longest leg of its round-the-world mission and setting a new endurance record for solo flight.

The plane lifted off from Nagoya on June 28 and touched down in Kalaeloa almost 120 hours later, using the sun as its only power source. And did I mention? The plane had only pilot, AndrĂ© Borschberg, who was at the helm for the entire 5-day flight. Yes, he was able to take naps while the plane was on autopilot — but only 6 a day, each lasting 20 minutes. Color me impressed.

The team’s round-the-world flight, which started on March 9 in Abu Dhabi, hit a snag when the plane reached Nagoya, where weeks of bad weather threatened to cancel the project. But, finally, a five-day window of clear weather opened and the team was able to resume its historic journey, which is dedicated to the promotion of green energy.

The team’s other pilot, Bertrand Piccard, will fly the next leg, from Honolulu to Phoenix, Arizona. Piccard’s name may ring a bell, but not because of any Star Trek connection: In 1999, he became the first person to complete a non-stop balloon circumnavigation of the earth.

QNX Software Systems is the official realtime OS partner for the Solar Impulse team, and the plane uses the QNX Neutrino OS for several control and data communication functions. Read my previous posts for more information on the Solar Impulse project.

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