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Solar-powered plane on round-the-world journey lands in Spain

Published 23/06/2016

Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg celebrate the landing of the solar-powered plane at San Pablo airport in Seville, Spain (AP)
Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg celebrate the landing of the solar-powered plane at San Pablo airport in Seville, Spain (AP)

An experimental solar-powered plane has landed in Spain, completing an unprecedented three-day flight across the Atlantic in the latest leg of its globe-circling journey.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Seville in southern Spain on Thursday, ending a 71-hour, eight-minute flight which began from New York City on Monday.

It was the first time a solar-powered plane has made such a journey using zero fuel and zero emissions, organisers said.

Organisers said the aircraft had flown 4,204 miles at a maximum height of 28,000 feet and average speed of 59 mph.

It was the 15th leg of a planned around-the-world flight which began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The wings of Solar Impulse 2, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.

The flight was piloted by Swiss men Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

Mr Borschberg said: "Initially the aviation industry told us it was impossible to build such an airplane, but we believed we could do it thanks to all our partners' technologies."

The organisers said the mission will continue onwards to Abu Dhabi.

It said the project showed that "exploration and pioneering are no longer about conquering new territories, but about exploring new ways to have a better quality of life on earth".

The Aero-Club of Switzerland is responsible for validating records of the flight.

AP

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