The Solar Impulse 2’s wings, 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.
After Phoenix, the plane will make two more stops in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.
The two legs to cross the Pacific were the riskiest part of the plane’s travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.
“We have demonstrated it is feasible to fly many days, many nights, that the technology works” said Borschberg, 63, who piloted the plane during a five-day trip from Japan to Hawaii and who kept himself alert by doing yoga poses and meditation.
The crew was forced to stay in Oahu for nine months after the plane’s battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan.