Did you look up, Silicon Valley? Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, reached the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday afternoon after flying for more than 56 hours over the Pacific Ocean.
The plane flew above the Golden Gate Bridge as pilot Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut, touted the potential of clean energy. The plane had taken off from Hawaii on Thursday morning and was scheduled to land in Mountain View, California, later Saturday.
Northern California was a fitting destination as the plane will land “in the middle of pioneering spirit,” Piccard told the Associated Press. The area is home to companies such as Google and Facebook, which are building their own flying planes, as well as transportation innovators Uber and Tesla -- to name a few.
The trip from Hawaii to the Bay Area was the plane’s ninth leg of a long journey. The world-tour started in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and has continued to Myanmar, India, China and Japan. The plane is next expected to head toward New York City, before embarking on a return to Abu Dhabi.
Anyone can track the plane's progress on its official website and Twitter account. Piccard will post Twitter videos and Vines from the air and often uses the hashtag #futureisclean.
Solar Impulse is a privately-funded project out of Switzerland and is led by Swiss engineer André Borschberg. Google is one of the official partners, as are Solvay, Omega and Schindler.
The project has been historic. “Solar Impulse is not the first solar airplane, but it is the first to fly day and night, without any fuel, only using energy stored in its batteries,” its website reads. It is the first solar-powered plane to cross an ocean, from Japan to Hawaii, and has also reached record speeds for its type.
However, the plane was damaged after its record-making journey. The plane stayed in Hawaii for longer than expected due to heat damage in the battery system.