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Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific Ocean

Published:Monday | April 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Two pilots – Bertrand Piccard (right) and Andre Borschberg – celebrate after Piccard landed their solar-powered plane at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California on Saturday.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Califorrnia (AP):

A solar-powered airplane on a mission to fly around the world landed in California, completing a risky three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View in the Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, at 11:45 p.m. Saturday following a 62-hour, non-stop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent at Moffett Airfield, where Piccard was greeted by the project's team.

"You know there was a moment in the night, I was watching the reflection of the moon on the ocean and I was thinking 'I'm completely alone in this tiny cockpit and I feel completely confident.' And I was really thankful to life for bringing me this experience," Piccard said at a news conference after he landed. "It's maybe this is one of the most fantastic experiences of life I've had."

The landing came hours after Piccard made a fly-by over the Golden Gate Bridge as spectators below watched the narrow aircraft with extra wide wings.

Piccard and fellow Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015. It made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China, Japan and Hawaii.

The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane's travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

The aircraft faced a few bumps along the way.