KAPOLEI, Hawaii — A plane powered by the sun’s rays landed in Hawaii on Friday after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.
Pilot Andre Borschberg and his aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu. His 120-hour voyage from Nagoya broke the record for the world’s longest nonstop solo flight, his team said.
The late US adventurer Steve Fossett set the previous record of 76 hours when he flew a specially designed jet around the globe in 2006.
But Borschberg flew the Solar Impulse 2 without fuel. Instead, its wings were equipped with 17,000 solar cells that charged batteries. The plane ran on stored energy at night.
The engineless aircraft landed in silence, the only sound the hum of a nearby helicopter. About 200 people, including the media, witnessed the touch-down shortly before 6 a.m.
Later in the morning, Borschberg called the flight an extraordinary experience, saying it marked historical firsts for aviation and for renewable energy.
‘‘Nobody now can say that renewable energies cannot do the impossible,’’ he said. Asked what was the most challenging part of the journey, he said it was when he and fellow Swiss copilot Bertrand Piccard had to decide when exactly to leave Japan, which he called a tough decision.
Borschberg stayed put for about an hour before finally standing and emerging from the plane. Before exiting, he was approached by customs personnel who asked to see his passport. Some in the waiting crowd waved Swiss flags, and dignitaries shook his hand. Piccard also greeted him, and six girls sang a welcoming song in Hawaiian.
Ground crews pushed the plane toward a hangar, where a celebratory crowd waited with leis and hula dancers.
The plane’s ideal flight speed is about 28 miles per hour, though that can double during the day when sun’s rays are strongest.
The aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a minivan or mid-sized truck.