Solar Impulse, the plane making a world-round trip using only the sun as its fuel, is estimated to land in Santa Clara, California’s Moffett Airport around 11 p.m. (2 a.m. E.T.) Saturday night, completing the second longest planned trip in the craft’s itinerary.
The craft is expected to fly over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge around 3 p.m., where fans on the ground can grab a shot of the environmentally friendly vehicle before landing. The team is tracking photos posted with #FutureIsClean.
The flight from Kalaeloa, Hawaii to the Bay Area started April 21st and once complete will have taken more than two and a half days to complete the trek stretching more than 4,000 kilometers.
Fans and solar enthusiasts alike can follow the Solar Impulse via the team’s website, which records the vehicle’s altitude, speed, navigation, and maps the planes progress as it approaches the airport. Users can even tune into the live stream hosted on YouTube, which shows pilot Bertrand Piccard making flight adjustments, answering questions, and showing off some wonderful views as he flies along.
Solar Impulse is powered exclusively by the sun’s rays, not a drop of fuel on board. Of course, one of the biggest obstacles of this multi-day journey is coming up with a way to fly at night, since there are no runways in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
To achieve this, the plane’s upper wings are covered with 17,248 ultra-thin monocrystalline silicon solar cells that collect up to 340 kilowatt hours of solar energy per day. Those panels propel the plane at a slow speed of 22 to 87 mph and allow the plane to store energy throughout the day, charging the batteries up to 100 percent before night falls.
Piccard is still sharing his thoughts from aboard the craft with Tweets about how psyched he is to pilot this plane.
It’ll be a late night for East Coasters but West Coast fans can easily follow along and even catch a glimpse of this historic plane.