Solar Impulse Claims Two Speed Records in One Flight

Breaks fastest and slowest ground speed records.

Solar Impulse Bertrand Piccard

Solar Impulse Bertrand Piccard

**Bertrand Piccard **

Solar Impulse has completed the fourth of 12 legs on its historic flight around the world using nothing but solar power. A carnival-like atmosphere with local dance performances greeted pilot and co-founder of Solar Impulse Bertrand Piccard as he approached the runway in Mandalay, Myanmar, this morning, landing at 1:21 GMT, 7:51 p.m. in Mandalay.

Solar Impulse reached a peak altitude of 27,000 feet during the flight and a maximum speed of 216 km/hr — nearly 117 knots — thanks to the high altitude jet stream. That may not sound very fast, particularly when you are flying around the world, but Piccard said in a video after the flight, while still in the airplane, that he believes that was the fastest ground speed the Solar Impulse had ever achieved. He also believed he broke the record for slowest flight flying backward at about 20 km/hr as he circled during the descent into Mandalay.

Si2 makes a striking image as it lands in Myanmar.|

The leg from Varanasi, India, to Mandalay took 13 hours 29 minutes. With a third of the legs now complete the team plans to stay in Mandalay for a few days before the all-solar-powered airplane will take off for Chongqing, China.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.