Photos: A Closer Look at the Solar Impulse Si2

The solar-powered Si2 completed its second longest overwater flight, from Hawaii to California, last weekend as part of its round-the-world trip.

Flying had the chance to catch up with the Solar Impulse team at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, California, where the Si2 landed after the final Pacific leg of its journey.

Check out these photos taken after the solar-powered airplane’s first landing in the mainland United States.

Si2 landed at the Moffett Federal Airfield, where the team set up its portable hangar next to the iconic Hangar One. Pia Bergqvist
Hangar One, one of the largest freestanding structures in the world, makes the massive mobile Solar Impulse hangar look small. Pia Bergqvist
The igloo-like hangar structure is built around the Si2's 236-foot wingspan, approximately the same as a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. Pia Bergqvist
More than 17,000 solar panels are mounted on top of the wings and fuselage of the Si2. Pia Bergqvist
The Si2 has only one seat, and the pilot requires a large support crew on the ground. A big ladder is needed to get into the cockpit. Pia Bergqvist
Si2 has a sophisticated instrument panel and an autopilot, which allows the pilot to take short naps on the long flights. Pia Bergqvist
With the Solar Impulse concept being so far out of the box, no aviation companies were willing to sign up as major sponsors of the project. Pia Bergqvist
Si2 is powered by four electric motors run by solar and battery power, allowing the airplane to fly day and night. The equipment attached to the motors cool the overworked batteries. Pia Bergqvist
While most components are operated by electrical systems, the landing gear is manually lowered by a hand crank near the aft part of the seat. Pia Bergqvist
André Borschberg said that after his record breaking five-day, four-night flight from Japan to the coast of Hawaii, he continued to fly through the night just for fun. He landed after 117 hours and 52 minutes in the air. Pia Bergqvist
The seat was designed for long flights. It folds back completely so that the pilot can exercise and nap, and a flap in the seat lifts up to reveal a lavatory. Pia Bergqvist
The fuselage has a welcoming message from one of its main sponsors Covestro, a supplier of high-tech polymer materials. Pia Bergqvist
Borschberg and Piccard both say the airplane takes a long time to respond to control inputs. The control surfaces of the airplane are massive. Pia Bergqvist
The single, center mounted main landing gear makes landings a major challenge for the pilot. Pia Bergqvist
The tail surface is both impressive in size and stunning all at the same time. It takes a lot of skill for the pilot to coordinate the controls of this massive airplane. Pia Bergqvist
The mobile hangar is a remarkable structure that takes the ground crew 12 hours to set up. Pia Bergqvist
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