Solar Impulse 2 flying over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco

Solar Impulse 2 lands in Arizona after successful 16-hour flight

Solar Impulse 2, the plane powered by solar power only, has landed safely in Arizona after almost 16 hours in flight.

The landing marks the completion of the latest leg of its round-the-world journey using only energy from the sun.

The Solar Impulse plane's creators, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, were forced to ground the aircraft in Hawaii for several months last year halfway through its first attempt after its batteries suffered irreparable damage mid-flight.

Last month, after making necessary repairs, the pair announced that the aircraft was ready to reattempt the endurance feat.

The Swiss-made plane arrived in Goodyear, south-west of Phoenix, yesterday after a flight from Mountain View lasting almost 16 hours.

Borschberg, who piloted the vehicle, said it was "a beautiful flight" after stepping from the cockpit, adding, "It was a special flight; not a long flight."

For several minutes after arriving he remained aboard, as powerful winds buffeted the aircraft, forcing the ground crew to hold down it down with straps.

"Sometimes it is more difficult to handle the airplane on the ground than in flight," he told reporters.

The Solar Impulse 2's wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.

After Phoenix, the plane will make two more stops in the US before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to either Europe or northern Africa.

The two legs crossing the oceans are the riskiest part of the plane's travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

"We have demonstrated it is feasible to fly many days, many nights, that the technology works" said Borschberg, who piloted the plane during a five-day trip from Japan to Hawaii last year and kept himself alert by doing yoga poses and meditation.

Layovers give the pilots an opportunity to swap places and engage with local communities along the way so they can explain the project, which is estimated to be costing more than £100m (£68m) and began in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation.

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