UnNews:Concept flight reaches trendsetting Hawaii

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3 July 2015

To make the innovative airplane descend, the pilots simply turn on its lights.

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- A solar-powered airplane is due to land here Friday in a record-setting, around-the-world flight.

The Solar Impulse 2 promises to change the face of aviation, as it operates without checked luggage, carry-on luggage, lavatories, meal service, headphones for rent, and stewardesses.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard said, "This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals" — such as convincing passengers to pay for tickets. The other pilot, Andre Borschberg, said there is a large market comprising drivers of the Prius, for whom arriving has always been secondary to making a statement about themselves.

The Solar Impulse 2 flies during the daytime just above Earth's atmosphere to recharge its bank of 17,000 solar batteries, as the pilots hold their breath, delay other bodily functions, and steer the craft by synchronized leaning. At night, it descends to 30 feet to save energy, and to try for boosts from chimneys, smokestacks, and semi-trailers on expressways.

The plane was set to land at 9 a.m. Friday at a small airport near here, where turbulence from other airplanes will not be a factor, arriving from Japan in just under five days. It reached Hawaii earlier but was in a holding pattern until cheering environmentalists can be awakened to welcome it. It will leave for Phoenix, Arizona on the first windless day after it has all its solar cells replaced, as they wear out over time. Its batteries will also be given a full charge in case there are one or more clouds over its next flight path.

Hawaii was chosen not only because it is preferable to crashing into the Pacific Ocean but because Governor David Ige signed a law directing the state to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2045. A spokesman for the Governor said that the prospect of police handcuffing owners of coal-fired power plants, and perp-walking them out of their offices and into prison, should spur a massive wave of classically American innovation.

The United States is currently in an ambitious, nationwide project to reorganize into companies of 49 or fewer people, all working 29½ or fewer hours, and engaged only in jobs that cannot be replaced with customer kiosks, factories in northern Mexico, or Pakistani call centers, in response to similar pathbreaking legislation.