Story by UH Media Productions
After a record breaking five-day flight from Japan in July 2015, the solar-powered airplane the Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Hawaiʻi. The innovative plane, with a wingspan longer than a Boeing 747, was housed in the University of Hawaiʻi’s Hangar 111.
Said Solar Impulse Pilot and CEO Andre Borschberg, “When I heard this from Japan I was extremely happy because in Japan we were in a tough situation to use a mobile hangar and to use it again in Hawaiʻi would have been very complicated, so a very big relief and so thankful and so much gratitude for the university here in Hawaiʻi.”
The Solar Impulse team recognized the University of Hawaiʻi with an exclusive open house, where invited students and faculty could get a closeup look at the groundbreaking technology.
“It’s an awesome experience,” said Honolulu Community College graduate Jasmine Hoapili. “Right now we’re doing a summer project having to do with solar panels, so it’s kind of cool that it’s on a big scale like this, because right now we’re just doing small scale.”
“It’s important because renewable energy is the future,” added UH Mānoa student and mentor Travis Takashima. “Being able to show the students this technology, it might spark something in them that will make them want to pursue something in renewable energy.”
“The Solar Impulse is a pretty amazing plane,” said Honolulu CC aeronautical maintenance student Alex Creadick. “To be able to run purely on solar energy around the world is a remarkable feat. I’m glad to be here.”
UH’s hangar was not only an ideal temporary shelter for the Solar Impulse 2. The educational host partner also provided the perfect audience for the project’s vision of demonstrating the potential of clean technologies for energy efficiency and for the production of renewable energy.
“It’s a wonderful partner for us for many reasons,” said Borschberg. “One of the reasons is we like to interact with students. I also hope that if they have dreams, if they believe in something, they can see that anything is possible.”
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