Continued from page 1

So how hard is it to fly a solar plane?

Despite the aviation advancements made over the last century, Mr. Piccard said he and Mr. Borschberg have a lot in common with the early pioneers.

“One hundred years ago, the planes had to fly in good weather, and there was only one person on board,” Mr. Piccard said. “Now we have completely new technology, we fly with no fuel at all. But, of course, we need to fly in good weather, and we carry only one pilot on board.

“We’re starting a new cycle. It’s really the beginning of something new.”

• Susan Montoya Bryan reported from Albuquerque, N.M. Associated Press writer Haven Daley in Mountain View, Calif., also contributed to this article.