There was just one bounce, despite winds gusting over 50 km/h, for motorised glider pilot Matevz Lenarcic when he landed at Tauranga Airport yesterday afternoon on his solo around-the-world flight.
The biologist, environmentalist and photographer left Ljubljana in Slovenia on January 8, in the Pipistrel Sinus motor glider that weighs only 290kg.
Running on standard octane vehicle fuel, the aircraft's 80 horsepower motor is able to propel the plane at more than 250 km/h at an altitude of 10,000 feet on the record journey.
The goal of the Green Flight, as it is being called, is to fly the lightest standard airplane westbound around the world, using the least fuel for the distance.
It took Mr Lenarcic about 50 flight hours to reach New Zealand from Concepcione, Chile, via Easter Island, Tahiti and Rarotonga in stages over the past seven days.
Tauranga man Colin Alexander, from Solo Wings, flew to Tahiti for urgent maintenance on the engine last weekend.
Mr Lenarcic beat Mr Alexander, who was on a regular flight, back to Tauranga today.
Mr Lenarcic is resting in Tauranga before leaving for Invercargill, then on to Canberra, on Sunday, depending on the weather.