Solar Impulse 2 to resume round-the-world flight
21 April 2016
The sun-powered air-craft Solar Impulse 2 is ready to take to the skies to resume its around-the-world flight, from Hawaii, more than a year after the odyssey got underway. According to the teams' tweet, the takeoff was set for 3 pm GMT (8 am PT, 5 am Hawaii time).
The lightweight aircraft's trek started from Abu Dhabi in March 2015. The plane reached Hawaii in July last year, after making stopovers in Oman, India, Myanmar, China and Japan.
However, plane's batteries wilted under the strain of the non-stop five-day, five-night non-stop flight across the Pacific to Hawaii. The system overheated and repairs stretched over months. The weather too played up, further delaying the onward flight plans.
The leaders of the $150 million effort finally decided this week that it was time to fly.
''We knew this day would come where we can finally say: Tomorrow we will be taking off,'' Solar Impulse chairman and adventurer-pilot Bertrand Piccard said on his website yesterday.
The plane, piloted by Piccard, would take off from Hawaii for Mountain View, California, where it is scheduled to land as early as Saturday night.
In the first leg, Piccard's fellow-pilot Andre Borschberg who started on 9 March 2015, from Abu Dhabi, flew 13 hours to land in Muscat, Oman. Borschberg later went to complete the world's longest nonstop solo flight, a four-day, 21-hour and 52-minute effort that saw the plane fly from Japan to Hawaii.
The pilots have to avoid clouds during their flights as clear skies were needed to juice up the batteries. The same goes for turbulence and strong winds.
The Solar Impulse would land at one of two locations in the Midwest after California, on its way to New York City. It would then undertake two final flights over the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea before landing back in Abu Dhabi.