Solar-powered plane that attempted to fly from China to Hawaii has been forced to land in Japan because of poor weather conditions and will now have to wait for clear skies to continue its journey.
The team behind Solar Impulse has the ambitious project to circumnavigate the world through the 17,000 solar cells on its wings and lithium batteries to fly at night.
This last part of the journey would have been the first attempt in history to cross the ocean in a five days and five nights non-stop flight.
However, the team has said this morning that the weather window to reach Hawaii had closed and that the crossing had become too dangerous. Therefore, the plane has been directed to Nagoya, in Japan.
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Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse chairman said, “We are not daredevils, we are explorers. We have to put safety at the top of all of our priorities. Everyone is very happy with the plane – but the weather does not fit.
“We land in Nagoya and we wait for better conditions to continue.
“This is the exploration leg of the flight around the world. It will be an important milestone for aviation with an airplane capable for the first time ever to fly with unlimited endurance.”
Despite the stop, both Piccard and pilot André Borschberg are positive the flight will be a record-breaking success.
“If successful, this flight to Hawaii will demonstrate the credibility of the vision Bertrand had 16 years ago of an airplane flying for days without fuel to change our mindset regarding the enormous potential of clean technologies and renewable energies”, Borschberg said.
Photo: Melissa_bel via Flickr
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