About a year ago pilot, André Borschberg and the Solar Impulse plane set the world record for the longest ever solo flight. Leaving from Nagoya, Japan, they were attempting to fly around the world. Unfortunately they had to land and stay grounded in Hawaii due to and overheated battery.
Having been stored in a hangar in Hawaii for the entire winter, the team is finally ready to continue on the mission. After repairing and testing the aircraft in a multitude of ways, the Solar Impulse 2 is ready to take off and push on around the rest of the world.
Bertrand Piccard (the other pilot/team member) will take over flying the Impulse for the next journey from Hawaii to Phoenix, Arizona (or a few other destinations). Now that it has been successfully repaired and tested, the departure for AZ is scheduled to happen very soon.
Rather than just scheduling to land in Phoenix, the team have also planned to possibly land in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver. This is to allow room to adapt the flight pan to weather and other possible interference. Since the aircraft has to cruise at high altitude during the day and low at night to carefully manage solar charging and discharging of its batteries, it’s important to allow for changes in the flight plan. Cruising at a low speed relies on nearly perfect weather to fly safely. High headwinds can actually bring the plane to a halt with a ground speed of zero.
While the team is setting world records, that isn’t the primary purpose of this mission. The ream stated that they are primarily trying to raise awareness of how incredible solar power is. Piccard (chairman of the project) stated:
“The primary purpose of this adventure is to demonstrate that modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible. The Solar Impulse team is looking to encourage everyone to use these same energy efficient solutions on the ground in their daily lives for mobility, construction, lighting, heating, cooling, and more.”
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