WT 24 Desk
After weeks of waiting, the sun-powered Solar Impulse 2 plane was finally scheduled to take off Tuesday for Hawaii from Nagoya, Japan, USA Today reports. However, weather problems again caused a postponement. The flight’s next attempt at take off has yet to be determined. Once it happens. the perilous journey will not only be the world’s longest solar-powered flight both by time and by distance — roughly 4,000 miles — it will also be the longest solo flight by time in world history.
This will be the 8th leg of the around-the-world flight, which had been grounded in Japan for three weeks due to bad weather over the Pacific. This part of the mission, piloted by Swiss pilot and adventurer Andre Borschberg, will likely last five days. Likening himself to legendary aviation pioneers such as the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh, Borschberg recently called this “the moment of truth” for the mission and its team.
Borschberg plans to take short naps, do yoga and meditate to endure the lack of extensive sleep, the Associated Press reported. The mission began March 9 with a flight from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to Muscat, Oman. Pilots Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard have alternated the legs of the journey. To date, the pilots, both from Switzerland, have completed seven legs of the mission. The most recent leg, from Nanjing, China, to Honolulu had to be shortened because of bad weather, necessitating a landing in Japan on June 1.
The plane was also slightly damaged upon landing in Japan, but all necessary repairs have been made. Once the plane reaches Hawaii, the next flight will be over the Pacific to Phoenix. From there, Solar Impulse will land at a location in the Midwest, then New York City, then two final flights over the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea before landing back at Abu Dhabi.
In addition to aviation records, the pilots, who are the mission’s founders, also want to raise awareness about climate change, showcasing what can be done using nothing but renewable energy. “The most important thing isn’t to make world records,” Piccard said. “It’s to show what we can do with clean technologies,” he said, ones that could simultaneously reduce carbon dioxide emissions and stimulate economic growth.