As planned, the record-breaking solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 is ready to launch and continue its flight around the globe. After weathering the winter in Hawaii and receiving upgrades, the plane is once again ready to travel longer distances. Pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will announce today when the Solar Impulse 2 will soar to North America, dependent on weather conditions.
Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii last July with overheated batteries; after replacing the batteries and adding a new cooling system, pilots flew 13 test flights between February and April to determine the plane was ready to take to the skies once more.
Solar Impulse 2 flies wholly using solar power – not even one drop of liquid fuel is used in flight. Borschberg said in a statement, “As we experienced many times with Solar Impulse, obstacles often turn out to be opportunities for improvement. Ultimately, this time was used to recreate the strong mindset within the team to continue our adventure. It takes sometimes more time to build up the right spirit then to develop new technologies.”
Piccard will pilot the plane next, and after the lessons of last year, the team has selected multiple landing points. Solar Impulse 2 will land in either Phoenix, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, or Vancouver, again depending on the weather. After that, the pilots will fly the plane to New York. From there they will cross the Atlantic, landing in North Africa or Europe before it lands in its final destination, Abu Dhabi.
Piccard said in the statement, “The primary purpose of this adventure is to demonstrate that modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible and encourage everyone to use these same energy efficient solutions on the ground in their daily lives for mobility, construction, lighting, heating, cooling, and more.”
Images courtesy of Solar Impulse